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11 April 2020 – Portugal

Several dozen civil society organisations as well as more than 100 individuals have issued an open letter calling for the immediate release of all immigration detainees. The letter, issued on 9 April, highlighted the risk of contamination of Covid-19 in immigration detention centres due to poor health care provision; hygiene conditions and overcrowding. Reports also indicate that the majority of centres do not have private rooms but rather dormitories, thus increasing the risk of contagion.

The letter also mentioned the legal issues that arise from the situation especially as the justification of detaining people in view of deportation is no longer tenable since most flights have been suspended.

The letter calls on the Portuguese government to, inter alia, release all persons detained in immigration detention centres and reassess the need for these centres.