The Humanitarian Situation in the Gaza Strip since October 2023

24. 4. 2024 Author: Anaïs Tosi The department of IRES hosted a roundtable discussion with Tomáš Bendl, the Head of Communication of Doctors without Borders, Czech Republic.

On the 17th of April, Tomáš Bendl from Doctors Without Borders came to MUP to speak about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. This event was organised by Anaïs Tosi (IRES student) within HuRT(Human Rights Tribune), a student platform that provides space for discussions,workshops, field trips and other events. The debate was moderated by the head of the department of IRES, Šárka Kolmašová.

Tomáš Bendl started his presentation by introducing Doctors Without Borders as an organisation, including its core principles of neutrality and impartiality, and then explained the main activities specifically in the Gaza Strip. The medical and other staff of the organization provide surgeries, wound and burn care, vaccinations and even mental health support to their patients. They also treat a lot of patients suffering from malnutrition. Contrary to the general perception that Doctors without Borders are while Western humanitarian workers, in fact, 90 % of the staff working in Gaza are Palestinians.

Approximately 60 students, professors and outside participants attended the conference. This indicates a strong interest in humanitarian issues and the situation in Gaza in particular among students. Some former students who have already graduated have attended the discussion.

The initial presentation was followed by many questions. For instance,students were interested in why the UN Security Council has not adopted more robust response measures, what would need to happen to achieve a ceasefire or how effective are humanitarian corridors. Tomáš Bendl shared his everyday experiences as well as those of his colleagues in a very open and straightforward manner. Thereby, he helped us to better understand what does it mean to be a child, a woman, a man or a member of the medical staff in the Gaza strip after October 2023. It was a memorable and insightful debate thanks to the guest speaker but also all our engaged students, who have attended.