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Dr Tom Scott-Smith, Associate Professor of Refugee Studies and Forced Migration at the RSC, has guest-edited the latest issue of Refugee Survey Quarterly, a special issue on Humanitarianism and the Migration Crisis. This issue presents the experiences of front-line staff in Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) as they grapple with the implications of the global refugee crisis.

The movement of hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East and Africa to Europe over the past 18 months has led to considerable political wrangling and much media coverage. But, as Scott-Smith notes in his introduction to the issue, “for aid workers, this situation raises questions that get to the very heart of humanitarianism and its purpose in the contemporary world. How does an organisation like MSF, the pioneer of ‘sans-frontierism’, engage with the shifting politics of borders and migration? What, practically, does it mean to be a ‘borderless’ organisation in a world where migration controls are such a big political issue? What are the implications of the refugee crisis for humanitarian principles and medical care?”

He reflects that as debates around migration and border regimes are inherently political, “it is difficult, if not impossible, to take effective humanitarian action…without also taking a political stand,” at variance with the ‘classical’ principles of humanitarian action (impartiality, neutrality, and independence).

You can find the issue here >>

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