Georgia

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

0

Detained children

2017

4,000,000

Population

2020

Overview

(October 2021) Georgia operates a dedicated immigration detention centre in Tbilisi called the Temporary Accommodation Centre. The facility opened in 2014 after the country began negotiating a visa-free regime with the European Union. An "Action Plan" developed as part of these negotiations provided that Georgia must have "adequate infrastructure (including detention centres) ... to ensure ... effective expulsion of illegally staying and/or transiting third country nationals." Since the opening of the centre, the country has received EU financing for various detention-related activities, including training sessions and workshops with detention officials from various European member states.

Types of facilities used for migration-related detention
Administrative Ad Hoc Criminal Unknown

06 December 2021

Tbilsi Temporary Accommodation Centre (Georgia Ministry of Internal Affairs, https://police.ge/en/ministry/structure-and-offices/migratsia)
Tbilsi Temporary Accommodation Centre (Georgia Ministry of Internal Affairs, https://police.ge/en/ministry/structure-and-offices/migratsia)

Georgia operates a dedicated immigration detention centre in Tbilisi called the Temporary Accommodation Centre. The facility opened in 2014 following negotiations for a visa-free regime with the European Union. An “Action Plan” developed as part of these negotiations provided that Georgia must have “adequate infrastructure (including detention centres)... to ensure… effective expulsion of illegally staying and/or transiting third country nationals.” The EU has funded various detention-related activities in the country concerning the management of such detention centres and detention-related workshops given by EU member states.

The Global Detention Project has been unable to obtain details on COVID-19 related measures taken to safeguard people in immigration custody. Responding to the Global Detention’s COVID-19 survey in July 2020, the Georgia office of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) reported that no particular measures had been taken to prevent the spread of infection or ensure the appropriate care of persons released from detention (see 23 July 2020 Georgia update on this platform). According to the UNHCR, in 2020, there were 1,780 refugees and 1,282 asylum-seekers, as well as 288,538 internally displaced persons in the country.

Furthermore, the country launched a national vaccination campaign in March 2021. It is unclear whether refugees, undocumented migrants, asylum seekers, or stateless persons are included in the campaign. The EU is nonetheless supporting the country’s vaccination programme. In September 2021, the European Union and the WHO donated 300 medical refrigerators and a specialised vaccine-carrier vehicle to the Government of Georgia.

During its review for the third cycle of the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in April 2021, Georgia received several relevant recommendations, including: “put an end to overcrowding and poor conditions in detention centres (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) (para. 149.12)” and “ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (Honduras) (Senegal) (para. 148.4).”

As regards the country’s prisons, in March 2020, several measures were introduced to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in the facilities. Each facility was to be disinfected regularly, newly arrived prisoners were to be placed in isolation for 21 days, prison staff checked for symptoms daily, and information concerning the virus provided to prisoners. On 9 June 2020, the Council of Europe donated protective equipment to Georgia’s prison system, including 6,500 face masks, 2,500 face shields, 500 litres of hand sanitiser, 5,000 disposable shoe covers, and 3,000 medical disposable head covers. In November 2020, a study conducted by the University of Lausanne for the Council of Europe concluded that, so far, there had been no COVID-19 cases detected among prisoners or staff members in all of Georgia’s prisons.


23 July 2020

Georgian Servicemen Inspects Cars and People at an Entrance to the Town of Marneuli, some 40 km from the capital of Tbilisi, on 23 March, (Zurab Kurtsikidze, EFE,
Georgian Servicemen Inspects Cars and People at an Entrance to the Town of Marneuli, some 40 km from the capital of Tbilisi, on 23 March, (Zurab Kurtsikidze, EFE, "Georgia’s furious fight against COVID-19," Euractiv, 24 March 2020, https://www.euractiv.com/section/eastern-europe/news/georgias-furious-fight-against-covid-19/)

Responding to the Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 survey, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Georgia office reported that the country applied a full moratorium on new immigration detention orders during the state of emergency that lasted two months (21 March to 22 May) due to Covid-19. IOM Georgia stated that they were aware of an Indian national being released from immigration detention as there was no prospect of returning him any time soon due to the restrictions on international mobility. imposed by the Georgian government. However, no particular measures are being taken to prevent the spread of infection and ensure the appropriate care of persons released from detention.

