Access to health care for children of illegal immigrants in France

Country: France
Body: European Committee of Social Rights
Case: International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH)
Case number: Complaint No. 13/2003
Year of judgement: 2004
PDF of decision

The International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) claimed that France had violated the right to medical assistance (Article 13 of Revised European Social Charter) by ending the exemption given to illegal immigrants, with very low incomes, from expenses for medical and hospital treatment. The complainant alleged the rights of children to protection (Article 17) were contravened by a 2002 legislative reform that restricted access to medical services for children of illegal immigrants. The Committee found that France had violated the rights of children, but not adults. The Committee held that any “legislation or practice which denies entitlement to medical assistance to foreign nationals, within the territory of a State party, even if they are there illegally, is contrary to the Charter”, although not all the Charter rights may be extended to illegal migrants. The Committee found no violation of Article 13 (the right to medical assistance), since illegal immigrants could access some forms of medical assistance after three months of residence, while all foreign nationals could at any time obtain treatment for “emergencies and life threatening conditions”.

Social Protection and Human Rights