14 April 2020 – United Arab Emirates

Thousands of Ethiopian workers – including large numbers of domestic workers – were deported from the UAE (as well as Saudi Arabia) over the weekend (10-12 April). Deported on cargo planes, some were reported to be displaying symptoms of Covid-19, although none had been tested for the virus. According to the UAE government, they were […]

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14 April 2020 – Turkey

The Turkish Parliament passed a law to allow tens of thousands of prisoners to be released to prevent the spread in overcrowded prisons. Those jailed on “terrorism” charges following the 2016 coup attempt will not be released, however. According to the law, persons can be temporarily released under judicial control until the end of May, […]

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13 April 2020 – Malta

As the country ramped up its response to the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, the country’s Economy Minister announced that all foreign workers laid off during the pandemic would have to be deported from the country. Although he later apologised for the comments, explaining that “choice of words was unfortunate,” he has continued to face significant […]

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13 April 2020 – France

Almost 50 detainees at Mesnil-Amelot took over a courtyard at the facility to protest poor sanitary conditions and to demand their release. On 12 April, police intervened to end their protest. According to detainees, violence and tear gas were used to disperse them – but the police deny this. The facility is the largest immigration […]

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Detainees inside the Mesnil-Amelot Detention Centre, (Christophe Archambault, AFP, May 2019, Libération,

12 April 2020 – Israel

Israel has implemented several measures impacting migrants and asylum seekers as well as prisoners. While one NGO, Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, has reported that they were been able to get some people released from immigration detention since the crisis began, the GDP has found no additional reports detailing what, if any, measures are being […]

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Volunteers with the African Refugee Development Center prepare to deliver food packages to African asylum seekers in south Tel Aviv, April 3, 2020. (ARDC / Times of Israel https://www.timesofisrael.com/for-african-migrants-in-israel-covid-19-means-health-jobs-homes-all-at-risk/)

12 April 2020 – United Kingdom

As news emerged of a second confirmed case of Covid-19 within a UK Removal Centre, Alison Thewliss – chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Immigration Detention – urged the UK government to release immigration detainees. In a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, Thewliss wrote, “The confirmation of a new coronavirus case at Brook […]

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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 […]

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11 April 2020 – Belgium

Authorities announced that they had expanded access to the labour market for asylum applicants (if they have already submitted their application). Authorities hope that they can help make up for the lack of workforce – particularly seasonal workers – in the country. From 20 March 2020, the Brussels local government will be hosting 100 homeless […]

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Migrants Left Homeless Sitting on a Bench in a Park in Brussels, (Olivier Polet, 20 March 2020, Le Soir,

10 April 2020 – India

In the Indian state of Assam, more than 800 persons are being held indefinitely in six detention centres within prisons. Defined by Indian authorities as “foreigners,” these detainees – many of whom are Indian citizens who have been declared “illegal immigrants” by the Foreigners Tribunal on account of poor documentation or poor legal assistance and […]

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Goalpara Detention Centre is one of Assam's six detention centres, and currently confines nearly 370 people declared as

10 April 2020 – Taiwan, Province of China

The government has taken extraordinary measures to contain and combat the COVID-19 pandemic, having started testing people for the virus in January when the first case was reported. As of 7 April, there were 376 cases and five deaths (as the UN does not recognize it as a sovereign state, the WHO does not publish […]

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Annabelle Timsit,