IFMSA and IPSF on the Health of Migrants and Refugees

Endorsed Content

ifmsa-logo-horizontal-1

(IFMSA, 2017)

ipsf-38-logo-voorkant

(IPSF, 2017)

The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) and the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF) are deeply concerned about the conditions migrants and refugees face around Europe, particularly in Greece and the Balkans. Thousands of migrants and refugees are trapped in freezing conditions in inadequate and unhealthy camps and shelters.

Several deaths due to hypothermia were reported in Bulgaria and Greece by humanitarian organizations working in the region[1]. Adding to this, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has reported several cases of frostbite and hypothermia from a number of European countries[2][3]. However, these examples are not the first ones – already in November 2016, a woman and child were killed in a tragic fire that erupted in the Moria hotspot on Lesvos, Greece, when a gas canister attached to a hot plate exploded inside their small nylon tent[4]. Today, almost two months after this deadly incident, many people have no other choice but to continue to live in tents and heat them in the same way.

In many Balkan countries, migrants and refugees live in abandoned buildings without access to water, hygiene and sanitation facilities, trying to survive in temperatures as low as -20°C in improvised shelters or snow-filled streets. Even in many official camps, accommodation facilities are not adapted for the winter conditions and people are forced to look for desperate solutions on how to fight the freezing reality. In some cases, authorities have placed restrictions on humanitarian organizations to provide assistance to these people, only tolerating basic distribution of blankets and food[1]. In some European countries, there are even reports of state authorities confiscating blankets and destroying migrants’ shelters[5],which we consider a direct violation of the human right to adequate standard of living.

Two groups that are exceptionally vulnerable during this winter period are women and children. Children continue to live in these squalid, unsafe camps, at risk of disease; unable

to continue their education and exposed to abuse and exploitation. This violates their rights under the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – their right to basic needs and support to reach their potential. Women face violence, assault and exploitation in these conditions. Pregnant women have no access to healthcare, which invariably affects them and their unborn child. Without basic healthcare and supplies, many of these women and children will not survive the winter.

The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations, the world’s largest federation of medical students, and the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF), the leading international advocacy organization for pharmacy students, believe that their members have a global responsibility to respond to the refugee crisis. We repeatedly call all responsible actors to give urgent attention to the suffering of asylum seekers and refugees.

We immediately call governments to fulfil their obligations under international human rights law, European Convention on Human Rights, and the 1951 Refugee Convention and its’ additional 1967 protocol, to ensure the right to health, a right that is closely and inextricably linked to the rights to life, human dignity, non-discrimination and equality, is upheld. We remind governments of the commitments they made during the United Nations High-Level Political Meeting on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, in particular their commitment to ensure that all refugees and migrants will live in safety and dignity.

We consider it most important to call for:

Governments to:

• Provide immediate assistance to all migrants and refugees to ensure that every person is housed in dignified, safe and warm living conditions;

• Ensure full access to health and social services for migrants and refugees in need;

• Adhere to international human rights and humanitarian laws by ensuring that the rights of migrants and refugees are respected and that they are treated with dignity and without discrimination;

• Collaborate with other countries as well as international non-governmental organizations, UN agencies, and other relevant actors in order to create and implement a refugee-handling plan that is equitable and takes into account the capacity of countries to accept refugees;

• Create and promote safe, legal routes that people needing protection can use in order to apply for asylum without endangering their lives;

• Establish programs to enable a continuation of basic education in and outside of official camps;

• Prevent the risk of statelessness amongst child refugees by ensuring that they have identification documentation thus reducing the risk of trafficking and exploitation.

Health Sector (including Medical and Pharmaceutical Students) to:

• Take active roles in advocating for the rights of migrants and refugees in their country;

• Start and support projects, activities, and initiatives that encourage social cohesion between refugees and the general population, and promote the integration of refugees into the hosting community;

• Advocate for a sustainable expansion of accessible services in the health systems of hosting countries, guaranteeing dignifying and non-discriminatory care for migrants and refugees;

• Engage different stakeholders (e.g., governments, NGOs) to implement a plan of action to ensure the wellbeing of migrants and refugees;

• Promote research on the physical, psychosocial and public health aspects of migrants’ and refugees’ health;

• Advocate for migrant’s health education to be part of the medical curricula;

• Raise public awareness around the inequities in health as well as the prejudice faced by migrants and refugees.

References:

IFMSA’s policy statement on Asylum Seeker and Refugee’s Health

[1] “Migration: Thousands Trapped In Freezing Temperatures In Greece And The Balkans”. Médecins Sans

Frontières (MSF) International. N.p., 2017. Web. 9 Jan. 2017; available at:

http://www.msf.org/en/article/migration-thousands-trapped-freezing-temperatures-greece-and-balkans

[2] Eliza Mackintosh, CNN. “Conditions Worsen For Europe’s Refugees As Temperatures Plummet”. CNN. N.p.,

2017. Web. 13 Jan. 2017; available at: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/09/europe/refugees-suffer-europe-coldsnap/

[3] “Thousands Of Refugees At Risk Of Hypothermia And Frostbite Living In -20C In Serbia”. ITV News. N.p.,

2017. Web. 10 Jan. 2017; available at: http://www.itv.com/news/2017-01-10/thousands-of-refugees-at-risk-ofhypothermia-

and-frostbite-living-in-20c-in-serbia/

[4] Dearden, Lizzie. “Woman And Child Killed In Fire At Refugee Detention Camp”. The Independent. N.p., 2017.

