Webcast: An inside look at the critical moments that shaped MSF

Time and again, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) turns up in front-page stories about humanitarian crises in places such as Syria, Afghanistan, Haiti, or, most recently, West Africa, where MSF has led the effort to counter the worst Ebola outbreak the world has ever known. At the same time, MSF teams work far from the headlines, in remote, neglected settings like Yemen, Papua New Guinea, or Central African Republic, and treat diseases most people have never heard of like kala azar, chagas, or sleeping sickness.

For more than 40 years, in fact, MSF has responded to medical catastrophes large and small. A movement that began with a handful of physicians now includes more than 35,000 employees around the globe. Pick a spot on the map—from Colombia to Chad, Uganda to Uzbekistan, Sierra Leone to South Sudan—MSF is there.
Please join WHYY’s Maiken Scott at 6:00 PM on Thursday, October 23 for a conversation with MSF’s U.S. Executive Director, Sophie Delaunay, and three academic experts who have dedicated years to studying the organization. They will explore MSF’s history and development and tackle questions such as, how has MSF worked to stay flexible, reactive, and effective as it expanded through the years? How does it stay prepared to respond to emergencies wherever they occur? And are its core tenets of independence, neutrality, and impartiality viable at a time when the risks seem ever more extreme, particularly in places where protections once afforded to aid workers are eroding? Audience questions will be taken during the broadcast through a live chat.

Panelists will include:

Sophie Delaunay, Executive Director, Doctors Without Borders-USA

Renée C. Fox, Annenberg Professor Emerita of the Social Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, and author of Doctors Without Borders: Humanitarian Quests, Impossible Dreams of Médecins Sans Frontières

Laurence Binet, Director of Studies, Fondation MSF, and author of MSF’s Speaking Out Case Studies series

Peter Redfield, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, and author of Life in Crisis: The Ethical Journey of Doctors Without Borders

The Great Firewall Inverts

RSVP required for those attending in person via the form below
Event will be webcast live on this page at 12:30 pm.

In the last few years, usage of the mobile messaging app WeChat (微信 Weixin), has skyrocketed not only inside China, but outside, as well. For mainland Chinese, Wechat is one of the only options available, due to frequent blockage of apps like Viber, Line, Twitter and Facebook. However, outside of China, fueled by a massive marketing campaign and the promise of “free calls and texts”, overseas Chinese students and family, Tibetan exiles, and Bollywood celebrities also use the app as their primary mobile communications service. It is this phenomenon that might be called an inversion of the Great Firewall. Instead of Chinese users scaling the wall to get out, people around the world are walking up to the front gate, and asking to be let in.

Combined with the rise of attractive, low-cost mobile handsets from Huawei and Xiaomi that include China-based cloud services, being sold in India and elsewhere, the world is witnessing a massive expansion of Chinese telecommunications reach and influence, powered entirely by users choosing to participate in it. Due to these systems being built upon proprietary protocols and software, their inner workings are largely opaque and mostly insecure. Like most social media apps, the WeChat app has full permission to activate microphones and cameras, track GPS, access user contacts and photos, and copy all of this data at any time to their servers. Recently, it was discovered that Xiaomi MIUI phones sent all text messages through the companies cloud servers in China, without asking the user (Though, once this gained broad coverage in the news, the feature was turned off by default).

The fundamental question is do the Chinese companies behind these services have any market incentive or legal obligation to protect the privacy of their non-Chinese global userbase? Do they willingly or automatically turn over all data to the Ministry of Public Security or State Internet Information Office? Will we soon see foreign users targeted or prosecuted due to “private” data shared on WeChat? Finally, from the Glass Houses Department, is there any fundamental diffence in the impact on privacy freedom for an American citizen using WeChat versus a Chinese citizen using WhatsApp or Google?

About Nathan

Nathan Freitas leads the Guardian Project, an open-source mobile security software project, and directs technology strategy and training at the Tibet Action Institute. His work at the Berkman Center focuses on tracking the legality and prosecution risks for mobile security apps users worldwide.

6th Committee (Legal) 69th Session at the United Nations General Assembly

(via Opinio Juris) For those interested in the 6th committee program at the General Assembly currently underway,  the schedule is available here.   Interesting topics are being discussed, including the Rule of Law, International Terrorism, Universal Jurisdiction, finalizing a draft UNCITRAL treaty on transparency in treaty based Investor-State disputes, and an update on the Responsibility of International Organizations.  The ILC’s report will be discussed between October 27 – November 5.  Documents for the sessions are available on the PaperSmart portal, and all the plenaries can be viewed by live webcast here.

Additional information can be found here.

In addition, on Thursday, Oct. 16, elections will take place for three non-permament Security Council seats.   Background on the seats available and the countries vying for them is available here.

Human Rights Up Front

On Friday, September 26th, IPI together with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will cohost the Seventh Annual Trygve Lie Symposium on Fundamental Freedoms, bringing together UN representatives, government officials, experts, and members of civil society to discuss how Human Rights Up Front can put human rights and civilian protection at the forefront of the UN agenda today.

Click here for the live webcast beginning at 8:15am EST>>

More info:

Some of the questions that will be addressed during the event include: How can the Human Rights Up Front initiative contribute to the mainstreaming of human rights within the UN system? What value does Human Rights Up Front add to the existing work that the UN and its funds, programs, and field officers are doing on early warning and prevention? How can member states best support the Human Rights Up Front Initiative? What are the lessons learned from the implementation of Human Rights Up Front?

The panel discussion will be chaired by H.E. Mr. Børge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway.

H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
H.E. Ms. Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme
H.E. Ms. Louise Mushikiwabo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda
H.E. Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
H.E. Mr. David Miliband, President of the International Rescue Committee