By the end of January 2014, the European Committee of Social Rights of the Council of Europe published its country conclusions. The function of the Committee is to rule on the conformity of the situation in States with the European Social Charter. This specific report concerned the articles belonging to the thematic group “Health, social security and social protection”.
In its report on Spain, the Committee warned that the exclusion of adult undocumented migrants from healthcare (the Royal Legislative Decree 16/2012) is contrary to Article 11 of the Charter. This article states that “everyone has the right to benefit from any measures enabling him to enjoy the highest possible standard of health attainable”.
“The Committee has already held that the States Parties to the Charter “have guaranteed to foreigners no covered by the Charter rights identical to or inseparable from those of the Charter by ratifying human rights treaties – in particular the European Convention on Human Rights […]”.
The Committee has held here that the States Parties to the Charter have positive obligations in terms of access to health care for migrants, “whatever their residence status” (Médecins du Monde – International v. France, Complaint No. 67/2011, decision on the merits of 11 September 2012, §144).
With specific regard to Article 11, the Committee has pointed out that “paragraph 1 requires States Parties to take appropriate measures to remove the causes of ill-health and that, as interpreted by the Committee, this means, inter alia, that States must ensure that all individuals have the right of access to health care and that the health system must be accessible to the entire population”, insofar as “health care is a prerequisite for the preservation of human dignity and that human dignity is the fundamental value and indeed the core of positive European human rights law – whether under the European Social Charter or the European Convention on Human Rights […]
The economic crisis should not have as a consequence the reduction of the protection of the rights recognised by the Charter. Hence, the governments are bound to take all necessary steps to ensure that the rights of the Charter are effectively guaranteed at a period of time when beneficiaries need the protection most. […]”
See the Spanish country conclusions by the ECSR.
See the statement by MdM Spain.