Additionally, IOM Georgia indicated that no migrants accommodated in the Temporary Accommodation Centre of the Migration Department had been tested for Covid-19 and that no regular testing was ongoing. Upon admission, migrants usually undergo a general medical examination, temperature check, and are asked if they suffer from any of Covid-19 common symptoms. During their stay, the Centre’s medical staff observe their overall health conditions. If a migrant has or develops any Covid-19 symptoms after the initial medical check by a doctor, they will be transported to a relevant medical facility, tested, and, if needed, will receive treatment outside the detention centre.

Forced returns have been temporarily suspended according to IOM Georgia. The organisation also reported that from the start of the pandemic, the government of Georgia imposed restrictions on all border crossings and that regular passenger movement remains suspended. Thermal screening upon arrival and mandatory 14 day quarantine or self-isolation procedures were put in place for all those entering Georgia. In order for Georgian nationals stranded abroad to return to Georgia during the crisis, the government organised evacuation charter flights from various countries.

The government has announced that it will open the country’s borders with only 5 countries (Germany, France, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) and that regular flights to and from those countries will be available from August onwards. In addition, the government decreed that any non-citizen who was legally residing in Georgia on 14 March and who since has not been able, for objective reasons, to leave the country, will be considered a legal resident until flight restrictions are lifted.


Last updated: October 2021

Georgia operates a dedicated immigration detention centre in Tbilisi called the Temporary Accommodation Centre. The facility opened in 2014 after the country began negotiating a visa-free regime with the European Union. An "Action Plan" developed as part of these negotiations provided that Georgia must have "adequate infrastructure (including detention centres) ... to ensure ... effective expulsion of illegally staying and/or transiting third country nationals." Since the opening of the centre, the country has received EU financing for various detention-related activities, including training sessions and workshops with detention officials from various European member states. (See: Transnational Institute, "OUTSOURCING OPPRESSION: How Europe externalises migrant detention beyond its shores," 2021, https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/outsourcingoppression-report-tni.pdf)

EXCERPT FROM:

European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), “Report to the Georgian Government on the visit to Georgia carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 10 to 21 September 2018,” Council of Europe, 10 May 2019, pp. 22-25. Available at: https://rm.coe.int/1680945eca

Establishments for foreign nationals deprived of their liberty under aliens legislation 

1.     Preliminary remarks 

32. The CPT’s delegation carried out a first-time visit to Georgia’s only immigration detention facility (opened in 2014), the Temporary Accommodation Centre of the Migration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (hereafter, TAC or the Centre). Located in Varketili district of Tbilisi, the Centre had the capacity of 96 places (in three separate units – for adult men, adult women, and families with children31) and was accommodating, at the time of the visit, 18 detained foreign nationals including 16 adult men and two adult women (there were no children). None of them was an asylum seeker. The longest staying detainee had been at the Centre since 3 months, the average stay was said to be 1.5 to 2 months. 

33. According to the 2014 Law on the Legal Status of Aliens and Stateless Persons (the Aliens Act), a foreign national may be detained by the police and held at a TDI for a maximum of 48 hours. Prolongation of detention beyond this period requires a court decision and the foreign national must be immediately transferred to the TAC. The placement decision is for 3 months maximum, and may be prolonged by a court decision for the maximum of another 6 months. If a foreign national has not been deported within 9 months, he/she must be released from the TAC. It is noteworthy that, save in exceptional circumstances where it is justified by the need to protect, for a very short period of time, the person’s interests, detention of unaccompanied minors is prohibited (they are instead taken care of by child protection authorities and placed in foster families). 

2.     Ill-treatment

34. The delegation did not receive any allegations of ill-treatment by staff from the TAC, and most of the interviewed foreign nationals spoke positively about the staff (including custodial officers). Further, it appeared that conflicts between detained foreign nationals were rare and never of any serious nature. The overall atmosphere at the Centre was relaxed. 

