Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 14
1. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
In Article 12 of The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, The States Parties, among them Sweden, recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
The Rights of the Patient (World Medical Association)
1.Right to medical care of good quality
a) Every person is entitled without discrimination to appropriate medical care. b) Every patient has the right to be cared for by a physician whom he/she knows to be free to make clinical and ethical judgements without any outside interference.
c) The patient shall always be treated in accordance with his/her best interests. The treatment applied shall be in accordance with generally approved medical principles.
Whenever legislation, government action or any other administration or institution denies patients these rights, physicians should pursue appropriate means to assure or to restore them.
The Swedish Health and Medical Services Act (1982:763) 2§ Health and medical services are aimed at assuring the whole population of good health and of care on equal terms.
Care shall be provided with respect for the equal dignity of all human beings and for the dignity of the individual. Priority for health and medical care shall be given to the person whose need of care is greatest.
(1997:142) 4§ If any person present within a county council area without being a resident of the same needs health and medical services immediately, the county council shall offer such services. (1992:567)
UN's sharp criticism of Sweden
UN's Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Paul Hunt, writes in his report from 2006 that he is concerned that Swedish law and practice regarding the healthcare accessible to undocumented migrants is not consistent with international human rights law. According to Paul Hunt;"Asylum-seekers and undocumented people are among the most vulnerable in Sweden. They are precisely the sort of disadvantaged group that international human rights law is designed to protect".
Right to Health Care - Initiative
The Initiative is a common standpoint on asylum-seekers and undocumented persons right to health care. So far 35 organisations and NGO's are behind the Initiative. The discrimination of undocumented persons and asylum seekers is contrary to the fundamental human rights of equality and non-discrimination as well as the basic ethical principles of health care professionals.
Why do people flee?
UNHCR estimate that there are 51 million internally displaced persons and refugees in the world today. People who flee their own country have a reason to do so. War, political and/or religious diversity, belonging to an ethnical minority population, torture, sexual abuse and poverty are some of the reasons why people have to flee from their homes. Only a few of these refugees are in Europe.
How is life for an undocumented person?
Many asylum-seekers are being denied a residence permit. Some of these people are so afraid of what will happen to them if they return to their country that they choose to go into hiding. But no person is living as undocumented in Sweden by free will. These people live their lives in constant fear of being found and deported. Their physical and psychological condition will deteriorate as a result of living in fear. Exactly how many undocumented migrants there are in Sweden is hard to estimate. According to The Swedish National Police Board had about 8000 people in June 2008 been denied a residence permit and were reported as missing. How many people who never seek asylum and live in Sweden as undocumented nobody knows.
Rosengrenska is a non-profit, independent network consisting of medical staff that helps undocumented migrants. Individuals are assisted through our telephone hotline where they can get in contact with nursing staff within or outside of the normal health care system. Several times a year we send out invitations to our lectures. We collaborate with other non-profit organisations and since 2008 we cooperate with the Red Cross in Gothenburg.
Rosengrenska started in 1998 with 3 goals:
Abolish ourselves - All human beings, even undocumented migrants, should have the right to the health care they need.
Spread information about the refugees' situation Help promote education regarding medical care for refugees, network meetings within the health care sector etc.
Supply help for undocumented migrants - In situations where they don't have access to or dare to contact the normal health care system.
How can you support Rosengrenska?
Sign up to our e-mail list for more information and invitations to meetings and lectures.
Give medicines and/or money to our foundation.
Be an active member in our network.
Telephone Hotline: 0704-066670
Postal giro account: 46 21 54-6 (Rosengrenska Stiftelsen)
Right to Health Care-Initiative: http://www.vardforpapperslosa.se/english.asp
UN:s Special Rapporteur; Paul Hunts report:
Paul Hunt Mission to Sweden (pdf)