Web. 25 Nov. 2016; available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/refugee-crisis-woman-childboy-killed-moria-camp-lesbos-centre-greek-island-cooking-gas-a7438171.html

[5] Pasha-Robinson, Lucy. “French Police ‘Stealing Blankets From Migrants’ Forced To Sleep Rough In Freezing

Conditions”. The Independent. N.p., 2017. Web. 8 Jan. 2017; available at:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/french-police-stealing-blankets-migrants-paris-msfa7516171.html

The International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) envisions a world in which medical students unite for global health and are equipped with the knowledge, skills and values to take on health leadership roles locally and globally. Founded in 1951, it is one of the world’s oldest and largest student-run organizations. It represents, connects and engages every day with an inspiring and engaging network of 1.3 million medical students from 130 national member organizations in 122 countries around the globe.

The International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF) was founded in 1949 by eight pharmacy student associations in London. The Federation now represents approximately 350,000 pharmacy students and recent graduates across 81 countries worldwide. IPSF is the leading international advocacy organization for pharmacy students promoting improved public health through provision of information, education, networking, and a range of publications and professional activities.

 

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Member States’ compliance with EU law in 2018: efforts are paying off, but improvements still needed

7 key challenges for the future of ASEAN – and how to solve them

EU migration crisis again accentuates lack of unity and solidarity among member states

Yemen war: UN chief urges good faith as ‘milestone’ talks get underway in Sweden

Colombia: Rights experts condemn killing of reintegrated former rebel fighter, call for respect of peace process

New research reveals the true extent of corruption in fisheries

All sides in Yemen conflict could be guilty of war crimes, UN experts find

End fossil fuel subsidies, and stop using taxpayers’ money to destroy the world: Guterres

Declaring commitment to ‘peace and stability’ for Libya, top UN envoy steps down as stress takes its toll

Is this really it for the gig economy? Read on

These 4 trends are shaping the future of your job

How fixing broken food systems can help us meet all the SDGs

‘Everyone needs to do more’ to help suffering Venezuelans, says UN Emergency Relief Coordinator

As urbanisation grows, cities unveil sustainable development solutions on World Day

Member States’ compliance with EU law in 2019: more work needed

Nearly two million Cameroonians face humanitarian emergency: UNICEF

Now’s the time to take up cycling – here are 6 reasons why

Why leaders need to upgrade their operating systems

Mergers: Commission approves Synthomer’s acquisition of Omnova, subject to conditions

Why business schools can’t “return to normal” after the COVID-19 pandemic

Court of Auditors: EU spending infested with errors well above the materiality threshold of 2%

EU officially launches its first naval mission against migrant smugglers

‘Reaffirm the sanctity’ of religious sites, says Guterres, launching new plan to ‘counter hate and violence’

Syria: Civilians caught in crossfire, UN refugee chief urges Jordan to open its border

Resettlement needs set to rise to 1.4 million people in 2019, UN refugee agency reports

How the future of computing can make or break the AI revolution

ZTE @ MWC14: ZTE excels in all areas at this year’s Mobile World Congress

Progress toward sustainable development is seriously off-track

Brexit: the Withdrawal Agreement passes the first European Parliament test

8 ways ASEAN consumer habits will change by 2030 – shaped by COVID-19, tech and more

GSMA Mobile 360 – Latin America at Mexico City: Intelligently Connecting to a Better Future, in association with The European Sting

Will we join hands for a tomorrow without antimicrobial resistance?

MEPs call on EU leaders to end MFF deadlock without giving in on rule of law

There’s a new global technology race. It needs better trade rules

How the inventor of the internet plans to make it safe and accessible for everyone

Saudi Arabia: UN experts push for prompt release of women human rights defenders

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Third review welcomes progress while identifying steps for improvement

A hot autumn after a cool summer for Europe

World Mental Health Day is a chance to listen to those with the condition – the biggest experts of all

Mobile technology saving lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technology solutions

Tobacco in Pakistan: is it worth to burn your money?

European Youth Forum celebrates 20 years of fighting for youth rights

Syrian civilians must be protected amid ISIL executions and airstrikes: Bachelet

“One Belt One Road”: Its relevance to the European Companies

The Arctic is having holes stabbed through it at an alarming rate

UN relief official in Yemen condemns ‘horrific’ attack on passenger buses

Mechanism to protect democracy in the EU needed more than ever, says the EP

Coronavirus: Pandemic alert should be trigger for countries to do more against COVID-19

A Sting Exclusive: “Seize the opportunity offered by Africa’s continental free trade area”, written by the Director General of UNIDO

Following week of bloodshed, ‘suffering of the Afghan people must end’: UN mission chief

One year on: EU-Canada trade agreement delivers positive results

What universities can learn about citizenship in the COVID-19 pandemic

Q&A on extraordinary remote participation procedure

EU approves disbursement of €500 million in macro-financial assistance to Ukraine

Security Council approves ‘historic’ political Haiti mission, ending UN peacekeeping role in the country

Why the way of loving closes doors of health?

Towards the new era of medicine

Coronavirus Dashboard: EU Cohesion Policy response to the coronavirus crisis

Climate crisis could see ‘collapse’ of some economies without diversification, warns UN trade chief

Brazilian healthcare and the Global Compact for safe orderly and regular migration

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s