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."
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 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."
The Guardian reports that Amber Rudd has quit her position as home secretary after "repeatedly struggling to explain her role in the unjust treatment of Windrush generation migrants."
In her resignation letter to the Prime Minister Theresa May, Rudd stated she is resigning because after reviewing the officials advice, she now agrees that she should have been "aware that the Home Office had targets for the removal of illegal immigrants."
CNN reports the story of Nikolle Contreras as she attempts to cross into the United States for the third time, but her first since she came out as a woman.
Contreras first tried to cross the border in 2016 and then again again in 2017 by swimming across the river from Mexico. But she almost drowned and ended up in a coma for two days. She was then detained and deported back to her home country of Honduras where she decided to live as a transgender woman openly. She soon realized she needed to depart Honduras as it is "one of the most dangerous countries in the world for transgender people."
"Discrimination because of my sexuality, lack of work, discrimination within my own family for being gay and worse, for being a trans person," she said. "It's very, very difficult."
Contreras is one of the 25 transgender and gender nonconforming people who have joined a caravan of Central American migrants attempting to cross through Mexico to the United States border.
An article published by the Toronto Star discusses how people in Canada are protesting against a 40-year-old section of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that states "foreign nationals are inadmissible if their medical condition might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services.”
Anna Malla, a spokesperson at Caregivers’ Action Centre said, “the fact that caregivers have to leave their families right from the beginning is the main problem. People who come here as caregivers to care for other people’s family members who are sick and disabled are then not allowed to bring their family members? That’s ironic and discriminatory.”
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