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Published On: Wed, Aug 14th, 2013

Violence against humanitarian aid workers prompts Doctors Without Borders to leave Somalia after more than two decades

The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) announced that they will be moving all of it’s programs out of Somalia due to increasing violence against workers, according to a press release today.

MSF has had operations in Somalia since 1991.

Somalia map - CIA source

Somalia map – CIA source

The actions of people with whom MSF must negotiate minimum guarantees to respect its medical humanitarian mission have been the same people either directly involved with the abuse of humanitarian aid workers, or by implying the abuse was okay.

Because of this, many Somali’s in need are cut off from the aid MSF provides.

According to the press release, over its 22-year history in Somalia, MSF has negotiated with armed actors and authorities on all sides. The exceptional humanitarian needs in the country have pushed the organization and its staff to tolerate unparalleled levels of risk—much of it borne by MSF’s Somali colleagues—and to accept serious compromises to its operational principles of independence and impartiality.

“In choosing to kill, attack, and abduct humanitarian aid workers, these armed groups, and the civilian authorities who tolerate their actions, have sealed the fate of countless lives in Somalia,” said Dr. Unni Karunakara, MSF’s international president. “We are ending our programs in Somalia because the situation in the country has created an untenable imbalance between the risks and compromises our staff must make, and our ability to provide assistance to the Somali people.”

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Somalia polio outbreak reaches 100 cases, ‘probably thousands more with the virus’ according to OCHA - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] news coincides with the announcement by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) that they were closing operations in Somalia due to insecurity and violence against humanitarian […]

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