Graduated from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, Fabrice Weissman joined MSF in 1995. He spent several years as logistician and head of mission in Sub-Saharian Africa (Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, etc.), Kosovo, Sri Lanka and more recently Syria. He has published several articles and books on humanitarian action, including "In the Shadow of Just Wars. Violence, Politics and Humanitarian Action" (ed., London, Hurst & Co., 2004), "Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed. The MSF Experience" (ed., Oxford University Press, 2011) and "Saving Lives and Staying Alive. Humanitarian Security in the Age of Risk Management" (ed., London, Hurst & Co, 2016).
Afghanistan : Should MSF accept the risk of targeted killings?
The May 12th massacre at the MSF-supported maternity hospital in Dasht-e-Barchi (Afghanistan) raises, yet again, the question of our limits with regard to risk. What is an acceptable level of danger for humanitarian aid workers? How do we set limits? Why would MSF decide to leave Kabul but remain in Herat, for example, or leave Afghanistan but remain in Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, or Somalia, where the teams also face extreme danger?
MSF and kidnappings - the secrets and the dilemmas
On the 31st January, a symposium was held at Sciences Po in support of Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, researchers at Sciences Po's Center for International Research (CERI) who were arrested in Iran on June 5, 2019. Roland Marchal was released on 20th March 2020 in exchange for an Iranian engineer detained in France. On 6th May Fariba Adelkhah was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment for "propaganda against the political system of the Islamic Republic, and collusion to undermine national security". The researcher was offered conditional release on condition that she terminates her research, but she refused.
The symposium brought together diplomats, journalists, humanitarians and researchers, with the aim of "nourishing reflection about prisoners and hostages, from a political, legal and ethical point of view". Fabrice Weissman presented the experience of Médecins Sans Frontières in the face of kidnappings.
Should Médecins Sans Frontières join the fight against global warming?
Following an article co-written by members of the Swiss and Canadian sections of MSF, Fabrice Weissman presents a critical analysis of the arguments put forward by his colleagues. An analysis that could be useful to the entire movement, and to the humanitarian community as a whole.
Ending the Code of Silence on Abductions of Aid Workers
This article discusses the policy of absolute secrecy on abductions adopted by aid organisations. It argues that the information blackout on past and current cases is to a large extent a function of the growing role of private security companies in the aid sector, which promote a ‘pay, don’t say’ policy as a default option, whatever the situation. The article contends that secrecy is as much an impediment to resolving current cases as it is to preventing and managing future ones. It suggests abandoning the policy of strict confidentiality in all circumstances – a policy that is as dangerous as it is easy to apply – in favour of a more nuanced and challenging approach determining how much to publicise ongoing and past cases for each audience, always keeping in mind the interests of current and potential hostages.
Mortality emergency threshold: A case for revision
The crude mortality rate (CMR) is one of the most widely used indicators at MSF and the humanitarian sector to evaluate the severity of a health crisis within a given population. It is widely recognized that a CMR equal to or greater than one death per 10,000 persons a day signifies an emergency situation requiring an immediate response. However, the usage of the standard emergency threshold as “1/10,000/day” is very questionable: it goes against the official recommendations endorsed by humanitarian organizations and ignores the worldwide decline in mortality rates over the last 30 years.
A selection of books chosen by members of Crash. Happy summer and happy reading !
Humanitarian diplomacy, a fig leaf for extreme violence
Interview with Michaël Neuman and Fabrice Weissman, research directors at Crash. On Wednesday 28 September, MSF is invited to attend a UN Security Council briefing on resolution 2286, adopted in May 2016, which strongly condemns attacks against medical personnel and establishments in conflict situations.
In recent years, fear-mongering reports based on hard data have been describing a world of ever-increasing danger for aid workers. The book "Saving lives and staying alive" explores this observation and compares it with MSF's experience of working in particularly dangerous regions.
MSF suspension of EU funds: When short memory meets moral opportunism
On June 17, 2016,MSF announced that it will no longer accept funds from the European Union and Member States, as a sign of protest against the closure of European borders to migrants and asylum seekers.