Doctors Without Borders accused of racism, addresses the charges

After 50-year-old humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders was accused by staff members of abuse and racism, the organization has released a report in an attempt to address the issues, NPR reported May 9.

Current and former staff members told journalists about hundreds of incidents of abuse, including racial slurs used for workers of color and extending special privileges to certain workers based on nationality, including paying them a higher salary and reserving special food and drinks for them. According to Mara Kardas-Nelson, one of the reporters who broke the story, "every single person we spoke to had witnessed or experienced inequality or racism."

Doctors Without Borders President Christos Christou, MD, said  deep organization cultural change is inherently slow but that "this process of taking stock shows us where we are now, and how far remains to travel." 

The group has authored a progress report that measures organizational performance on a handful of key measures including representation of people of color and local workers in leadership, equity of staff benefits and pay,accessible complaint processes and culturally sensitive communication.

"Things are happening," said Dr. Christou, "but one year is a very short time for all these changes that need to happen in this organization."

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