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January 23, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

LIFE, DEATH AND AID: The Medecins Sans Frontieres Report on World Crisis Intervention edited by Francois Jean, English version by Anne-Marie Huby & Alison Marschner (Routledge: $14.95; 160 pp., illustrated, paperback original). Founded in 1971 by a group of French doctors opposed to political restrictions on relief missions, Medecins Sans Frontieres ("Doctors Without Borders") bluntly condemns world leaders for paying lip service to human rights while routinely allowing those rights to be violated in Sudan, Cambodia and Tajikistan and seven other regional wars. The politicization of relief efforts in these struggles has exacerbated the plight of noncombatants. Nowhere are these conditions more evident than in the former Yugoslavia: Drawing on first-hand reports, the authors conclude, "The Bosnian disaster has not only done serious damage to the credibility of the United Nations and its law-enforcement and security instruments, it has also seriously eroded the principles of the Geneva Conventions. . . . It has flouted all the ideals on which the European democracies were founded in the aftermath of the Second World War."

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