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A Baby between Two Worlds- and without Rights

A Baby between Two Worlds- and without Rights

Following Physicians for Human Rights-Israel’s intervention, a month old baby received urgent medical care denied to him by the Israeli authorities

A.B., about one month old, was born with a heart defect and needed a complicated life-saving surgery, however he was unable to receive one, since the Israeli authorities refused to register him as a resident in the Interior Ministry, and this since his father is an Israeli resident and his mother a resident of the Occupied Territories. The result of the ministry’s decision: the child was denied rights at the National Insurance Institute (NII) and was unable to receive the needed medical care. Only following the intervention of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel the child received a commitment from Shiba Medical Center in Israel to be operated on, and was registered as a resident at the Interior Ministry.

A.’s father, an Israeli resident who lives in the north, turned to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel after he, and the staff at the French Hospital in Nazareth, where the baby was hospitalized while he waited to be accepted to another hospital for surgery, had tried all they could and failed. In a conversation with a staff member of the association the father explained that his child had a limited number of days to live if he was not operated on.

This phenomenon is systematic- the government ministries refuse to grant residency to the children of father’s who have residency if their spouses are women without civil status in Israel (in this case, the mother was a resident of the West Bank). Physicians for Human Rights-Israel handles dozens of similar cases, but this one was exceptional since the Interior Ministry’s decision was a death sentence for the child. Since the principle problem remains, it is likely that similar cases will occur in the future as well.

The child’s right to receive residency stems directly from the parent’s status when the child is born. However the state places obstacles: demands that the father undergo genetic paternity tests that cost thousands of NIS (shekels), and in the meanwhile refuses to grant even a temporary status to the children, who will eventually receive the residency in any event. The state’s actions violate international conventions that it is a signatory to, including the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which defines the state’s responsibility to care for the child’s right to life, to ensure, as much as possible, the child’s survival and development and his right to be registered, immediately after birth, and to receive citizenship.

A.’s story ended with the victory of some “good pedestrians”: the Shiba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer agreed to hospitalize and treat the baby without conditions and without payment, following a request from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel. Also, added pressure was placed after the association related the story to the Israeli and foreign media and the issue became public, which led to the recognition of the child as a resident in the Interior Ministry.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel reiterates its opposition to the Interior Ministry’s activities in regards to children of fathers who are residents of Israel and mothers who are residents of the Occupied Territories, and warns that unless the ministry changes its policy children’s right will continue to be violated.

© Scoop Media

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