Law group calls for deportation moratorium
Publish date: 23 March 2020
Issue Number: 865
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) is calling for a moratorium on the detention and deportation of migrants as well as unnecessary arrests and detention for Schedule 1 offences. They believe the move could contribute toward stemming Covid-19 infection. In a statement on the Daily Maverick site, LHR’s acting national director Michael Clements says: ‘Detained individuals in overcrowded detention centres such as Linda Repatriation, police stations and remand prisons are at high risk of contracting and spreading the virus. These facilities are ill-equipped to deal with an outbreak of the disease. This is especially true in relation to the elderly and those suffering from chronic illnesses. LHR is therefore calling for judges and magistrates to make greater provision for alternatives to detention for administrative detainees on the understanding that detention poses a further risk to the spread of the virus, that with fewer detainees in detention, the need for heightened medical treatment is decreased, and that an outbreak of the virus in detention centres will have a devastating effect on those populations and the country at large.’ He also urged the Department of Home Affairs to present its plan of action regarding the renewal of asylum seeker permits, considering the President’s prohibition on gatherings of more than 100 people.