3.     Conditions of detention 

35. Material conditions at the TAC were generally very good. The accommodation was spacious (rooms for three to eight persons, measuring from some 50 to approximately 80 m2), well furnished, bright and had an efficient cooling/heating system and ventilation. Throughout the day, foreign nationals could move freely within their living units and had unlimited access to communal toilets, washrooms, showers and laundries with new washing machines. Hygiene items were provided free of charge and warm food served three times a day. 

That said, some complaints were heard about the quality of the food (absence of fresh vegetables and fruit) and the impossibility to buy fresh food in the shop.36 The Georgian authorities are invited to verify the quality of the food offered to foreign nationals detained at the TAC and to increase the range of food items available for sale. Further, offering the detainees the possibility to cook their meals by themselves should be seriously considered. 

36. As regards activities, each unit had a recreation area with sofas, chairs, tables, a TV set (with many foreign channels) and some books and board games. Further, during the day detainees had access to a large outdoor yard equipped for foot-, volley- and basketball (for at least 3 hours per day), and could play table tennis and use computers with access to the Internet. 

Overall, the offer of activities could thus be considered adequate. However, the CPT invites the Georgian authorities to make more efforts to offer some organised activities (e.g. lectures, handicraft, art and cooking classes) to foreign nationals accommodated at the Centre for extended periods (up to several months). 

4.     Health care 

37. The TAC employed two full-time doctors (one of whom was always present from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and a full-time psychologist. In case of emergency, one of the doctors could come to the Centre at night or an ambulance was called. Although this arrangement seemed to function well in practice, and none of the detained foreign nationals complained of any delays in access to a doctor,37 the Committee is of the view that it would be advisable to recruit nursing staff and organise a 24/7 health-care coverage at the TAC. 

38. All newly-arrived foreign nationals were medically screened by the doctors, and injuries observed on the detainees were recorded and reported to the relevant authorities. That said, the recording was rather superficial and succinct. The CPT recommends that the same screening, recording and reporting procedures be applied at the TAC as those already in place at the TDIs with on-site health-care staff,38 and that the doctors (and in due course, the nurse) working at the Centre be provided with appropriate training in this respect. 

5.     Safeguards

39. Upon their arrival at the Centre, foreign nationals were given information (both orally and in writing, in a range of languages39) about their rights, including on the right of access to a lawyer (and about the house rules). Ex officio legal assistance was available, and indeed the delegation witnessed a visit by an ex officio lawyer to one of the detainees. Furthermore, interpretation services were provided if necessary (the Ministry of Internal Affairs had signed contracts with several interpreters), although only in the context of the ongoing legal procedure (not for daily life situations such as conversations with custodial and health-care staff); the Georgian authorities are invited to explore ways to extend the access to interpretation services at the TAC. 

However, some of the detainees appeared ill-informed of the precise scope and content of their right of access to ex officio legal assistance (they thought it would only be available if they appealed the placement decision). The Committee invites the Georgian authorities to verify and make sure that foreign nationals detained at the TAC are duly and fully informed of the aforementioned right. 

40. As for contact with the outside world, detained foreign nationals could make a free telephone call to their relatives upon arrival and could then use the office phone three times per week. Calls to lawyers and NGOs were not subjected to any limitations. Further, as already mentioned (see paragraph 36 above), detainees had access to computers and could communicate with their families and friends using messenger services and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). Visits were also allowed (3 times a week) and took place in suitable open-type premises. 

41. Detained foreign nationals were informed of available avenues of complaint (both internal and external) and could make use of confidential complaints boxes located in the corridors beyond the CCTV coverage.40 Further, the Centre received frequent visits by a range of bodies including the Public Defender/NPM and the relevant international41 and non-governmental organisations. 

