Beatrix Hoffman
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At the borders of the public
Immigrant and migrant publics and the right to health
in Publics and their health
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Immigrants have been deemed a ‘problem public’ because they are branded as ‘other’, as threats to public health and as potential burdens on health systems. In addition, immigrants and migrants usually lack the rights conferred on citizens, including the right to receive government-funded medical services. This chapter examines how international human rights treaties on the right to health have included or excluded people who move across national borders. The 1990 United Nations' International Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers codified only weak health rights for migrants and has only been ratified by a few countries. However, an international human rights framework has been and can be used to fight for better health conditions and access to care for migrants and immigrants. Since 1990, human rights advocates and immigrant rights activists in the US and Spain have invoked international agreements to argue for the inclusion of immigrants and migrants in definitions of ‘the public’.

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Publics and their health

Historical problems and perspectives

The introduction and Chapter 4 are available under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-NC-ND licence).


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