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24 January 2022 – Argentina

Riot Inside the Melchor Romero Prison in October 2020 Demanding the Reopening of Visits Suspended Due to COVID-19 (Mauricio Nievas,
Riot Inside the Melchor Romero Prison in October 2020 Demanding the Reopening of Visits Suspended Due to COVID-19 (Mauricio Nievas, "La Justicia le ordenó a Kicillof que vacune a los presos alojados en cárceles bonaerenses," Clarín, 12 July 2021,

In December 2020, Argentina launched a national COVID-19 vaccination campaign that includes all refugees and migrants irrespective of migration status. However, the country has struggled to acquire sufficient vaccines. According to UNHCR, there were 3,965 refugees, 9,176 asylum seekers, and 171,659 displaced Venezuelans in the country in 2020 and as of mid-2021, there were 4,007 refugees, 10,354 asylum seekers, and 167,853 displaced Venezuelans.

Similar to other South American countries, Argentina does not emphasize detention in its migration enforcement policies. There appears to be no information available concerning whether those in immigration custody have been given access to vaccinations, although calls to do so have been made by organisations such as the Red Universitaria Nacional de Educación en Contextos de Encierro (Red UNECE).

While the country began vaccinating prison staff in April 2021, it is unclear the extent to which prisoners have been vaccinated. In July 2021, an appeal court in La Plata ordered the government of Buenos Aires to launch a vaccination plan for all vulnerable persons in prisons, including those over the age of 60 and children. According to official statistics, some 5,000 prisoners would be eligible for vaccination under this plan.

In early 2021, Argentina repealed Decree 70/2017, a controversial law that introduced modifications to the country’s migration law (Law N°25.871), including provisions on expedited removal. The decree, which led to increases in the number of expulsions, had been widely criticized in and outside Argentina.

The repeal of the decree was welcomed by several international human rights monitoring bodies, including the Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW), the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and the Committee against Torture. They said that “the decree violated the principle of due process, the right to access to justice and the right to defence of migrants. It gave little or no consideration to family ties and the best interests of the child. There was also insufficient time for Argentina to examine the potential risk of torture facing the person being deported in the country to which they were being sent.”

While the country suspended deportations for a month in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic (see 16 June 2020 Argentina update on this platform), in the first seven months of 2020, a total of 2,935 persons were deported from Argentina. From 2014 to 2020, Chinese nationals have been subject to the greatest number of deportations, representing 27 percent (6,491) of the total in that period. They are followed by nationals from Paraguay (4,233), Bolivia (3,304), Peru (2,881), Colombia (1,824), Dominica (904), Chile (835), Uruguay (484), Senegal (484), and Brazil (298).