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» Economics » Humanitarian assistance (organization) » Topics begins with P » Physicians without borders

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A physician without borders is the name of the German-language sections of the 1971 created international organization Sans (MSF). The private relief organization carries medical help in need out in theaters of war and crisis.

The aid projects are different nature and are enough from (again) the structure of hospitals over the production from wells to the simple clearing-up of the population. Most coworkers are physicians and care forces, in addition, representatives of other occupations support the organization actively. The international network of Sans without borders consists of sections in 19 countries.


Physicians without borders works always independently, impartially and dependent on the concrete employment situation also as neutrally as possible. Only like that it is in the opinion possible for the organization to render in crisis regions effectively humanitarian help. In addition, MSF sees the Witnessing (a "witness to be") in the context of the medical help in need as an important task. Witnessing means, if necessary, to make attentive on peoples in emergency. On the basis reports of the coworkers locally in the MSF operations center one decides, which measures are to be seized. Possible actions are: Discussions with responsible persons, Lobbying or public clearing-up campaigns, in the worst case even the retreat from an operational area. In the opinion of MSF is necessary between Witnessing and neutrality in the practical humanitarian work perhaps a consideration, which makes a task of the neutrality necessary in individual cases. This view to the neutrality differentiates MSF fundamentally from the neutrality of the international committee practiced strictly of the red cross (IKRK), from whose employment experiences MSF developed. MSF is always impartially however not always neutral, after the words of the joint founder Berne pool of broadcasting corporations Kouchner.

The humanitarian work of MSF for the victims of emergency and force was particularly honoured 1999 by the award of the Nobel peace prize.

"The Norwegian Nobel committee assigned decided, the Nobel peace prize 1999 to physicians without borders too, in acknowledgment of the innovative humanitarian work of this organization on several continents." (The Nobel Foundation)


Conditions 2005 give it to 19 MSF sections in different countries. MSF is active in over 70 countries.

History of the organization

The physicians without borders were created on 20 December 1971 as Sans of young French physicians, who had been on behalf the IKRK for the French red cross before in use. These were before to be able to help disappointed from the limited possibilities from the civil war to Biafra and from the Bangladesh concerned by a tide disaster returned. The founders of MSF regarded in particular the beginning of the IKRK to practice to neutrality in the employment discretely and under all circumstances as limiting for an effective assistance. According to their opinion neutrality should have their borders, if from one in a conflict side substantial offences against the human rights and/or humanitarian international law took part is committed. In such a case also humanitarian aids must their neutral attitude up to give be able and these offences if necessary publicly bring up for discussion, in order to reach an intervention of other states or organizations in this way according to opinion of the MSF founders.

1976 reached the organization the attention of a larger public by the employment in a quarter of Beirut (Lebanon), Shiite of Christian militias included. In the year 1979 the joint founder Berne pool of broadcasting corporations Kouchner left and some the further organization and created you moons (MDM). 1980 were created in Belgium the second MSF section, 1981 followed a further section with seat in Geneva. 1993 received the organization from the UN-Hochkommissariat for refugees the Nansen medal. The German section of physicians without borders registered association was created in the same year. 1985 was referred representatives of the organization from Ethiopia, after the French section had publicly criticized the suppression of humanitarian assistance as well as obligation resettlements by the Mengistu regime. Due to the pressure of the international attention as well as due to the menace of the blockage funds by the most important giver countries the regime gave in. In the year 1989 died with a firing of a pilot without border airplane with a rocket in the Sudan beside other victims two coworkers. The organization left thereupon the south Sudan until 1992.

1990 were murdered in Afghanistan a MSF logistician. The organization interrupted thereupon the activities in the country until 1992. 1993 it came to a sharp condemnation of the proceeding of the United Nations into Somalia, since humanitarian principles were hurt. In the same year the organization stopped the activity in the Iraqi Kurdistan after the murder of a Handicap of international coworker.

1994 became in Vienna the office of the Austrian section of physicians without borders furnished. In the same year had delegated by MSF to Rwanda to those there active delegation of the IKRK to be taken up, in order to protect they against the threat by Hutu extremists in the context of the genocide beginning. The MSF coworkers carried thereby the emblem of the red cross and explained themselves ready to be active according to the employment rules of the IKRK since this was in the context of the local conditions the only effective protection from a possible murder. The proceeding of MSF to bring up for discussion and arrange humanitarian assistance thereby offences against the human rights and humanitarian international law more effective, was pushed in this use to its borders. One year later the coworkers of the organization with 37 further humanitarian organizations from Rwanda were referred. One had criticized the blood bath before by Rwandese troops in the refugee camp Kibeho. On 10 December 1999 the Nobel peace prize was lent to the organization for its work.

In the year 2001 two coworkers were kidnapped. One of them was released after six month's kidnapping in Colombia intact again, a further coworker in Chechnya became released after one month again. 2002 were kidnapped in Dagestan of the MSF coworkers Arjan Erkel and released in May 2004 after 20 months. On 2 June 2004 in Afghanistan five coworkers (Belgian, Norwegian, one Dutchman and two Afghans) in an ambush of the Taliban were killed. MSF sees one of the causes for this assassination attempt in already the instrumentalization criticized before it and the abuse of humanitarian assistance for political purposes by the coalition troops under US-American leadership. Thus for example Afghans were requested by means of handbills to supply information about the Taliban and aluminium Kaida in order to receive further humanitarian assistance. Due to this incident and the nevertheless continuing abuse by the coalition troops the organization stopped the work in Afghanistan on 28 July 2004 after activity.

In the year 2005 the physicians without borders criticized the United Nations sharply: one carried the hunger disaster in the Niger to the public, is concerned until today hundredthousands of the too late.

See also

  • Pharmacist without borders
  • Reporter without borders
  • Aviation without borders
  • History of the medicine
  • List of the important medical profession and physicians
  • Non-governmental organization

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