Around the world today, we are witnessing the severe impacts of the use of migration-related detention on migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees during the COVID-19 pandemic – indefinite detention in overcrowded facilities for some, prolonged situations of irregularity and fear of detention for others, heightened risk of infection for all: migrants, staff, their families, and their communities.
Statement by the United Nations Network on Migration
Yesterday, the United Nations Network on Migration released urgently needed practical recommendations with guidance for States and stakeholders on preventing and responding to COVID-19 in the context of immigration detention. By focusing on the development of non-custodial alternatives based in the community, the brief highlights steps that several governments have already taken to swiftly release migrants from detention and to provide access to healthcare, housing and other services regardless of migration status. The Network looks forward to feedback from all partners and to updating these recommendations on an ongoing basis.
The Network’s Working Group on Alternatives to Detention – co-led by UNICEF, UNHCR and the International Detention Coalition – has developed this guidance in partnership amongst UN agencies and civil society.
The recommendations have been informed by the broad and diverse experience of Working Group members, including UN agencies, civil society organizations and networks, young people, local governments and technical experts working on immigration detention and alternatives all over the globe.