Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health

International Migrants Day 2014: the most vulnerable

A statement from the independent Expert Review Group on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health

“….migrants, through their courage, vitality and dreams help make our societies more prosperous, resilient and diverse.”

Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General

As we commemorate today International Migrants Day, there are more people living abroad, more Internally Displaced People (IDP’s), more irregular migrants, more refugees, and more asylum seekers than ever before in the history of mankind.

Many of these people live under degrading conditions, facing the threat of becoming victims of human trafficking, facing discrimination, racism, violence, they are prone to disease and have no, or very poor and limited, access to basic human rights like education and health care.

Women and children, always the most vulnerable among the vulnerable people, suffer most. They are the first to lose their human dignity, as marginalized populations, or living in asylum shelters or refugee camps. Often they are victims of sexual violence, and have no access to health care during pregnancy or childbirth.

For us, iERG, this blatant lack of fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed to these communities, is unacceptable.

Therefore, today, we call on the international community and each and every one to take seriously the commitments made to migrants and their families. Commitments like the ones laid down in the UN Secretary-General’s “ Eight-point agenda for action” adopted in October 2013, where it says that “….all migrants should have access to essential health services”.

Not living up to our commitments and promises affects our own credibility.

Not living up to commitments made to women and children in the most vulnerable of situations, regarding their right to basic health care, not only affects our credibility, but also our own dignity, as fellow human beings.

Joy Phumaphi (Co-Chair), Richard Horton (Co-Chair), Carmen Barroso, Zulfiqar Bhutta, Kathleen Ferrier, Sejal Hathi, Dean Jamison, Tarek Meguid, Miriam Were

The iERG was established in 2012 as the principal global review group to monitor progress on the recommendations from the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health. The iERG reports to the UN Secretary-General through the Director-General of WHO.