The federal government is reviewing a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee that says Canada violated the rights of Neil Toussaint, an undocumented irregular migrant, by denying her crucial health care.
The UN Human Rights committee determined in its ruling that "under the optional protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, even illegal aliens have an inherent right to life."
The committee's decision said: "Member states cannot make a distinction, for the purposes of respecting and promoting the right to life, between regular and irregular migrants."
They ruled Canada should provide Toussaint "adequate compensation for the harm she suffered," and "review its national legislation to ensure that irregular migrants have access to health care."
In an article published in the Knowable Magazine, occupational health researcher Marc Schenker of UC Davis discusses the hazards and potential solutions to address why migrants are especially vulnerable to workplace injuries. Schenker describes how the power imbalance between employers and immigrant workers, who have few rights, forces migrants to take risks that put their health in danger. He states several migrant workers lack access to health care since nations restrict the benefits they can receive, or workers are afraid to claim existing services.
"In the United States, the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries found that immigrant workers were 15 percent more likely to be fatally injured on the job than those who were native-born."
For many people people in Ontario, lack of accessible healthcare is related to their immigration status. According to a Healthy Debate article, around 500,000 people living in Ontario do not have access to OHIP, the government’s health insurance plan for residents of Ontario. Those without any official immigration status in Canada have no access to OHIP.
For example, in 2015, "among those without insurance were 89,000 newly landed permanent residents (who go without OHIP for three months); some 85,000 temporary workers (who similarly go at least three months without OHIP, and longer depending on their work situation); and almost 54,000 international students (both post-secondary and younger), who have no access to OHIP at all."
Daniel Trilling's article in The Guardian outlines the "dangerous new development in European politics." Trilling states that "until now, the effort to filter out and deter unwanted migrants from reaching Europe has generally been pursued by politicians of the liberal centre, and part of their justification for doing it is that these unpleasant but necessary policies will stave off a rightwing populist backlash."
He claims that when far-right politicians, such as Italy’s Matteo Salvini, gain positions of power in numerous nations, their influence becomes real. Their goal, "rather than to make a perceived problem go away, is to deliberately stoke a sense of crisis and panic, to frame this form of migration as an existential threat to Europe."
An article by Daniel Trilling in The Guardian highlights 5 myths about the Refugee Crisis. One of the myths is that the crisis is over. Although arrivals have decreased and governments have limited the movement of undocumented migrants within the European Union, the reality is that thousands remain in reception centres or camps in southern Europe, while others attempt to settle in new places.
Another important myth highlighted in the article is that "we can neatly separate refugees from economic migrants." Trilling states "most of us are economic migrants - even if within our own countries – but the term has taken on a new and pejorative meaning since the refugee crisis."
CBC News reports that in the past 14 months, Algeria has abandoned over 13,000 people in the Sahara Desert.
The migrants are from sub-Saharan African - Mali, the Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Niger and more - that are heading toward Europe, some are escaping violence, while others are simply hoping to make a living. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports "for every migrant known to have died crossing the Mediterranean, as many as two are lost in the desert — potentially upwards of 30,000 people since 2014."
New York City's public hospitals have treated 12 migrant children in its emergency rooms who were recently separated from their parents and placed in short-term foster care.
NYC Health & Hospitals CEO Dr. Mitchell Katz stated that these were the only children identified to date by the health system as being separated from their parents.
"We know the health risks associated with tearing apart children from their families are very real, including an increased risk of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and attention-deficit disorder," said Katz.
According to a report by the University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Program (IHRP), Invisible Citizens: Canadian Children in Immigration Detention, Canada has housed over 200 Canadian children in detention in Toronto’s Immigration Holding Centre since 2011, as well as hundreds of formally detained non-Canadian children.
The report recommends that "Canada urgently implement alternatives to the detention of children rather than confining them in immigration detention facilities or separating them from their detained parents."
The #donttakethekids movement has requested that children’s toys be piled in front of the US Consulate in Toronto on June 8, 2018 at 2 pm.
"The US administration has found a powerful new way to stop people from crossing its borders: taking away their children. In recent months, over 700 little kids – including more than 100 babies and toddlers – have been taken from their detained parents and sent to facilities across the country."
The toys will represent a donation to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is fighting the new policy in court. The event details can be found here.
According to a BBC article, transgender migrant Roxana Hernandez was being held by immigration authorities in New Mexico when she became sick. She travelled via the migrant caravan which President Trump had criticized. Hernandez was escaping violence, hate and stigma in Central America.
Immigrants' rights groups are asking for "dignified and humane treatment for all asylum seekers, medical care sensitive to the needs of transgender people and those with HIV, and the closure of all immigration detention centres."
Applied research Advocacy