Parsing human rights, promoting health equity: reflections on Colombia's response to Venezuelan migration

Stefano Angeleri, Thérèse Murphy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


Over the last 7 years, a multidimensional crisis in Venezuela has resulted in massive emigration. Over 7 million have fled the country, with more than 2.4 million seeking to settle in Colombia. Of these, as of 2021, more than 1 million were undocumented, but the situation has started to change with the implementation of an ambitious migrant regularisation scheme. Regularisation promises access to comprehensive healthcare, full educational opportunities and the formal labour market. Securing these social determinants of health is critical because social inequalities produce health inequalities—that is, systematic health differences that are preventable and thus unjust. Social medicine, social epidemiology and international human rights law agree on this, yet law-focused studies of health equity initiatives remain rare. Aiming to reverse this, we examine Colombia’s response to Venezuelan migration, including its recent migrant regularisation initiative, which was introduced in part to comply with the country’s obligations under international human rights law. The examination foregrounds what we are calling ‘legal literacy’, testing the hypothesis that advancing health equity involves asking more and better questions about international human rights law.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-204
Number of pages18
JournalMedical Law Review
Issue number2
Early online date10 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2023


  • Right to health
  • Temporary Protection Statute for Venezuelan Migrants
  • Health equity
  • Health inequalities
  • International human rights law
  • Irregular migrants


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