05 April 2020 – Greece

In mid-March, Greece announced that its plans to transform the hotspots on Leros and Kos into closed reception centres would be accelerated and that all visits to hotspots would be suspended in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, national and international organisations subsequently issued urgent calls to reduce overcrowding in hotspots, including Médecins Sans Frontières […]

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Migrants and asylum seekers, arriving from Lesvos, are examined by medical personnel on 15 March 2020 (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/24/eu-urged-to-evacuate-asylum-seekers-from-cramped-greek-island-camps-coronavirus)

05 April 2020 – United Kingdom

Human rights organisations and legal bodies have repeatedly called on the UK Home office to release immigration detainees. While some 300 individuals were released from removal centres by the end of March, a legal filing seeking the release of all immigration detainees was blocked by the High Court. When the crisis first began to escalate […]

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Despite a confirmed case of Covid-19 within the facility, women continue to be placed in Yarl's Wood Removal Centre (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/coronavirus-yarls-wood-immigration-detention-removal-centre-home-office-a9417056.html)

04 April 2020 – Indonesia

Although immigration detention is no longer emphasized in Indonesia, reports suggest that refugees and asylum seekers in the country face a dire situation as it is impossible to keep any social distance as many share rooms in cramped apartments and those accommodated in IOM-operated sites live in severely overcrowded conditions. In addition, with no “rights […]

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Refugee Women Making Masks for Vulnerable Indonesians, 4 April 2020, (https://www.unhcr.org/id/en/12397-alongside-the-government-of-indonesia-partner-organizations-and-sister-un-agencies-unhcr-ensures-that-refugees-are-not-left-behind-in-covid-19-response.html)

04 April 2020 – Switzerland

Swiss authorities have temporarily closed some immigration detention facilities, and detainees who have contracted the virus have been placed in isolation in prisons. In the early stages of the virus’ spread within the country, three Covid-19 cases were detected within federal asylum centres (Chevrilles, Basel, and Bern). Transfers between such facilities were subsequently reduced, but […]

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Detainees Playing Football During Recreation in the Frambois Detention Centre in Geneva, (https://www.letemps.ch/suisse/un-licenciement-injuste-coute-tres-cher-letat-geneve)

03 April 2020 – Bosnia and Herzegovina

According to the UN, although the number of COVID-19 cases in Bosnia and Herzegovina is still considered manageable (under 500 as of 1 April) “the infection rate is rising fast and is expected to peak in the coming weeks. The authorities have taken measures to prevent the spread of the disease nationwide, such as curfews […]

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Ivan Romano,

03 April 2020 – Canada

By the end of March, the overall detainee population in Canada’s three dedicated immigration detention centres had declined significantly. However, like the United States, Canada also makes extensive use of its prison system to hold immigraiton detainees. The situation of those detainees was not clear as of this update. Globalnews.ca reported on 3 April that […]

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Graham Hughes,

03 April 2020 – Libya

On 21 March 2020, the Rights Group for Migration (RGM) issued a statement calling on authorities to protect migrants and asylum seekers in detention from the risk of infection. They called, among other measures, for the provision of sterilization and hygiene materials to detention centres as well as isolation rooms; the elimination of overcrowding; and […]

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Unverified image of facilities being cleaned at the Al Nasr Detention Centre in Zawiya, with assistance from the IOM, Twitter, 28 March 2020 (https://twitter.com/rgowans/status/1244309963666870272)

03 April 2020 – Republic of Korea (South Korea)

The Republic of Korea took aggressive action early on in the Covid-19 outbreak to limit the progress of the coronavirus, including adopting strict border control and immigration detention measures. On 1 April, the government adopted a rule that requires all overseas arrivals—including South Koreans—to quarantine at home or at government-designated facilities for two weeks. Reports […]

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Justin McCurry,

03 April 2020 – Cyprus

The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, announced on 23 March 2020 a series of emergency measures, including a “ban on unnecessary movement.” However no specific measures were announced at that time concerning the situation of migrants and asylum seekers, who make up an increasingly large proportion of the island nation’s population (with […]

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Refugees are held in Kokkinotrimithia Camp - a registration reception centre which has been turned into a de facto detention centre (https://knews.kathimerini.com.cy/en/news/ngos-raise-alarm-over-inhumane-conditions-at-overcrowded-migrant-detention-camp)

03 April 2020 – Algeria

With the Covid-19 crisis provoking a state of “panic” across Algeria, the country has announced a “plan d’urgence.” Authorities have continued their efforts to block unauthorised migration from sub-Saharan countries, including detaining “migrants clandestins” and arresting alleged traffickers. However, simultaneously, the Ministry of Justice announced that it was temporarily suspending court functions. In addition, all […]

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Bilall Bensalem,