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Definition of «Doctors Without Borders»

Doctors Without Borders: A group which sends physicians and other health workers to some of the most destitute and dangerous parts of the world and encourages them not only to care for people, but also to condemn the injustices they encounter. The 1999 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Doctors Without Borders (in French, Medicins Sans Frontieres).

The Nobel Committee cited the organization's rapid intervention in and reaction to natural and humanitarian disasters. "By intervening so rapidly, Doctors Without Borders calls public attention to humanitarian catastrophes, and by pointing to the causes of such catastrophes, the organization helps to form bodies of public opinion opposed to violations and abuses of power."

As of 1999, Doctors Without Borders had 23 offices worldwide and more than 2,000 volunteers. The organization was working in roughly 80 countries. Its efforts have included intervention following the Nicaragua earthquake, starting a feeding program in Ethiopia in 1984, health programs in Eastern Europe following the fall of the Communist bloc and responses to the earthquake and Turkey and the violence in East Timor.

Doctors Without Borders was formed in 1971 by a group of French physicians, most of whom had worked for the International Red Cross in Biafra in 1968 and 1970. According to the group, they aimed to overcome two shortcomings of international aid, "that it offers too little medical assistance and that aid agencies are overly reticent in the face of the many legal and administrative obstacles to the provision of effective humanitarian relief."

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