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Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres)
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    (December 20, 1971- )
    Humanitarian medical non-governmental organization (NGO)
    Founded by a group of thirteen doctors and journalists who disagreed with the International Red Cross policy of neutrality
    First mission was in Managua, Nicaragua after an earthquake (1972)
    Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1999)
    35,000 personnel active in 70 countries (2019)
    Annual budget of $1.63 billion (2019)
    It has been inconsistent on whether the best policy is to publicize human rights abuses in the countries it works in and risk expulsion or to stay quiet while helping the victims.
    A research director said that while trying to steer a neutral course, ‘one side thinks of us as leftist hippies, the other thinks of us as colonial imperialists.’
    It paid $10,000 per project ‘registration fees’ to a militia associated with al-Qaeda>/4581> to continue operations in <5555>Somalia.
    In order to keep from being kicked out of Yemen, it had to apologize for including the country on a list of the ten worst humanitarian crises (2009).
    Over a thousand current and former staffers signed a letter accusing the organization of ‘white supremacy’ and perpetuating racism ‘in our policies, in our hiring practices, in our workplace culture, and through the imposition of dehumanising 'humanitarian' programmes by a privileged, white minority workforce.’ (2020)
    Board President Christos Christou conceded that MSF promotes ‘this idea of the white savior — the white doctor going and providing assistance to the people in Africa and especially to little African kids.’
    In some areas, it is the sole provider of health care.
    Its volunteers are sometimes attacked or kidnapped for political reasons.
    Even without that, they risk death from stray bullets and bombs, mines, and the diseases they treat.
    When five of its aid workers were murdered by the Taliban, the Afghan government did nothing, even though the killers’ identities were known (2004).
    Five years later, they returned to Afghanistan, demonstrating their neutrality by opening one project in a government-controlled area and another in a Taliban stronghold.
    They were on the front lines during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
    As part of a program to promote diversity, the share of leadership positions held by people from outside Europe and North America increased from 24% to 46% during the 2010s.
    Private donors provide 90% of its funding.

Credit: C. Fishel

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