Lancet: Refugees - Ethics of research in refugee populations
Much funding and political support was secured for the millions fleeing Kosovo, yet refugees with just as much, if not greater need, in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo, receive meagre donations, scant media attention, and are largely ignored by western politics.
Although the knowledge gained might be very useful, it is apparent to the humanitarian community that doing research on people who are desperately poor and frightened raises many issues about the ethics that support and constrain such studies.
Collecting testimonies is a moral obligation; in some cases it should be a priority, whatever the consequences on the official authorisations, to provide further medical and humanitarian assistance.
In 1994, when millions of Rwandans were subjected to genocidal violence and internal displacement, the world did nothing; however, when more than a million refugees fled into surrounding countries, there was a massive (but not very effective) international response.