Wednesday 26 September 2018
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2 months ago

Greece: Sick Children Blocked From Care

Expand Screenshot taken from video footage of an Afghan woman with her 15-year-old daughter who has multiple disabilities on the ground outside the Moria registration camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. October 5, 2015. © 2015 Human Rights Watch (Athens) – Bureaucratic delays and obstruction by Greek authorities have left some asylum-seeking children confined to the Aegean islands without access to necessary medical care. Greece enforces a policy, backed by the EU, to keep asylum seekers on the islands until their asylum claims are adjudicated. Authorities can allow people with urgent medical needs that cannot be treated on the islands to travel temporarily to the Greek mainland for specialized care, but several families said that asylum officials either failed to help or acted too slowly, causing dangerous, agonizing delays in access to urgently needed health care. “No child’s health should be left to deteriorate because of deliberate obstruction of access to health care,” said Bill Van Esveld, senior children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Greek authorities are prioritizing deterring asylum seekers from coming to Europe over their duty to make sure children get the medical care they need.” Human Rights Watch interviewed six families in June 2018. Two, whose legal and medical records Human Rights Watch reviewed with their consent, said that their seriously ill children had been referred for medical treatment not available on the islands but had been stuck there for months. The others said medical care for their children had been inadequate. The process of approving transfers to the mainland for medical treatment is extremely cumbersome. The Greek Center for Disease Control and Prevention assesses asylum seekers arriving on the islands from Turkey. If staff determine that they have urgent medical needs for which treatment is not ava

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