Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed: The MSF Experience

Through an analysis of the events that have marked MSF’s history since 2003, this series of case studies and historical accounts describes the evolution of MSF's humanitarian ambitions, the resistance to these ambitions and the political arrangements that overcame this resistance (or that failed to do so). Analyzing the political transactions that allow humanitarian activities to move forward (but that are usually masked by the lofty rhetoric of ‘humanitarian principles’), they focus on one key question: what is an acceptable compromise for a humanitarian organization such as MSF?

Introduction: Acting at Any Price?


  • Sri Lanka. Amid All-Out War
  • Ethiopia. A Fool's Game in Ogaden
  • Yemen. A Low Profile
  • Afghanistan. Regaining Leverage
  • Pakistan. The Other Side of the COIN
  • Somalia. Everything is Open to Negotiation
  • Gaza Strip. A Perilous Transition
  • Myanmar. "Golfing with the Generals"
  • Nigeria. Public (Health) relations
  • India. The Expert and the Militant
  • South Africa. MSF, an African NGO?
  • France. Managing the "Undesirables"


  • Silence Heals…from the Cold War to the War on Terror
  • MSF Speaks Out: a Brief History - Caring for Health
  • Natural Disasters: “Do Something!”
  • Epilogue in the Name of Emergency - Afterword 
Document Author(s)
edited by Claire Magone, Michaël Neuman, Fabrice Weissman
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