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/)

26 March 2020 – Saudi Arabia

On 26 March, the state-backed Human Rights Commission (HRC) announced that 250 foreign detainees – held on non-violent immigration and residency offences – had been released from detention facilities. A HRC spokesman stated that more releases were to be expected. Previously, on 18 March 2020, Saudi authorities decided to close tribunals for two weeks and […]

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Indian Migrant Workers Held in the Riyadh Immigration Detention Centre, 15 June 2015, (https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20150615-a-cry-for-help-from-inside-a-saudi-detention-centre/)

25 March 2020 – Ireland

Ireland does not have specialized immigraiotn detention centres, instead using prisons and jails to detain people for immigration reasons. In Irish prisons, the prison administration announced on 13 March 2020 restrictions regarding visits. Visits are only allowed for 15 minutes, once a week and per prisoner. Visitors under the age of 18 and those that […]

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Derick Hudson, Mountjoy Prison Fence and Wall in Dublin, Shutterstock, (https://www.thejournal.ie/prisons-ireland-coronavirus-5046229-Mar2020/)

23 March 2020 – United Arab Emirates

UAE authorities provide little information regarding where non-citizens are detained for immigration-related reasons. Some sources indicate that the country has operated at least one dedicated deportation facility, but detainees are also known to have been held in criminal prisons. Authorities announced on 23 March 2020 that all inbound, outbound, and transit flights would be suspended […]

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Inside an Emirati Prison, (https://thearabmirror.com/%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D9%8A%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%88-%D8%AA%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%8A%D9%82-%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D9%8A-%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%85%D8%A9-%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B9/)

23 March 2020 – Poland

On 23 March 2020, the Ministry of Justice announced plans to extend a programme under which some prisoners are allowed to serve their sentence at home to help curb the spread of coronavirus. The proposal could benefit up to 12,000 prisoners and they would be kept under electronic supervision. The GDP has been unable to […]

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A Polish police officer stands at the country's border with Germany, symptoms testing drivers entering the country (https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-poland-prisons/poland-to-let-more-prisoners-serve-sentences-at-home-amid-coronavirus-idUKKBN21A20C)

22 March 2020 – Qatar

Riots have broken out in Qatar’s prisons. In the central prison in Doha, prisoners attacked a guard and burnt several cells. It has also been reported that the administration is refusing to release prisoners even though Covid-19 is spreading within its penal institutions. Rioters are being placed in isolation, without water, food or cigarettes. Some […]

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Pete Pattisson, Dormitory of Migrant Workers Living in the Industrial Area Outside Doha, (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/mar/20/covid-19-lockdown-turns-qatars-largest-migrant-camp-into-virtual-prison)