Aid agency Médecins sans Frontières lifts the lid on the often ugly compromises aid organisations are forced to make while working in conflicts. In a new book, it provides disturbing case studies of where it had to negotiate with–and sometimes cede to–groups and regimes which abuse human rights, in order to continue providing aid to their victims.
What’s the Big Idea?
Among the case studies in Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed is that of Yemen in 2009, when the government was fighting Houthi rebels in the country’s north. MSF put the conflict in its “top 10 humanitarian crises”, which saw Yemen suspend authorization for all MSF activities in the country until MSF reluctantly agreed to issue a letter acknowledging its report might have appeared biased.