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MSF’s tough succour

Why did Médecins Sans Frontières refuse to accept public donations?

By David Rieff   February 2005

The French medical relief agency, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), has always been viewed by other mainstream humanitarian organisations as the nonconformist of the relief world. This is not meant as a compliment. The great mantra of contemporary humanitarian action is co-ordination. The assumption is that private organisations like Oxfam, World Vision, and MSF must not set their policies by themselves, or even in consultation with the people on the ground they have come to assist, but must adhere to common frameworks for their actions that they thrash out together and in consultation with the relevant UN agencies such as the…

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