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06 December 2021 – Georgia

Tbilsi Temporary Accommodation Centre (Georgia Ministry of Internal Affairs,
Tbilsi Temporary Accommodation Centre (Georgia Ministry of Internal Affairs,

Georgia operates a dedicated immigration detention centre in Tbilisi called the Temporary Accommodation Centre. The facility opened in 2014 following negotiations for a visa-free regime with the European Union. An “Action Plan” developed as part of these negotiations provided that Georgia must have “adequate infrastructure (including detention centres)… to ensure… effective expulsion of illegally staying and/or transiting third country nationals.” The EU has funded various detention-related activities in the country concerning the management of such detention centres and detention-related workshops given by EU member states.

The Global Detention Project has been unable to obtain details on COVID-19 related measures taken to safeguard people in immigration custody. Responding to the Global Detention’s COVID-19 survey in July 2020, the Georgia office of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) reported that no particular measures had been taken to prevent the spread of infection or ensure the appropriate care of persons released from detention (see 23 July 2020 Georgia update on this platform). According to the UNHCR, in 2020, there were 1,780 refugees and 1,282 asylum-seekers, as well as 288,538 internally displaced persons in the country.

Furthermore, the country launched a national vaccination campaign in March 2021. It is unclear whether refugees, undocumented migrants, asylum seekers, or stateless persons are included in the campaign. The EU is nonetheless supporting the country’s vaccination programme. In September 2021, the European Union and the WHO donated 300 medical refrigerators and a specialised vaccine-carrier vehicle to the Government of Georgia.

During its review for the third cycle of the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in April 2021, Georgia received several relevant recommendations, including: “put an end to overcrowding and poor conditions in detention centres (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) (para. 149.12)” and “ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (Honduras) (Senegal) (para. 148.4).”

As regards the country’s prisons, in March 2020, several measures were introduced to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in the facilities. Each facility was to be disinfected regularly, newly arrived prisoners were to be placed in isolation for 21 days, prison staff checked for symptoms daily, and information concerning the virus provided to prisoners. On 9 June 2020, the Council of Europe donated protective equipment to Georgia’s prison system, including 6,500 face masks, 2,500 face shields, 500 litres of hand sanitiser, 5,000 disposable shoe covers, and 3,000 medical disposable head covers. In November 2020, a study conducted by the University of Lausanne for the Council of Europe concluded that, so far, there had been no COVID-19 cases detected among prisoners or staff members in all of Georgia’s prisons.