Setting: A rural region of a country where Western military forces are engaged in active combat.
Scenario: "An international medical NGO is supporting several rural health clinics in a country where Western military forces are engaged in active combat. The expatriate staff of the NGO are responsible for ensuring the distribution of medicines and equipment to these clinics.
A dispute breaks out amongst the staff about how closely the NGO should work with the Western military forces and the provisional government. Two points are raised in favour of closer cooperation.
However, there is significant concern amongst the staff that the neutrality of the NGO would be comprised by working too closely with the military. Worries are also voiced that a perceived link to the occupying forces could lead to the NGOâ€™s staff and clinics becoming the target of attack by opposing militias."
Source: Humanitarian Healthcare Ethics. 2014. ENHA Case Study Series: Relations between Western Military Forces and NGOs. www.humanitarianhealthethics.net
Questions for the discussion of this scenario
1. Discuss whether and to what extent the NGO should cooperate with the military forces and/or the local government. Which ethical arguments speak in favour or against such a cooperation?