01 April 2020 – Netherlands

The Council of Europe, in a 26 March statement, mentioned Netherlands as being one of a handful of countries in Europe to have released some immigration detainees because of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, other reports indicate that as of the end of March, people continued to be placed in immigration detention and that insufficient steps […]

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Temporary Emergency Shelter Barracks in Willem Lodewijk van Nassaukazerne, (https://www.gic.nl/nieuws/minister-stelt-kazerne-zoutkamp-beschikbaar-als-tijdelijke-noodonderdaklocatie-voor-vreemdelingen)

31 March 2020 – Bahrain

In mid-March King Al Khalifa of Bahrain ordered, via decree, the liberation of 901 prisoners so as to control the spread of Covid-19. Prison sentences for 585 other prisoners will be changed to rehabilitation and reformation programmes. Bahrain is notorious for imprisoning large numbers of foreign workers, who at one time reportedly made up some […]

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Prisoners Sitting in Overcrowded Jau Prison Hall in Bahrain, (https://www.google.com/search?q=jau+prison+bahrain&rlz=1C1CHBF_en-GBGB838GB838&sxsrf=ALeKk00N6CO1WAQocKWr1-dgv1Glza0cDw:1586352853762&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjWztjy-NjoAhVuQUEAHcfnA70Q_AUoAnoECBMQBA&biw=1920&bih=937#imgrc=gyA4jCNqiiwT6M)

31 March 2020 – Germany

On 16 March, Germany reintroduced border controls, stationing federal police at the borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark. The Ministry of Interior said that in coordination with the neighbouring countries and authorities in all German federal states with external borders, the border police are ordered to turn away all travellers without a valid […]

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German police check drivers entering the country from France, following the reintroduction of border controls (https://www.thelocal.com/20200315/germany-to-close-its-borders)

30 March 2020 – South Africa

On 20 March 2020, the Justice Minister, Ronald Lamola, advised that criminal prisons in South Africa would undergo deep cleaning in a bid to prevent coronavirus infections. In addition, visits to offenders are suspended for 30 days and testing measures are being rolled out. A local NGO, Sonke Gender Justice, has urged the government to […]

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Prisoners Inside an Overcrowded Cell in Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town, (https://edition.cnn.com/2016/02/25/africa/south-africa-jail-mandela/index.html)

30 March 2020 – Taiwan, Province of China

Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency (NIA) announced the start of a three-month amnesty programme from 1 April until 30 June 2020. This programme is for foreign nationals who have overstayed their visas, allowing them to pay smaller fines and avoid detention should they report to immigration authorities during the grace period. The maximum penalty will be […]

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Officials announce the launch of Taiwan's

29 March 2020 – Australia

Numerous civil society organisations have issued calls for the release of immigration detainees in Australia, which took on new urgency after a private security guard at an ad hoc detention centre in a hotel in Brisbane tested positive for Covid-19 in mid-March. On 23 March, asylum seekers in detention across Australia wrote an open letter […]

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28 March 2020 – Nepal

On 16 March 2020, the Nepalese government restricted the numbers of visitors that can access prisons. Advocacy Forum-Nepal released a statement on 28 March 2020 urging the government to take actions to sanitise and disinfect prisons, detention centres and Child Correction Homes; provide prisoners and detainees with personal protection equipment (face mask, hand sanitiser, soap […]

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Central Jail in Kathmandu, (https://english.khabarhub.com/2020/16/82343/)

28 March 2020 – New Zealand

The GDP has been unable to find any reports indicating that authorities have taken measures to assist migrants and asylum seekers, including those in detention. Visits to prisons have been suspended in New Zealand from 19 March 2020. Authorities had already taken some health and hygiene measures last year due to a measles epidemic which […]

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Mt Eden Prison in Auckland, (https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/279374/lack-of-maori-staff-at-mt-eden-prison)

27 March 2020 – Belgium

Belgium halved its immigration detention capacity (from 609 to 315 spaces) in the weeks after the outbreak of the pandemic. By 19 March, the total number of detainees in the country’s six detention centres had dropped to 304. However, because reception centres for asylum seekers are no longer accepting new arrivals and detainees are being […]

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Detainee Handcuffed Against a Wall in a Room with a Staff Member Covered in Protective Gear in a Detention Centre, (https://www.moustique.be/25665/la-detention-en-centres-fermes-maintenue)

27 March 2020 – Hungary

Among the initial cases of confirmed Covid-19 infections in Hungary were a group of Iranian students studying in Budapest. This spurred Hungarian authorities to capiltiaze on the pandemic to stoke xenophobia, blaming migrants and refugees for the spread of the virus. Prime Minister Viktor Orban said there was a “clear link” between illegal immigration and […]

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Hungarian Police Patrol a Transit Zone on the Country's Border with Serbia (https://balkaninsight.com/2020/03/19/pandemic-hit-hungary-harps-on-about-migrant-crisis/)