Covid-19 Experts Call for The Release of Migrants from Detention Cente

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"The US government must urgently use readily available alternatives to detention for migrants detained in overcrowded and unsanitary administrative centers in order to counter the risk of a Covid-19 epidemic," a group in Geneva pleaded on Monday. United Nations independent human rights experts.

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Covid-19: Experts Call for The Release of Migrants from Detention Centers in The United States:

Covid-19: Experts Call for The Release of Migrants from Detention Centers in The United States 01.05.2020

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To counter the threat of a coronavirus epidemic, independent UN experts on Monday called for the release of migrants from high-risk detention centers in the United States . 01.05.2020 2

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" The US government must urgently use readily available alternatives to detention for migrants detained in overcrowded and unsanitary administrative centers in order to counter the risk of a Covid-19 epidemic," a group in Geneva pleaded on Monday. United Nations independent human rights experts . 01.05.2020 3

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"None of these migrants are detained for criminal offenses, but are simply waiting for decisions to be made on their immigration applications," noted the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants, Felipe González Morales. Independent UN experts say they have received several reports on the unsanitary conditions and lack of adequate health care for the 1,500 detainees at the North West Treatment Center, located in Tacoma, Washington. This center is managed by a private company, the GEO group, on behalf of the United States Immigration and Customs Agency . 01.05.2020 4

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"We have heard that there is a lack of protective measures for detainees, that it is impossible to keep the recommended physical distance and that new arrivals are not placed in solitary confinement for medical observation," added M González Morales . 01.05.2020 5

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For the UN independent expert, this raises serious concerns about the possibility that the coronavirus will spread in the center. This facility reported problems with the provision of inadequate health care and unsanitary conditions. In addition, "it is very difficult to maintain the necessary physical distance in overcrowded detention centers ". 01.05.2020 6

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“Significantly reducing the number of migrants detained by releasing them in other places can easily resolve this problem,” insisted the Special Rapporteur. The challenge of physical distancing in overcrowded detention centers 01.05.2020 8

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Faced with such conditions, Mr. González Morales asked the American administration and the GEO group to guarantee access to health care, adequate water and sanitation facilities, and to strengthen measures to prevent the appearance and spread of Covid-19 in the establishment . 01.05.2020 9

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More broadly, the Special Rapporteur has indicated that administrative detention of immigrants should only be used as a last resort. He argues for alternative measures, which are essentially non-custodial, less restrictive accommodation and community care solutions, aimed at respecting the human rights of migrants and limiting the use of immigration detention . 01.05.2020 10

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The aim is to develop a set of criteria to identify persons in administrative detention who could be immediately released "for alternative placements". "Alternative measures to the widespread detention of immigrants in the United States would also help to ensure that migrants are not arbitrarily detained," said the Special Rapporteur.  01.05.2020 11

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Note that this statement by Mr. González Morales was also endorsed by the Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations; the Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries;  Dainius Pūras , United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health; Nils Melzer , Special Rapporteur on torture; and Léo Heller, Special Rapporteur on the right to drinking water. 01.05.2020 12

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NOTE: The Special Rapporteurs are part of the so-called special procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the United Nations human rights system, is the general name for the Council's independent investigative and monitoring mechanisms that deal with either specific country situations or thematic questions in all regions of the world.  01.05.2020 13

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Special procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not part of the staff of the United Nations and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government or organization and work on an individual basis . 01.05.2020 14

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