Responding to the Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 Survey, the UN Human Rights regional office in Panama (ROCA) reported on 1 June that Costa Rica has not established a moratorium on new immigration detention orders and that the country is not contemplating the measure. ROCA also explained that no immigration detainees have been released and that there are no “alternatives to detention” programmes employed in the country. ROCA reported that people are tested for Covid-19 in immigration detention centres.
Regarding expulsions, the UN office said that while these have been temporarily suspended, there is no specific measure prohibiting them in the country.
On 14 May, news reports indicated that four positive cases of Covid-19 had been detected on people returning from Spain, as well as nine others in an immigration detention centre in the country. From 5 May, Costa Rica closed its borders to non-citizens, with the exception of residents and cargo transport personnel. In total, 23 foreign cargo transports have been refused entry into the country.
On 5 May, Costa Rica placed in isolation one of its main immigration detention centres after 12 cases of Covid-19 were discovered within the facility. News reports indicated that the 12 confirmed cases had been contaminated by two persons detained for having entered the country irregularly that were carrying the disease. Authorities did not specify their nationality.
As regards the country’s prisons, no cases of Covid-19 have been reported on part of staff and prisoners.
- OHCHR (Byron Cardenas), Global Detention Project Covid-19 Survey, 5 June 2020.
- Prison Insider, “Covid-19: Infected Prisoners and Deaths Across the World,” 29 April 2020, https://www.prison-insider.com/en/articles/cartographie-du-coronavirus-en-prison
- EFE, “Costa Rica Detecta Covid-19 en Repatriados de España y en un Centro de Migrantes,” 14 May 2020, https://www.efe.com/efe/america/sociedad/costa-rica-detecta-covid-19-en-repatriados-de-espana-y-un-centro-migrantes/20000013-4247014
- Infobae, “Panamá Busca Llevar a Costa Rica Migrantes Irregulares Varados por la Covid-19,” 30 May 2020, https://www.infobae.com/america/agencias/2020/05/31/panama-busca-llevar-a-costa-rica-migrantes-irregulares-varados-por-la-covid-19/
- AFP, “Costa Rica Aisla Centro de Detención de Migrantes por Brote de Covid-19,” Informa-Tico, 5 May 2020, https://www.informa-tico.com/5-05-2020/costa-rica-aisla-centro-detencion-migrantes-brote-covid-19
- Handcuffed Migrant Being Escorted by Immigration Police, (AFP, “Costa Rica Aísla Centro de Detención de Migrantes por Brote de COVID-19,” 5 May 2020, https://www.informa-tico.com/5-05-2020/costa-rica-aisla-centro-detencion-migrantes-brote-covid-19)