By Msgr. Robert Vitillo, Caritas Internationalis Head of Delegation to the UN in Geneva
In many countries of the world, in both global North and global South, much attention is given to the legal status of migrants. As we observe World Migration Day 2012, Caritas Internationalis wishes to call attention to the full range of needs of migrants, including their right to enjoy good health as well as access to health care.
Much discrimination is experienced by migrants as a result of national and local health policies that are founded on such factors as racial, ethnic, cultural and religious prejudice; xenophobia; fear that migrants drain financial resources from a host population; and misunderstanding or misperception of the contributions made by migrants to host populations. Faith-inspired organisations, such as Caritas, engage in health-related advocacy with migrants in order to assure equitable access to health care, in accord with the vision developed by the Member States of the World Health Organization to assure “Health for All”.
Perhaps such advocacy is more necessary at the present time, than ever before, to strongly encourage national governments to include migrants, especially to include the more vulnerable groups of undocumented migrant women and children, refugees, survivors of human trafficking, in their health care programmes. Continue reading