Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Legal Right to Humanitarian Assistance (Two Online Discussions Sponsored by Doctors Without Borders)

Is Humanitarian Law Still Fit for Purpose?
Implications for Protection and Humanitarian Effectiveness

View the Live Webcast  

From Syria to the Central African Republic and South Sudan, today's conflicts remain characterized by appalling violence against civilians and recurrent obstruction to the delivery of humanitarian aid with blatant disregard for international humanitarian law (IHL). Paradoxically, IHL is one of the most widely accepted bodies of international law and has seen dramatic developments over the last decades, not least with the creation of international criminal jurisdictions, such as the International Criminal Court.

Moderator: Jérémie Labbé, Research Fellow for Humanitarian Affairs, International Peace Institute
Speakers: Françoise Bouchet-Saulnier, Legal Director, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
Hansjoerg Strohmeyer, Chief of Policy Development and Studies Branch, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Gabor Rona, International Legal Director, Human Rights First


Current Challenges in International Humanitarian Law: An MSF Field 
Join a panel of experts for an in-depth look at how applications of international humanitarian law impact MSF's responses to current emergencies in South Sudan, Central African Republic, Chad, and other conflict areas around the world.

MSF invites you to participate in a live webcast on Monday, April 14 at 8pm EDT to mark the release of the third English language edition of The Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law.  

This online panel discussion will feature the book's author and MSF legal specialist, Françoise Bouchet-Saulnier, and two experienced MSF aid workers.  Drawing on their experiences from some of today's most violent conflict zones, the panelists will explore the challenges of ensuring armed groups respect international humanitarian law (IHL) and the safety of patients, health care workers, and medical facilities. They will also examine some of the tensions arising from the legal status accorded certain war-affected populations—whether refugees or internally displaced persons—and how this status affects their access to humanitarian assistance.

Register Here
(Viewer participation is encouraged via a chat feature available during the webcast).

Françoise Bouchet-Saulnier, Doctor of Law and magistrate, is the legal director of MSF and former research director at the Foundation Médecins Sans Frontières. She is the author of The Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law. 
Timothy Harrison, RN, recently completed a four-month mission with MSF in Malakal, South Sudan—one of that country's most contested areas in the ongoing civil war. Harrison, a Boston-area based nurse, will reflect on this experience and provide insights gained from his eight previous missions with MSF.
Anthony Thouvenin is the Logistics Supervisor for MSF operations in Chad, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Sudan. He recently returned from the border of Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR), where he coordinated MSF's emergency project providing aid to those fleeing violence in CAR.

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