Public Defender Establishes Discrimination on Grounds of Nationality during Enjoying State Health Program
On April 4, 2018, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia with a recommendation concerning establishment of direct discrimination on grounds of nationality.
According to the factual circumstances of the case, the applicant's spouse has a permanent residence permit in Georgia, but she could not enjoy the component of antenatal surveillance of the Maternal and Child State Health Program, or the caesarean delivery service provided by the State-funded Universal Healthcare program due to the fact that she was not a citizen of Georgia.
The Public Defender indicates in the recommendation that for the purpose of enjoying social/health benefits, citizens of Georgia and persons with permanent residence permits are substantially in similar situation, given that persons with residence permits equally pay the statutory taxes and contribute to the welfare of the society; accordingly, the state should not treat them like temporary visitors.
It should be noted that from January 1, 2018, the persons permanently residing in Georgia are regarded as beneficiaries of the Maternal and Child State Health Program approved by the Government’s Decree N592 of December 28, 2017. Consequently, a person, who was registered in the electronic module of surveillance of pregnant women and newborns before her 13th week of pregnancy, has the right to fully enjoy the antenatal surveillance component (4 visits).
The Public Defender welcomes any positive change aimed at providing equal environment for persons with permanent residence permits in Georgia, but it should be taken into consideration that people with permanent residence permits should be defined as beneficiaries of any social/healthcare programs like citizens of Georgia.
The Public Defender called on the Ministry to ensure access to social, economic and healthcare programs for persons with residence permits on an equal basis with citizens of Georgia and to observe the principle of equality during planning and developing state programs in the future.
The Public Defender addressed the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia with a recommendation to ensure access to social programs for persons with permanent residence permits on 5 October 2017 as well.