Report of the European Observatory – Médecins du Monde1
The 14 organisations within the
Médecins du Monde
international network work with the most vulnerable populationsthroughout the world and in their own societies. Through our national programmes we meet people in Europe who have fled extreme poverty, violent armies and policeforces, conflict areas and disasters. A tiny minority of the children, women and men whom we try to support when wework in their countries end up coming here. After migration journeys which are very often long, dangerous andexhausting, many find themselves without permission to stay in the country, forced into the shadows of our towns andcities. At home, as abroad,
Médecins du Monde
aims to provide some support and tries to help this population protectwhat is often the only thing they have left—their health.With this study, we show how undocumented migrants’ living conditions are harmful to their health and prevent themfrom building, or rebuilding, their lives. This is despite the fact that these children, women and men are in particularneed of support, given what they have lived through and the migration journeys they have undertaken.Even worse, our own health systems often exclude them from healthcare. Serious health problems receive little medicalfollow-up, sometimes none at all.Because healthcare sometimes becomes a trap—due to the fact that people are being encouraged or required toreport undocumented migrants—we urge that
health policy must remain completely independent fromimmigration policy, respecting the obligations of health and social care professionals in terms of patientconfidentiality.
Because, in Europe, children can go untreated and women can be denied ante-natal care or be hassled until the momentof childbirth, we call on the relevant national and European authorities
to ensure the right to access healthcare for all,irrespective of immigration status.
Because sending seriously ill undocumented migrants back to their countries of origin—even though they won’treceive healthcare there—can be a death sentence, we call for
these vulnerable people to be granted regularimmigration status.
Professor Michel DEGUELDRE, Chair MDM BelgiumDr Pierre MICHELETTI, Chair MDM FranceProfessor Wilfried SCHILLI, Chair MDM Germany Dr Nikita KANAKIS, Chair MDM GreeceDr Françoise SIVIGNON, Chair MDM NetherlandsDr Abilio ANTUNES, Chair MDM Portugal Dr Teresa GONZALEZ, Chair MDM Spain and Italy Professor Anders BJÖRKMAN, Chair MDM SwedenProfessor Nago HUMBERT, Chair MDM Switzerland Ms Janice HUGHES, co-Chair MDM United KingdomMr Roo ROGERS, co-Chair MDM United Kingdom