MSF Behavioural Commitments



Is considered on assignment: 

1. Any staff member, in the following circumstances:

  • when he/she is performing duties for MSF inside or outside of his/her usual place of work, and/or
  • he/she is present on MSF  premises, and/or
  • during his/her working hours. 

2. At all times, any staff member being perceived as a member of or representing MSF. This includes:

  • when using MSF cars or wearing MSF signs of identification 
  • when being assigned in a location different from his/her place of recruitment (international staff and any other staff being temporarily or permanently relocated in order to perform duties for MSF) 
  • all members of MSF leadership, all board members of MSF entities, all GDs, all Directors or Heads of departments in all entities, all advocacy and representation staff and all coordinators.



  1. Article 4 of the MSF Behavioural Commitments states: “MSF staff members and partners shall not accept child abuse, exploitation and violence and not engage in sexual relations with  children;” 
  2. The definition of children comes from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which defines a child as “every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier”. This means that the age under which an individual is considered as a child can vary from one country to another. 
  3. In terms of implementation, this means that each MSF entity will apply the article of the  Behavioural Commitments according to the local laws applicable to the child. For international staff, the law applicable in the country issuing the employment contract must  also be respected.


Staff members and operational partners – Scope 

  1. Members of staff: all employees on assignment, volunteers, daily workers 
  2. Operational partners: consultants, any staff receiving incentives (MoH, NGOs…) and guests  (visitors on MSF projects and offices such as journalists, visiting scientists or major donors) 
  3. The Behavioural Commitments also apply to all Associative members and dependants of international staff located in the country of mission.


 MSF – Behavioural Commitments 


MSF considers itself a responsible employer and association, and this rests on the responsible behaviour of its members. There is a mutual and complementary role of the employee and the employer to prevent, detect and address unacceptable behaviour and MSF staff should deploy the means to inform its patients and direct beneficiaries on the behavioural commitments stated below. 

Within MSF, all members of staff (employees, including staff on international assignment, volunteers, daily workers) and operational partners (including consultants and guests) understand and adhere to the commitments below, incorporate them into their professional and personal conduct, and abide by them. Should this not be the case, MSF offers channels for reporting at every level of the organisationand any non-compliance will entail due consequences. 
These Behavioural Commitments are considered as a minimum behavioural standard, more specific
rules may apply to MSF staff members depending on the context in which they work and their area of

 Behavioural Commitments 

  1. MSF staff members and operational partners shall behave respectfully and not discriminate against patients, colleagues or members of the local population on the basis of their race,  opinions, lifestyle, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, origin, religion or beliefs and others markers of identity;   
  2. MSF staff members and operational partners shall not abuse anyone physically (i.e. physical violence, sexual aggression or other form of physical abuse) or psychologically (e.g. bullying, abuse of power, harassment, discrimination or favouritism); 
  3. MSF staff members and operational partners shall not accept, under any circumstances,  behaviour that exploits the vulnerability of others, in the broadest possible sense (sexual, economic, social, etc.). This includes exchange of goods, benefits or services for acts of a sexual nature, including the use of sex workers’ services while on assignment; 
  4. MSF staff members and operational partners shall not accept child abuse, exploitation and  violence and not engage in sexual relations with children [1]
  5. MSF staff members and operational partners shall not take advantage of their position for personal gain. Each member shall use MSF resources (including premises, goods, money, reputation, image etc.) with respect and care and in the interests of the organisation and the populations it seeks to assist.


[1] Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989, entry into force 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 1: “For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.”


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