6.     Other issues 

42. The TAC employed specially trained custodial staff42 (there were at least five men and two women on each of the three shifts), as well as a social worker and (as already mentioned in paragraph 37 above) a psychologist. Regarding language skills, most of the staff spoke Russian and some could communicate in English or French; however, communication was a problematic issue, especially for the detainees coming from Asian and Arabic-speaking countries. The CPT invites the Georgian authorities to make further efforts to improve language skills of the staff working at the Centre. 

43. As for discipline, the TAC possessed a punishment room43 which could be used for placements of up to 10 days (only for adult detainees) by decision of the Director of the Migration Department.44 The disciplinary procedure included an obligatory hearing (with interpretation if needed) and the provision of a written reasoned decision (with information on the right to appeal), a copy of which was to be given to the detainee. 

However, there was no specific journal to record placements in the punishment room,45 and persons placed in it would have no access to outdoor exercise and to reading matter. The Committee recommends that steps be taken to remedy these deficiencies. The CPT would also like to be informed whether the disciplinary procedure includes the right for the detained person to call witnesses on their own behalf and to cross-examine evidence given against them. 

Recruited from the police and deployed after having received specialised training on working with foreign nationals (e.g. inter-cultural communication and conflict resolution), including courses dispensed by Frontex. The room was clean, well lit and ventilated, measured some 10 m2 and was equipped with an ordinary bed (with a mattress, a pillow and a blanket) and a partially screened sanitary annexe comprising a toilet and a washbasin. 

The room had never been used so far.


Copies of disciplinary decisions were put in detainees’ individual files and reports on each placement would be sent electronically to the Migration Department. 

 

ENFORCEMENT DATA

Total Migration Detainees: Flow + Stock (year)
Not Available
2019
Total Number of Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
0
2017
Criminal Prison Population (Year)
9,451
2017
9,888
2014
Percentage of Foreign Prisoners (Year)
3.9
2017
1.9
2014
Prison Population Rate (per 100,000 of National Population)
254
2017
219
2014

POPULATION DATA

Population (Year)
4,000,000
2020
4,000,000
2015
International Migrants (Year)
79,035
2019
168,800
2015
International Migrants as Percentage of Population (Year)
4.2
2015
Refugees (Year)
1,355
2019
1,991
2018
2,091
2017
2,107
2016
1,979
2015
857
2014
Ratio of Refugees Per 1000 Inhabitants (Year)
0.53
2016
0.21
2014
New Asylum Applications (Year)
1,218
2019
914
2016
1,792
2014
Refugee Recognition Rate (Year)
9.3
2014
Stateless Persons (Year)
566
2018
587
2017
580
2016
793
2015

SOCIO-ECONOMIC DATA & POLLS

Gross Domestic Product per Capita (in USD)
3,670
2014
Remittances to the Country
2,065
2014
Unemployment Rate
2014
Net Official Development Assistance (ODA) (in Millions USD)
562.8
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
76 (High)
2015

B. Attitudes and Perceptions

MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

Does the Country Detain People for Migration, Asylum, or Citizenship Reasons?
Yes
2021
Does the Country Have Specific Laws that Provide for Migration-Related Detention?
Yes
2014

LEGAL & REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

Detention-Related Legislation
Law of Georgia on the Legal Status of Aliens and Stateless Persons (2014)
2014

GROUNDS FOR MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

LENGTH OF MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION INSTITUTIONS

PROCEDURAL STANDARDS & SAFEGUARDS

DETENTION MONITORS

TRANSPARENCY

READMISSION/RETURN/EXTRADITION AGREEMENTS

Bilateral/Multilateral Readmission Agreements
Denmark (2016)
2017
Germany (2008)
2017
Germany (2016)
2017
Lithuania (2014)
2017
Norway (2012)
2017
Switzerland (2005)
2017
Turkey (2005)
2017
Belarus (2016)
2017
Moldova (2016)
2017
Ukraine (2005)
2017
EU (2011)
2017

COVID-19

HEALTH CARE

COVID-19 DATA

Has the country released immigration detainees as a result of the pandemic?
Yes
2020

Has the country used legal "alternatives to detention" as part of pandemic detention releases?
No
2020

Has the country Temporarily Ceased or Restricted Issuing Detention Orders?
Yes
2020

