COVID-19 & Immigration Detention: What Can Governments and Other Stakeholders Do?

United Nations Network on Migration
Date of Publication: 
April, 2020
Source Organization: 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the detention of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers around the world has had a devastating impact on both the detained population and the people working in detention facilities. “In the often overcrowded facilities where they are detained, misinformation is common, physical distancing impossible, hygiene and sanitation inadequate, and human resources stretched.” In response, the United Nations Network on Migration, through its Working Group on Alternatives to Detention, comprised of UN agencies, civil society organizations, local governments and technical experts, has released guidance, resources and practical recommendations to deal with this problem. Their report advises that new detentions of migrants be halted; that non-custodial, community-based alternatives be scaled up; that migrants currently in detention be released into these community-based settings; and that conditions in current detention center be improved while alternatives are worked out. The guide offers a sweeping list of practical recommendations drawn from the experiences of Network members on such questions as: how to arrange migrant releases, how to manage cases, and how to improve access to care. The guide is part of a series by the U.N. Network that looks at different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic and immigration. (Denzil Mohammed, The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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United Nations Network on Migration (2020, April). COVID-19 & Immigration Detention: What Can Governments and Other Stakeholders Do?.