Jean Monnet Chair Human Rights and the European Social Policies
The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.(art.1a/ Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union)


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Asylum seeking children in the European Union and their right to health care

Authors: Karin Zwaan

Keywords: asylum, health care, convention on the rights of the child, unaccompanied minors, EU Charter of Fundamental Rights


The necessity to recognize a right to health care for all migrants takes on particular importance for children. This is why in Article 24 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, it is recognized that: ‘the right of the child of the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health’. The exercise of this right is especially important for children who are especially vulnerable and therefore more subject to illnesses, like for example children seeking asylum. In general in practice a distinction is made between those children whose status is consolidated (taken into care, obtaining a right to residence) and those children whose status is not consolidated (e.g. during the asylum procedure). For the first category, access to care is relatively easy and undisputed, for the second category, in some states access to healthcare only encompasses emergency, urgent medical care. When taking into account that sometimes asylum procedures may take several years, this could mean that during that period children are only entitled to urgent care. To live up to the obligations under the Convention of the Rights of the Child, and also to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the EU needs to put into place a framework of common standards designated to the specific needs and position of asylum seeking children.


Doina Balahur

Prof. univ. dr.

Professor, PhD, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Centre for Social Management and Community Development
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"Alexandru Ioan Cuza" University of Iasi

Research Centre for Social Management and Community Development (CSMCD)


Blvd. Carol nr. 11, Iasi 700506, ROMANIA


Grant 2009-3231