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NEWS

Short Update: Survey on COVID-19 inside Swedish migration-related detention centres

FairTrialsAdmin - July 16, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, prison conditions, Rule of Law

A survey conducted among people held inside Swedish migration-related detention centres reveals how governments prioritised border enforcement over migrants’ health during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also rendered visible pre-existing social inequalities in terms of access to healthcare and to basic social rights and services.

In response to the pandemic, the Swedish authorities continued to detain migrant and try to deport them. The Swedish detention capacity was reduced to 300 in order to facilitate ‘social distancing’ and contain the spread of COVID-19. Yet, a survey revealed significant shortcomings in the implementation of rules and recommendations for how the spread of COVID-19 should be prevented and contained inside migration-related detention centres. Among others, survey respondents reported continued overcrowding, a virtual impossibility to maintain physical distance to other detained persons, and shortcomings in cleaning and hygiene routines.  

While countries across the globe have suspended deportations, opted for alternatives to detention, or even regularised all people with precarious legal status to ensure their full access to healthcare, no such progressive initiatives have been proposed in Sweden. Civil society call on the authorities to take the ongoing pandemic as an opportunity to rethink the use of migration-related detention. 

We publish information as it is reported to us. If you would like to make us aware of an inaccuracy or send us more  information  please email us at [email protected].  

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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