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07 April 2020 – Iran

According to UNHCR, “There are close to one million refugees in Iran, mostly from Afghanistan and also Iraq. From the onset of the pandemic, the Government of Iran has made every effort to ensure that all refugees have access to the same health services as Iranians, so that they are fully included in the national COVID-19 response.” However, as of this update, the Global Detention Project has found no reports indicating that the government is taking specific measures to assist people who may be in prisons or detention centres for immigration or asylum-related reasons.

In mid-March, the government ordered the release of 85,000 prisoners detained in criminal prisons in efforts to combat the spread of Coronavirus. On 20 March, prisoners attempted to escape the Parsilon Prison of Khorramabad in western Iran in a coordinated plan with people involved inside and outside the facility. Reports indicate that individuals attacked the prison from the outside and killed two or three prison guards. Guards and security forces subsequently opened fire on about 250 fleeing prisoners, which left many of them dead. Following the riot, martial law was declared in Khorramabad and raids are being conducted to apprehend the fleeing prisoners.