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MSF Speaking Out

Speaking Out Podcast

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The MSF Speaking Out podcasts are a new series adapted from the original Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Speaking Out Case Studies (SOCS). Like the case studies, the podcast series examines the challenges and dilemmas surrounding speaking out. The series offers an in-depth look into these humanitarian dilemmas through the narration of extracts from MSF documents and press archives to help establish the facts. Interviews with the main MSF protagonists at the time of the events also provide insight into, and analysis of, the positions adopted, including personal reflections which offer fresh perspectives.

The first podcast series is adapted from the MSF in Srebrenica, 1993-2003 case study. 5 episodes examine the speaking out constraints, questions, and dilemmas faced by MSF teams in Srebrenica. MSF was present in the enclave since the beginning of its siege by the Bosnian Serb forces in 1993 until it fell in July 1995. During the fall, thousands of Bosnian Muslims were massacred. These massacres were qualified by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia as genocide in 2004.

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Speaking Out Srebrenica podcast
As a disarmed Bosnian enclave, under the theoretical protection of the United Nations, Srebrenica fell in the end, into the hands of the Serbs. 1993
© René Caravielhe
01 / 05

Episode 1: Entering the Enclave

Even after the United Nations (UN) declared Srebrenica a ‘safe area’ in March 1993, the Muslim community trapped inside the city was living under constant shelling. MSF provided medical care while starting to question how much protection the UN could actually provide.

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"MSF in Srebrenica. 1993-2003" Speaking Out Case Study.

This podcast is adapted from the case study “The Hunting and Killing of Rwandan Refugees in Zaire-Congo. 1996-1997". In 8 episodes, it investigates MSF's experience in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide, and in particular, with the impact on local populations and refugees living in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire).
The series expresses on the constraints, questions, and dilemmas faced by MSF teams attempting to bring relief to Rwandan refugees and local populations.

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Exode: rapatriement des refugies rwandais. Entre 1996 et 1997, des attaques aux camps de refugies situes le long de la frontiere est du Zaire poussent les refugies d’abord a se deplacer sur d’autres camps (Tingi-Tingi, Amissi, Biaro), ensuite a rentrer au Rwanda. Le rapatriement se fait dans des conditions inhumaines, la volonte des autorites rebelles etant celle d’eliminer de facon systematique les refugies.
© Wim Van Cappellen
01 / 08

Episode 1: Resumption of war in eastern Zaire

In 1996, MSF attempts to alert the international community about the resurgence of conflict in eastern Zaire, as witnessed by teams on the ground. The perpetrators of the Rwandan Tutsi genocide, living in refugee camps, threaten and attack the Zairean civilian population. The same perpetrators are holding Rwandan refugees that fled the 1994 genocide, hostage within the camps. The new Rwandan regime and its Zairian ally, the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL), launches counter attacks on the refugee camps.  

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"The Hunting and Killing of Rwandan Refugees in Zaire - Congo.1996-1997" case study

This podcast is adapted from the case study “War Crimes and Politics of Terror in Chechnya, 1994 – 2004”. Over 9 episodes, it explores the challenges and dilemmas MSF faced during the two wars in Chechnya between 1994 and 2004. These wars raised many questions for MSF on when and how the organisation should speak out publicly about the war crimes its staff witness and the chilling effects of the politics of terror on the Chechen people. 
Through MSF press releases, internal reports, speeches, and news articles of the time as well as eyewitness testimonies from MSF staff, this podcast series examines the challenges MSF faced when access to those in need was repeatedly blocked by the Russian authorities, forcing international staff to operate and train Caucasus teams at a distance. Later on, when staff members were kidnapped, MSF was confronted with a new dilemma - whether to raise a voice or lay low until their colleagues were released?

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Building destroyed in Grozny, Chechnya, 1995. 
© generic MSF
01 / 09

Episode 1: The First War in Chechnya

The first war of independence of Chechnya with the Russian Federation starts in 1994 and runs for two years during which access was regularly blocked by Russian forces. MSF feeds the press with information on the rapidly deteriorating conditions and the Russian’s refusal to let them into many areas of the country. 

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"War crimes and politics of terror in Chechnya 1994-2004" case study