UN: Stop violating right to health of Palestinians, refugees and Israelis

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Achievement on the international scene: The UN Committee issues recommendations to Israel, adopting demands presented by PHRI.

Last April, the UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights issued a list of topics it wished to discuss with Israel. Following this request, Physicians for Human Rights Israel and Assaf – Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel, submitted a shadow report to the committee.

The committee has recently issued its recommendations to Israel, in which it stresses Israel must repeal the Deposit Law, apply the National Insurance Law to asylum seekers and increase health services available to them, preferably as part of an insurance arrangement.

The committee also addressed the need to allow patients from the Gaza Strip to travel for medical treatment in Israel or the West Bank, provide parents with permits to accompany children traveling for medical treatment, give medical crews access to the Gaza Strip and allow medical equipment into Gaza. The committee also highlighted the issues affecting access to medical care in Israel’s periphery, urging Israel to ensure equal access to medical care for all residents.

We are well aware that this does not mean our work is done, and that the road to the desired policy change is long and fraught with hurdles. However, the publication of these recommendations is a significant boost for continued advocacy work vis-à-vis medical institutions in Israel and policymakers in the Knesset and the government, once one is established.