Restricted access to health care for asylum-seekers: applying a human rights lens to the argument of resource constraints

Granting health care to vulnerable groups of the population including asylum seekers is often regarded as a ‘benevolent handout (…) by state or third parties to ameliorate suffering of passive recipients of assistance’.1 As opposed to this, the notion of health as part of human rights obliges states—legally and morally—to protect, respect and fulfill their right to health. This includes the right to health care2 and the obligation of the signatory states with regard to the non-discriminatory realization of this right by refraining ‘from denying or limiting equal access for all persons, including prisoners or detainees, minorities, asylum seekers and illegal immigrants, to preventive, curative and palliative health services’ (General Comment No. 14, emphasis not in original).