Right to Migrant Health Key to Sustainable Development, IOM tells IPU


Belgrade – The right to health is a fundamental right of all human beings, irrespective of their legal status, IOM’s Senior Migration Health Advisor for South-eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia told the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) yesterday. 

“We welcome the approval on the landmark political declaration on universal health coverage and above all the explicit mention of the needs of migrants,” said Dr. Jaime Calderon at the Belgrade gathering, which brought together over 1700 parliamentarians and UN and civil society partners from around the world.  

However, Dr Calderon warned that there was a vital step that needed to be taken before universal health coverage, and with it, Sustainable Development Goals 3.8 and 10.7, could be fully realized. 

“This cannot be achieved unless health service coverage and financial protection measures in all countries include migrants and all other people on the move, especially those who are stigmatised, marginalised and in vulnerable situations,” he stressed. 

Dr Calderon called on States to provide the same rights and entitlements to migrants as they do for their nationals.  “The progressive realization of the rights of migrants to health should avoid parallel structures, as was pointed out in the draft of the Global Action to Promote the Health of Refugees and Migrants by the World Health Assembly this year,” he said.  

Dr Calderon also pointed out that migration can be a path to development with effective labour agreements, diaspora engagements and ethical and well-managed international recruitment of health workers who are critical in making UHC successful in countries of origin. 

The IPU was founded 130 years ago, to facilitate parliamentary diplomacy and empower parliaments and parliamentarians to promote peace, democracy and sustainable development around the world. Its 141st Assembly focussed on strengthening international law, gender equality, young people, human rights, and achieving universal health coverage. 

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