Access to healthcare is a universal human right: Statement of the VOICES Network on the sad news of Mulat’s death

For the attention of the Home Secretary,

As VOICES Network, we are very sorry to hear the news about Kelemua Mulat, an Ethiopian woman seeking sanctuary in the UK, on the Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/19/asylum-seeker-denied-cancer-treatment-nhs-home-office-hostile-environment

It is very concerning that once again the rules put forward by the Home Office can have such an extremely detrimental impact on an individual’s life.

In this case, it caused a crucial delay in treating a cancer patient and her subsequent death.

Mulat’s lawyers submitted fresh evidence, but the Home Office classified the evidence as a further submission, which might really seem like a small detail but it caused catastrophic consequences for our fellow migrant, who was simply trying to exercise her basic human right of seeking asylum and accessing healthcare.

It’s so unfortunate that the Home Office through their misuse of discretion aids loss of life and loss of hope to people. 

The right to health applies to everyone, no matter what their immigration status is. 

This means that each State in the world must have measures in place to ensure medical services and medical attention are given to everyone in the event of ill health, including asylum seekers.

Home Office was using the information in primary care for immigration enforcement purposes. This policy may have changed but there are many migrants who are frightened to access healthcare because of the hostile environment created.

We believe that the practice should be the exact opposite. Human rights apply to everyone. However, some groups including people seeking sanctuary may be in need of extra attention and support to make sure they can exercise their human rights to the same level as everyone else.

It is so sad to see how by the hands and decisions of the Home office people die. 

Lives are being lost due to immigration enforcement breaches of the basic human rights of asylum seekers.

We are aware that the Home Office is trying to improve their customer service experience.

On behalf of the asylum seeking and migrant community, as your ‘customers’, we are calling for an urgent action and review of the breaches in human rights and breaches caused by the lack of attention to human rights.

The asylum policy must enhance our access to healthcare, jobs, housing, training and execution of other human rights enshrined in the international law.

The Home Office is somewhat lacking in progress relating to human rights as has been demonstrated in the sad and unnecessary death of Kelemua Mulat. Mulat’s death is on Home Office’s hand, and Mulat’s family and friends, and wider migrant community, at least deserve an apology.

We ask for an urgent review of migrants’ human rights to be sanctioned at the earliest opportunity.

The VOICES Network

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