Black lives matter

Cari soci,

come alcuni di voi sanno, in questi giorni, nel movimento si è aperta, via email (tra i presidenti e gli IGA_Rep dell’organizzazione) e sulla piattaforma Flucity (https://www.flui.city/home), una discussione molto sentita sul tema del razzismo.

Abbiamo iniziato a parlarne nel board di giugno perché ci sembrava importante che MSF Italia contribuisse a dare un punto di vista diverso, portando la discussione su come MSF possa contribuire al dibattito sulle discriminazioni, incluso il razzismo, all’interno delle società di cui fa parte (considerando che questa discussione interna è iniziata dopo l’esplosione del movimento BLM in USA).

Di seguito trovate i passaggi più significativi, con i link diretti ai vari interventi, pubblicati sul sito associativo internazionale (le cui credenziali di accesso come sapete sono le seguenti: user MSF password asso). Ne parleremo durante la riunione del board il prossimo 10 luglio, invitando probabilmente un ospite esterno che ci consenta di inquadrare la problematica in una prospettiva più ampia, meno MSFcentrica.

Abbiamo ritenuto doveroso condividere con voi i passaggi più importanti e i documenti che hanno influenzato il dibattitto in questi giorni per darvi una visione completa e arrivare ad una discussione propositiva e concreta venerdì prossimo.

Pensavamo di dividere la discussione in due parti:

Seguire il dibattitto interno ad MSF, che, come vedrete, è tutto concentrato sulla presenza o meno del razzismo all’interno dell’organizzazione. Cosa propone MSF Italia? quali misure da adottare?
Ampliare il dibattitto anche all’esterno: MSF deve posizionarsi nei dibattitti sulle discriminazioni, incluso il razzismo, nelle società in cui è presente (nei paesi in cui lavoriamo e nel nostro Paese)? Possiamo e/o dobbiamo partecipare a questi dibattiti e prendere posizione in caso di evidenti discriminazioni sociali?

Buona lettura, e vi aspettiamo pieni di idee al prossimo board!

buona giornata,

Lisa

 

La discussione prende le mosse con la morte di George Floyd e il conseguente dibattito nella società americana, con la posizione del DG e Presidente di MSF USA che hanno espresso solidarietà.
Ad un commento sui social di Avril Benoit risponde la presidente di MSF USA, Africa Stewart con uno statement pubblico. 
Rispondono vari attori, tra i quali segnaliamo Javid Abdelmoneim (presidente MSF UK), che ne condivide i principi di fondo e sottolinea come il razzismo non sia un problema esclusivamente americano ma coinvolga l’intero movimento.
Viene lanciata una lettera aperta dai colleghi di MSF Brasile, alla quale segue una risposta del board e management team che ne condividono i contenuti. 
Tante sono le risposte. Ne segnaliamo solo alcune: quella di Thierry Allafort (DG di MSF Francia) e quella di Christos Christou (Presidente internazionale) e Samuel Bumicho co-chairs dell’IB's People Standing Committee.
Queste 2 ultime mail vengono riprese esternamente sul web da The New Humanitarian
Il 25 giugno viene lanciata una nuova lettera aperta a firma del gruppo “Decolonising MSF”, che ha raccolto rapidamente più di 900 firmatari, diretta all’attenzione dei Presidenti, Direttori Generali, membri del board, direttori di dipartimento e senior manager di tutta l’organizzazione. In particolare viene chiesto ad ogni board di aprire il dibattitto nel proprio associativo.
Vista l’accelerazione della discussione, il board di MSF Italia ha ritenuto di dover intervenire prima della riunione del 10 luglio per provare a dare un contributo che portasse ad una visione più ampia e anche di posizionamento esterno ad MSF: di seguito si copiano il primo e il secondo messaggio, condivisi entrambi con il MT, inviati alla lista dei presidenti e IGA_Rep e pubblicati sulla piattaforma Fluicity e Souk. In allegato anche il contributo di alcune persone dello staff di MSF Italia.
I board dei Centri Operativi e delle sezioni partner si apprestano ad approfondire il dibattito nelle prossime riunioni. In allegato una riflessione di Jonathan Whittall, una lettera inviata dallo staff di OCB al Management team e la posizione di OCA e Waca. Il board di OCB, che si è riunito ieri, conferma la posizione del comitato del board formatosi per affrontare questo tema la settimana scorsa, in cui viene riconosciuta la presenza di razzismo dentro MSF e si chiede un Audit esterno per mappare il problema e indirizzare le misure da prendere. La riunione di Agorà di OCBA prevista per il 18 luglio tratterà lo stesso soggetto.

 

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Dear all,

this message has been written by MSF Italy board: given the actual debate within MSF, we wish to bring our contribution on the topic of discrimination in MSF.

We need to highlight some premises:

- we are more than 25 partner sections and branch offices and we work in 70 countries around the world. Each country, like each section, has a different history and therefore a different perspective and approach to this debate that partly reflects the debate within each own society. This doesn’t mean that we are right or wrong, but different points of view and this, in our opinion, enriches the dialectic and the debate.

