As of 17 April 2020, there were 780 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 35 deaths related to the virus in Tunisia. No cases had yet been recorded among the prison population. While the President released 1,420 prisoners at the end of March, the GDP has been unable to find reports indicating that any measures to protect detainees in immigration detention centres from Covid-19 have been taken. On 6 April 2020, detainees at the el-Ouardia Reception and Orientation Centre began a hunger strike to protest their continuing detention and mistreatment as well as the absence of coronavirus infection prevention measures. Rejabu Kilamuna, a human rights activist and founder of Migrants Sans Frontières, was detained from 14 February 2020 at el-Ouarida. He said that “there are only two bathrooms between some 60+ detainees, several toilets do not work and [detainees] only get one piece of soap issued once a fortnight between three to four people.” Also, he explained that detainees are afraid of the virus spreading and that authorities have not established a protection plan from Covid-19.
- E. Volkmann, “Migrants in Detention Centre Go on Hunger Strike in Fear of Coronavirus,” Al-Monitor, 17 April 2020, https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/04/tunisia-migrants-detention-lack-protection-coronavirus.html
- Global Detention Project, “Immigration Detention in Tunisia: Shrouded in Secrecy,” March 2020, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/africa/tunisia