What role does humanitarian action play in population displacements?
Aid to refugee, displaced, deported, exiled and interned populations plays a central role in humanitarian action both now and in the past. What types of aid are provided to internees and displaced persons? What kinds of obstacles and dilemmas do these organisations face? What sorts of practical, political and ethical questions are raised by the participation of aid groups in population displacement and internment policies?
This op-ed by Isabelle Defourny and Michaël Neuman was published in the newspaper Le Monde on November 23rd, 2022.
In the summer of 2015, the French section of Médecins Sans Frontières started aid projects for migrant populations in Greece and France. The launch of these operations was the occasion for lively discussions within the association, both in terms of public positioning (how to justify an intervention in a rich country and not get lost in "political" territory?), and in terms of revising our operating methods, knowing that the primary needs of migrants were not primarily medical. Some people then recalled the association's militant practices in the 1990s, which were sometimes considered as abuses. By retracing the history of the French Mission, Michaël Neuman seeks to understand, with regard to the migration issue, the complex articulation between operational constraints, political positioning and militant practices.
Dont acte, la politique de harcèlement judiciaire, administratif, politique aura eu raison de l’Aquarius, déployé entre 2015 et le milieu de l’année 2018 en mer Méditerranée.
Tribune de Mego Terzian (Médecin, président de Médecins sans frontières) et Michaël Neuman (Directeur d'études au CRASH de MSF) publiée le 07 décembre 2018 dans Le Monde.
Humanitarian organisations coming to the rescue of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea are kindly required either to watch them drown or to hand them over to human traffickers and torturers. We have seen countless political statements, opinion polls and editorials on the need to take a harder line against African migrants and accusing NGOs of being the accomplices of “smugglers”. We have even heard it said that these NGOs are organising the departures of those aspiring to migrate to Europe coincide with the presence of a rescue ship, making relief workers conscious actors in a criminal enterprise.
Abstaining from participation in a meeting taking place this coming Thursday, MSF feels that "government officials have listened politely at best and shown condescension and contempt at worst in response to positions expressed in meetings, op-ed pieces published in the press and questions asked in meetings by NGOs" and do not hide "a policy that is sliding into harsh repression".
Following the dismantlement of the Basroch camp in Grande-Synthe and the resettlement of refugees in the new La Linière camp, in the spring 2016, Michaël Neuman and Franck Esnée wanted to focus their analysis and story on the “camp” – as an object –, its nature and management. This article was originally published in Alternatives Humanitaires #5, in July 2017.
In this post, published in Border Criminologies, Michaël Neuman and Corinne Torre speak out against the inhuman conditions imposed on migrants and refugees in Calais by the French state. This piece was originally published in French in Le Monde.
There can scarcely be any more sensitive marker of geopolitical transformations than the refugee. Not the individual refugee as such, but the phenomenon of refugees, the representations that make them visible and the discourse around them. From this point of view, 2016 was a year of upheaval, the like of which Europe had not seen since the war in the former Yugoslavia.
This article was originally published in Humanitarian Exchange Magazine #67 in September 2016. In this paper, Angélique Muller and Michaël Neuman attempt to explore the lessons learnt through examining the decisions as well as the difficulties MSF encountered in its provision of assistance to migrants in Grande-Synthe.