08 April 2020 – United States

Facing pressure from rights groups and civil society, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has released a small number of immigration detainees. However, as the United States has the largest Immigration detention system in the world, which can reach some 40,000 detainees on any given day, the challenges the country confronts are enormous. Those released to […]

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Protestors in Philadelphia call for officials to release people from prisons and immigration detention centres, Voice of America, 30 March 2020 (https://www.voanews.com/science-health/coronavirus-outbreak/now-us-judge-wont-release-immigrants-high-virus-risks)

08 April 2020 – Pakistan

There are reports indicating that Pakistani authorities have taken some steps to mitigate the impact of the virus on the country’s prison population, which includes non-citizen detainees imprisoned under the 1946 Foreigners Act. The government has suspended visits to penitentiaries and court hearings. On 16 March, the Sindh provincial government began screening inmates and prison […]

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A Volunteer Checks the Temperature of Passengers Arriving at a Railway Station in Peshawar, AP Photo, 17 March 2020, (https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/03/19/pakistan-prisoners-risk-covid-19)

08 April 2020 – Italy

The Italian government declared its ports “unsafe” due to coronavirus, and will not authorise the landing of migrant rescue boats until after the end of the emergency. […]

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The Guardian,

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 […]

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07 April 2020 – Lebanon

The GDP has been unable to find any reports indicating whether measures have been taken to safeguard migrants and asylum seekers in detention in Lebanon, in particular at the country’s main immigration detention centre in Beirut. Many migrants and refugees can also end up in prisons for extended periods of time. But there are growing […]

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Ramzi Haidar, Prisoners During Recreation at Roumieh Prison, AFP Photo, (https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/2183171/lebanon%E2%80%99s-prisoners-call-general-amnesty-prevent-catastrophe)

07 April 2020 – Mexico

With one of the largest immigration detention systems in the world, Mexico faces an enormous task in trying to protect the tens of thousands of people locked up in its “estaciones migratorias” from contracting Covid-19. Even as the country’s leadership downplayed the risks of the pandemic, some key actors in the country began expressing alarm […]

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Migrants Wait in Front of the Chiapas Immigration Detention Centre March 2020

06 April 2020 – France

In mid-March the “Observatoire de l’enfermement des étrangers” (OEE) issued a statement calling for the immediate release of immigration detainees as legally, the state can only hold them for the time necessary to effectuate their deportation. The observatory argued that this was now impossible due to flights being grounded and would run contrary to the […]

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Rennes-Saint Jacques-de-la-Lande Centre de Rétention Administrative (CRA), which has been gradually emptied since the start of the crisis (https://www.ouest-france.fr/sante/virus/coronavirus/coronavirus-le-centre-de-retention-administrative-de-rennes-est-ferme-6795399)

06 April 2020 – Jordan

Although the GDP has not been able to find reports of authorities taking steps to protect persons in immigration detention, various reports have highlighted that in Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps – which some observers have likened to immigration detention facilities (although the GDP does not classify them as such) – temperature screening has been […]

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UNHCR Jordan, Zaatari Camp Empty as Residents Have Been Instructed to Stay Inside, 31 March 2020, (http://jordantimes.com/news/local/zaatari-camp-quiets-under-curfew-refugees-staff-brace-%E2%80%98real-threat%E2%80%99-covid-19-outbreak)

06 April 2020 – Uganda

Despite the country’s open-door policy towards refugees and asylum seekers, on 25 March authorities announced measures to suspend the reception of new refugees and asylum seekers for thirty days. Transit and reception centres were ordered to close immediately, while flights in and out of the country have been suspended and borders sealed. Refugees who are […]

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Health workers screen arrivals for Covid-19 (https://www.afro.who.int/news/uganda-uses-recent-outbreak-experience-prepare-coronavirus)

06 April 2020 – Ukraine

While calls have been circulated urging authorities to take precautionary steps to protect prisoners, the GDP is not aware of such calls being made with regards to immigration detainees. On 24 March, 100 Ukrainian and European NGOs issued a statement urging Russian authorities to take necessary steps to protect prisoners confined in the Donbas and […]

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Prisoners in Ukraine are fearful that insufficient precautionary measures will result in their exposure to the virus, Kharkhiv Human Rights Protection Group (http://khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1585917571)