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Medical care in armed conflict: Perpetrator discourse in historical perspective

Although the Geneva Conventions have been successively revised since 1864, norms regarding the protection of medical care have been frequently disregarded. Despite current claims of international humanitarian law in crisis, comparing historic levels of violations with contemporary incidents is quantitatively challenging. Reviewing past reactions and justifications used by perpetrators of attacks on medical care can, however, be revealing.

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Engaging with National Authorities: Médecins Sans Frontières’s experience in Guinea during the Ebola epidemic

With the expertise acquired over the past years on the Ebola virus disease, MSF was compelled to take on responsibilities beyond its usual first responder mandate during the Ebola crisis in West Africa. By winning the trust of the President of Guinea despite some initial stormy relations, MSF was able to contribute significantly to the definition of the national strategies to fight the outbreak, while facilitating the deployment of its operation to care for the people affected by Ebola.

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Palliative Care in Humanitarian Crises

Medical humanitarian organizations don’t generally deal well with death. This may come as a surprise, since it’s a sombre reality of this line of work that frontline staff are often witness to death and dying. Contrary to the humanitarian’s general propensity for self-aggrandizement, it’s not always possible to save lives. So what then of the oft-cited dual imperative to alleviate suffering and preserve dignity?
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Volunteers and responsibility for risk-taking: Changing interpretations of the Charter of Médecins Sans Frontières

The Charter of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the guiding document for all of the organization's members, states in the final paragraph that volunteers "understand the risks and dangers of the missions they carry out". Through a review of the different periods in the history of MSF, this article analyzes the changing interpretations that the organization's successive leaders have given to this reference to the acceptance of risk by individuals.

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Deplorable conditions in French ‘Refugee Camp’

The suffering endured by refugees and other exiles in the northern port town of Calais, France, has been the subject of significant media attention in recent months. Renewed interest in the plight of Calais' encamped population began to peak in April 2015, at the same time that the French authorities forcibly closed the largest settlement, situated in woodland adjacent to an active titanium oxide factory. Residents of this settlement were relocated to a nearby segment of sandy grassland that was once both a waste disposal site and a local shooting range.

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Challenges in Responding to Massive Displacements in Resource-poor Settings: The Case of Central African Republic Refugees in Eastern Cameroon

Read the letter by Caroline Abu Sa'Da and Christine Jamet, a response to the briefing by Welz “Crisis in the Central African Republic and the international response” published in African Affairs (Vol. 113, No. 453, pp. 601-610).

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Reconstruction of the health sector in Haiti: a missed opportunity?

The impact of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti was devastating for a country whose history was already marked by poverty, natural disasters, environmental degradation and political instability. An outbreak of cholera several months later further hampered reconstruction efforts. At the same time, this presented an opportunity to rebuild and develop the country, including an already extremely fragile and inequitable health system.
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