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Separating humanitarian aid from politics

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7333.319a (Published 09 February 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:319

Jean-Michel Piedagnel, director of Médecins Sans Frontières, tells Alex Vass why the concept of a “humanitarian” war is wrong

Jean-Michel Piedagnel left his management job with a French sailboat company in 1995 at the start of the Yugoslav conflict. He felt that the international community had not done enough to prevent the conflict and joined Médecins Sans Frontières. He has been the executive director of the organisation for just under a year.

“I felt frustrated. I had always been interested in doing something for the world, and there are only a few ways you can get involved. You can join the military, you can get into politics, or you can join the humanitarian world.” …

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