01 September 2020
As of 2019, Bhutan reportedly had no immigration detention centres and few cases of people being placed in detention for immigration-related reasons. On 23 March, it was made mandatory for all persons travelling into Bhutan to undergo a period of quarantine to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. There have been reports of people being sent to prison for “clandestine entry and false declaration of travel history” in order to evade mandatory quarantine. As of 1 September 2020, there had been 225 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country.
- Global Detention Project, “Bhutan Immigration Detention Data Profile,” https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/asia-pacific/bhutan
- Channel News Asia, “Bhutan to Gradually Lift COVID-19 Lockdown,” Channel News Asia, 1 September 2020, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/bhutan-to-gradually-lift-covid-19-lockdown-13073040
- S. Ongmo and T. Parikh, “What Explains Bhutan’s Success Battling COVID-19?” The Diplomat, 8 May 2020, https://thediplomat.com/2020/05/what-explains-bhutans-success-battling-covid-19/
- R. Wangchuk, “From Quarantine to Prison,” Kuensel Online, 24 July 2020, https://kuenselonline.com/from-quarantine-to-prison/
Last updated: February 2020
"31. The Working Group understands that there are no immigration detention facilities in the country and that the current practice is to seek the assistance of the police to hold those who have been found to be in breach of the Immigration Act, 2007. The lack of immigration detention facilities appears to have contributed to relatively few cases of immigration detention and, according to information received, such detention would generally not last longer than a day.
"32. The Working Group views the current practice as positive and recalls that deprivation of liberty must be a measure of last resort. It welcomes the restrained approach of the authorities towards the opening of new detention facilities and invites them to consider carefully any initiatives that would lead to opening of new types of places of deprivation of liberty."
--Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Report on Visit to Bhutan 14-24 January 2019.