From file: A doctor speaking to a patient | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/G.Wendt
From file: A doctor speaking to a patient | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/G.Wendt

More than 60 organizations and associations are calling for the abolition of the reporting requirement for people without residency status in Germany seeking healthcare.

Over 60 organizations and associations are calling on legislators to remove the statutory reporting requirement for the healthcare sector in relation to people without residency status in Germany.

It is not possible for these people to go to the doctor without fear in Germany, the petition states. The organizations involved include Doctors of the World, Amnesty International, Diakonie and Pro Asyl. They are criticizing the fact that the currently applicable regulation effectively deprives hundreds of thousands of people of the right to healthcare.

Fear of deportation

Section 87 of the German Residency Act requires the social welfare office to immediately report persons to the immigration authorities if they receive a request to cover the costs for medical services of these persons.

Due to the fear of deportation, this is preventing people living in German society from seeking medical treatment. This means that potential life-threatening diseases remain untreated, affected pregnant women can't go to get a check-up and children are denied basic medical services. During the pandemic this is a particular concern as it is also hindering the discovery of potential COVID-19 infections.

Speaking to the doctor's magazine Ärzteblatt, Heinz-Jochen Zenker, CEO of Doctors of the World stated "It is a scandal that volunteer doctors have to help people to obtain their right to medical treatment." He added that "healthcare must be separated from domestic and migration policy."

Healthcare as a basic human right

With the petition "GleichBeHandeln" (meaning "equal treatment"), the alliance calls for legislators to make the amendment of Section 87 of the Residence Act as soon as possible. All political parties were called upon to support these proposed changes.

The campaign is an expression of practical solidarity, said the director of the Jesuit Refugee Service, Father Claus Pfuff speaking to the German doctor's publication ÄrzteZeitung. "Only if every person is free from fear of their and can exercise their basic rights can, our society will be worth living in."

Also read: Germany: Sick without papers

 

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