Swedish County Councils Defy Government Asylum Law

In defiance of government regulations Sweden’s county councils are extending health care to asylum seekers on the run.

By law, asylum seekers who have gone into hiding are entitled to no more than emergency care; even care for women giving birth or cancer patients is excluded.

But health care workers say that it would go against their professional ethics to refuse to treat people. They also point to international agreements, such as the Lisbon Treaty that calls on doctors to break laws that conflict with medical ethics.

In a study by Swedish radio news, 9 out of the 21 Swedish counties had decided to extend medical treatment to the 10,000-40,000 asylum seekers in Sweden who have gone underground, or never had contact with the authorities.

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