- in our opinion, we shouldn’t use the word “racism” but “discrimination”. There are no races, there are human beings. Words count and their correct use is also part of the solution, along with, first of all, strong and proactive actions.

- using the word “racism” continues to pass the message that people of different origins have different biological structures, which is wrong. We are a medical organisation and we must be consistent in the words we use. Moreover, when we talk about discrimination, we can also refer to many other kinds of intolerance (as politics, religion, sexual orientation, etc.). At our 2018 General Assembly we approved a motion that requires us to stop using the word “racism” in all our communications. We would like everyone, starting from MSF, to talk about 'All lives matter', all lives count, because discrimination exists against blacks, whites, yellows, women, men, gays, old, young, etc. And we see it these days in many countries, where the movement started in the United States with 'Black lives matter' has spread to many other societies and is supported by the most diverse people. This becomes even more important if we think about the projects in which we work and see discrimination of populations, patients or staff, based not only on physical characteristics but also on religious, political, sexual orientation ...

- MSF was born in France in 1971, at a time when there were movements in Europe challenging an "old world" and therefore a favourable environment for the constitution of this type of association. We are all children of this history and from it we must learn and move forward in a world that continues to change. From this story our "MSF Charter" was born which already includes the phrase that summarizes all the ongoing debate "...without discrimination of sex, race, religion...". In our opinion a beautiful sentence, of which we must be proud, and we must do everything together to achieve it. We must be careful not to confuse the discrimination and the actions that tend to fight it, with the accusation that MSF is Europe-centric which is instead linked, at least in large part, to the history of MSF and its origins.

- all of us have seen discriminatory attitudes and this reminds us that MSF is an association composed by people and each of us is responsible for its attitude, but also for the attitude of its neighbour. MSF must continue and strengthen its actions to counteract these attitudes and remove them.

 

In the last days, the exchange of emails within the MSF Movement, they are mentioned insufficient or too slow actions: on this we agree but, at the same time, we understand the difficulty of changing an organization complex as it has become MSF. Recently new structures and new models have been created outside Europe: WACA, East Africa Association, Camino, LatAm. Many of the partner sections have incorporated part of the medical services such as Bramu, Samu, Australia. Maybe all this is not enough, but 10 years ago these changes were not even imaginable, and now they are reality. Surely there is still a lot to do and the most important thing is to do it together. And we agree with Julia Barsch, President of MSF Brazil, that it is time to continue to act in a concrete way, and all ideas are welcome, from a constructive and proactive point of view.

 

Unfortunately, in many countries, including Italy, discriminatory attitudes are increasing: we believe that MSF can play an important role in the debate within society and try to change the narrative and give a point of view of an association that has offices in which more than 80 different nationalities work.

 

On behalf of MSF Italy we concretely propose:

- it’s important to give more importance to the IPOB (International Platform on Behaviour) and strengthen the prevention and training of human resources at all levels, in order to make them more aware of correct behaviour and the identification of discriminatory behaviour and to have a quicker intervention in case of this occurs.

- an anti-discriminatory code of conduct can be written to be signed by anyone working for MSF. We firmly believe that it is essential to MSF's humanitarian identity to affirm our commitment against all discriminatory acts and to put this commitment into practice in all our activities.

- as MSF Italy board we are proposing to the executive to put the issue of discrimination as a topic in our next year schools engagement project, because it is from young people that we have to start.

- we support the idea, proposed by other colleagues in the movement, of an external audit to help us identify crucial nodes in an objective way and create a path of elimination of any form and discriminatory behaviour both internal (projects, HQ, association) and external (patients, communities, supporters, donors, etc.) to MSF. We want to have an MSF that is representative of the real diversity of people that make it up at all levels, both executive and associative.

- we want MSF to support the association of the countries in which we work to increase their engagement and activism as quickly as possible and to have the right weight and representation in the decisions making process of the Movement.

 

Thank you very much

MSF Italy board

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Dear all, 

we know our statement among the debate on racism brought to discussions and reactions, so we are here to clarify the sense of our words and apologise if it hurt sensitivities of our colleagues across the world, which was totally not in our intention.

Our statement was not meant to diminish or deny the issue, but to broaden and strengthen the discussion, adding to racism towards black people, which must be detected and removed, any kind of discrimination tied to religion, gender, sexual orientation and all minorities worldwide, which need to be treated and represented equally inside the MSF family – “all lives”, but with no opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement which we fully support and of course no endorsement at all for the far-right wing using this claim in the US, which does not represent and is completely distant from our position.

We support and stand aside the BLM movement, and like the MSF international movement we condemn racism and all discrimination and will continue to spread human dignity and equity in all our work, inside and outside MSF. While biological races do not exist among humans, on the contrary racism is still alive and must be fought by all means.

Board MSF Italy

By: Annalisa Napoleoni