MINELRES: ERRC: Access of Roma to Health Care Highlighted at Budapest Seminar

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Wed Feb 23 23:07:21 2005

Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>

European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC)/Hungarian Ministry of Youth, Family,
Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Event Examines Policies to
Address Roma Exclusion from Medical Care

Budapest, 18 February 2005. The ERRC and the Hungarian ministry
responsible for the implementation of Hungary's anti-discrimination law
and policy framework today held a joint seminar to discuss equality in
access to health care.

Roma in Hungary face barriers in access to health care because of
discrimination and related exclusionary forces. Romani women frequently
suffer the complex effects of double discrimination in accessing health
care, due to the impacts of gender and race.

In recent weeks, an Equal Treatment Commission established under
Hungary's December 2003 anti-discrimination act has been constituted.
Health is a priority area in the Decade of Roma Inclusion, which the
Hungarian Government is committed to implementing. Just this week, Prime
Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany highlighted the situation of Roma during his
annual address on key policy issues in Hungary.

Speaking at the ERRC/Ministry seminar, Minister for Youth, Family,
Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Dr. Kinga Goncz said, "We are
committed to ending the range of troubling issues hindering Roma in
Hungary from realising in full the right to the highest attainable
standards of health. In the coming period, the Ministry will address
this issue as a priority of its work."

The seminar heard presentations from Hungarian and international policy
experts in health care matters, as well as practitioners working on
cases of racial discrimination in the field of health care in Hungary
and elsewhere. Matters for discussion included existing models for
addressing extreme exclusion from care, as well as access to justice
issues particular to health care services. Conclusions of the seminar
are expected to input Ministry policy in the field of Roma and access to
health care, as well as ongoing ERRC research in this area.

Concluding the seminar, ERRC Acting Executive Director Claude Cahn noted
the need for government and civil society to take up the challenge of
working seriously on the difficult matter of racism and racial
discrimination in the medical profession, notwithstanding the fact that
many medical practitioners regard themselves as above the fray of
difficult social questions.


With the support of the Open Society Institute, the ERRC is currently
undertaking intensive research into access of Roma to health care in
Bulgaria, Hungary and Spain. Throughout the region, the ERRC is involved
in litigation in health care matters including:
* denial of emergency care
* racially segregated health care facilities
* requirements of informal and illegal supplementary payments for health
care services
* coercive sterilisation of Romani women

Further information:

*Roma Rights 3 and 4/2004 "Access to Health Care": 

* Recent ERRC litigation in access to health care matters: 

* ERRC Field Report on Roma and health care in Hungary: 

* Lawsuit in Hungarian coercive sterilisation case: 

The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the rights of Roma and provides legal
defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more information about the
European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the web at

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93

Phone: +36 1 4132200
Fax:   +36 1 4132201



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