On the 22nd of July 2020, Medical Justice submitted written evidence to the Joint Human Rights Committee Inquiry’s into the Government’s response to COVID-19: human rights implications.
Below are our submissions:
Joint Human Rights Committee Inquiry into the Government’s response to COVID-19: human rights implications
Written Evidence submitted by Medical Justice 22 July 2020
- A considerable number of people have been released from immigration detention in response to the Covid-19 crisis. However, most recent figures show that the government is continuing to hold around 650 people under immigration powers, either in immigration removal centres (IRCs) or prisons.
- The government’s decision to continue detention during the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted on the human rights of those detained, in particular on their rights to liberty and health.
- Reduced external oversight and monitoring of detention means that negative impacts on detainees’ human rights are less likely to be picked up and addressed.
- People from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are disproportionately experiencing these negative impacts, given the higher proportion of people from these backgrounds in detention.
- Few removals are going ahead so immigration detention cannot serve its stated purpose.
- The use of immigration detention is discretionary, and detainees are not held as part of any criminal sentence. The negative impacts on human rights referred to here are therefore unnecessary and entirely avoidable.