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A group of French doctors founded Medecins Sans Frontieres on December 20, 1971. Most had worked for the Red Cross in Biafra - during the civil war with Nigeria, between 1968 and 1970. MSF was in many ways a reaction to what they say as the failings of other international aid organizations.

M¸decins Sans Frontiˇres (also known as Doctors Without Borders or MSF) offers assistance to populations in distress, victims of natural or man-made disasters, and victims of armed conflict, without discrimination and irrespective of race, religion, creed, or political affiliation.

MSF observes strict neutrality and impartiality in the name of universal medical ethics and the right to humanitarian assistance, and demands full and unhindered freedom in the exercise of its functions.

MSF volunteers undertake to observe their professional code of ethics and to maintain complete independence from all political, economic, and religious powers.

Volunteers are aware of the risks and dangers of the missions they undertake and have no right to compensation for themselves or their beneficiaries other than that which MSF is able to afford them.

Highlights in Medecines Sans Frontieres History-

  • 1972- First intervention, after an earthquake Nicaragua

  • 1975- Vietnam: first intervention in a war zone.

  • 1976- Team works in Beirut, Lebanon during the siege.

  • 1976- MSF assists refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia in Thailand.

  • 1978- MSF works in refugee camps in Africa

  • 1980- The first mission launched in Afghanistan.

  • 1984- Feeding programme for famine victims in Ethiopia

  • 1985- MSF denounces diversion of aid funds and forced migration- an MSF team is expelled by the Menfistu regime.

  • 1989- Health programmes are established in Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Communist bloc.

  • 1991- MSF launches its largest refugee programme to aid Kurds after the Gulf War.

  • 1993- MSF denounces methods of UN troops in Somalia for violating their own humanitarian principles.

  • 1994- Rwanda Genocide begins. One million refugees flee to Zaire. MSF collaborates on the largest cholera programme.

  • 1997- MSF is one of the few organizations to gain access to work in North Korea to distribute medicine to health centers and hospitals.

  • 1999- MSF wins the Nobel Peace Prize