On Wednesday the organisation's Belgian branch announced it was completely withdrawing from Sudan, following what it described as the continued inability to access people in conflict zones. The decision also came soon after a hospital run by the French branch of MSF in South Kordofan state, where there has been an insurgency since 2011, was bombed by government aircraft, leading that branch to leave the state.
The organisation says it remains committed to helping people in need but that it cannot jeopardise its independence.
The decentralized structure of MSF gives different branches considerable freedom to discreetly negotiate their own access to needy civilians. Ensuring aid is delivered in such circumstances frequently entails making very difficult choices and compromises, balancing the need to act morally against established humanitarian principals. How far does “humanitarian space” have to shrink before it becomes impossible to keep working there?
This timeline provides an overview of the rare occasions when the humanitarian space ran out for MSF.