Has the Country Adopted These Pandemic-Related Measures for People in Immigration Detention?
COVID-19 Testing: NoVaccinations: UnknownProvision of Masks: UnknownProvision of Hygiene Supplies: UnknownSuspension of Visits: Unknown
2022

Has the Country Locked-Down Previously "Open" Reception Facilities, Shelters, Refugee Camps, or Other Forms of Accommodation for Migrant Workers or Other Non-Citizens?
Unknown
2022

Have cases of COVID-19 been reported in immigration detention facilities or any other places used for immigration detention purposes?
Unknown
2022

Has the Country Ceased or Restricted Deportations/Removals During any Period After the Onset of the Pandemic?
Yes
2020

Has the Country Released People from Criminal Prisons During the Pandemic?
Unknown
2022

Have Officials Blamed Migrants, Asylum Seekers, or Refugees for the Spread of COVID-19?
Unknown
2022

Has the Country Restricted Access to Asylum Procedures?
Unknown
2022

Has the Country Commenced a National Vaccination Campaign?
Yes
2020

Have Populations of Concern Been Included/Excluded From the National Vaccination Campaign?
People in Immigration Custody (including legal in "alternatives to detention" or at open reception centres): UnknownRefugees: UnknownUndocumented Migrants: UnknownAsylum Seekers: UnknownStateless People: Unknown
2022

INTERNATIONAL TREATIES

International Treaties Ratified
Ratification Year
Observation Date
OP CRC Communications Procedure
2016
2018
VCCR, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
1993
2017
ICERD, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
1999
2017
ICESCR, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
1994
2017
ICCPR, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1994
2017
CEDAW, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
1994
2017
CAT, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
1994
2017
CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child
1994
2017
CRPD, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
2014
2017
CRSR, Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
1999
2017
CRSSP, Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
2011
2017
CTOCTP, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children
2006
2017
CTOCSP, Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
2006
2017
OPCAT, Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
2005
2005
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Ratio: 14/19
Individual Complaints Procedures
Acceptance Year
ICERD, declaration under article 14 of the Convention 2005
2005
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 1994
1994
CEDAW, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 1999 2002
2002
CAT, declaration under article 22 of the Convention 2005
2005
Ratio of Complaints Procedures Accepted
Observation Date
4/7
2017
Relevant Recommendations Issued by Treaty Bodies
Recommendation Year
Observation Date
Committee on the Rights of the Child § 37. "Taking into account the ongoing reform of the State party’s national refugee legislation and in line with its general comment No. 6 (2005) on the treatment of unaccompanied and separated children outside their country of origin, the Committee recommends that the State party: (a) Expedite the adoption of the draft law on international protection to facilitate the access of asylum-seeking children to the asylum system, including for children in need of international protection, bringing the national legislation in line with the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees; (b) Allocate sufficient human, technical and financial resources for the implementation of the migration strategy and action plan for the period 2016-2020 to facilitate local integration of refugee and asylum-seeking children and their access to naturalization; (c) Collaborate with relevant NGOs and seek technical assistance from, inter alia, UNHCR." 2017
2017

NON-TREATY-BASED INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Relevant Recommendations from the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
Yes 2011
2017
Yes 2015
2017

REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Regional Legal Instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
Observation Date
CPCSE, Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse 2014
2014
2017
ECPT, European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment 2000
2000
2017
ECCF, European Convention on Consular Functions 2011
2011
2017
CATHB, Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings 2007
2007
2017
ECHRP1, Protocol 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights (amended by protocol 11) 2002
2002
2017
ECHRP7, Protocol 7 to the European Convention on Human Rights (amended by protocol 11) 2000
2000
2017
ECHRP12, Protocol 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights 2001
2001
2017
ECHR, Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (commonly known as the European Convention on Human Rights 1999
1999
2017

GOVERNANCE SYSTEM

Legal Tradition(s)
Civil law
2017

DETENTION COSTS

OUTSOURCING

FOREIGN SOURCES OF FUNDING FOR DETENTION OPERATIONS