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Promising local practices for the right to health for migrants

Urbanization is one of the most important global trends of the 21st century. As pressure mounts on housing and health services, some groups risk being left behind, including in Europe, the world’s region with the highest ranking in the Human Development Index.

On 29 Aug 2019

Migrants in particular face barriers in accessing health services, whether due to restrictive legislation, prohibitive cost, a lack of knowledge or fear. Some local authorities and health practitioners, however, are taking action to protect the dignity of migrant children, women and men.

‘Promising local practices on the right to health for migrants’ is a new publication by the UN Human Rights Regional Office for Europe that maps creative and innovative solutions for facilitating access to health care for migrants in cities throughout Europe. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet launched the publication at a Human Rights Council side event with the participation of WHO and local health actors on 20 September 2019.

In daily and direct contact with people, authorities at the local level play a key role in upholding human rights. “The whole of society benefits when no one is left behind,” says Birgit Van Hout, Regional Representative for Europe of UN Human Rights in Brussels. “There are some encouraging practices out there that deserve to be commended and better known. Let us hope that others - local and national authorities - will be inspired to follow the lead of these inclusive cities.”

States recommitted to ensuring healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages in Goal 3 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, reaffirming article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which proclaimed that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of him/her-self and of his/her family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.