Vue de l'intérieur de l'hôpital MSF à Kunduz, après son bombardement, octobre 2015

Humanitarian Wars ? - Interview with Rony Brauman

Rony Brauman

Medical doctor, specialized in tropical medicine and epidemiology. Involved in humanitarian action since 1977, he has been on numerous missions, mainly in contexts of armed conflicts and IDP situations. President of Médecins sans Frontières from 1982 to1994, he also teaches at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) and is a regular contributor to Alternatives Economiques. He has published several books and articles, including "Guerre humanitaires ? Mensonges et Intox" (Textuel, 2018), "La Médecine Humanitaire" (PUF, 2010), "Penser dans l'urgence" (Editions du Seuil, 2006) and "Utopies Sanitaires" (Editions Le Pommier, 2000).

Rony Brauman has just published “Guerres humanitaires ? Mensonges et intox” (which could be loosely translated as "Humanitarian Wars? Lies and Brainwashing"). This book, a collection of interviews co-authored with Régis Meyran, explores a number of recent armed interventions that have all shared the goal of saving lives. Reviewing conflicts in Somalia, Libya, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, Brauman discusses the reasons advanced for justifying these wars and the accompanying lies. He explains his motivations in an interview with the Médiapart news site. 

The issue of humanitarian law plays a central role in his critique. While he does not reject the concept as a whole, Brauman notes that humanitarian law is primarily the product of a war mentality. He contends that from a certain perspective, it must be considered as a license to kill – “necro-ethics”, a term he borrows from Grégoire Chamayou, author of “A Theory of the Drone”.  

Because humanitarian law eclipses human realities, NGOs would be well advised to show it less support, says Brauman. Countering a trend that has not spared MSF, i.e. when the NGO notes that “even war has rules”, he urges a more restrictive application of humanitarian law. It is this section of the book that is the focus of the following interview.


To cite this content :
Rony Brauman, Olivier Falhun, “Humanitarian Wars ? - Interview with Rony Brauman”, 19 février 2018, URL :

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