EU: The impact of COVID-19 on human rights of migrants and refugees

The ICJ publishes today a legal briefing on the impact of COVID-19 related measures on human rights of migrants and refugees in the EU.

Since January 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic has been spreading in Europe. As a result, all EU Member States have taken measures with the stated intention of containing the spread of the virus. These included restrictions on public gatherings, requirements to stay at home except for limited essential activities, and orders to close businesses and cultural and educational institutions. The most severe of these restrictions were in place between March and May 2020, which is the period covered by the paper.

In this period, some EU Member States closed their borders; stopped the registration and lodging of asylum applications; or freedom of movement in and out of reception centers was restricted. Many of these measures affected, often disproportionately, the rights of migrants and refugees.

The briefing paper considers some of these measures, their impact on the human rights of migrants and refugees, and their compliance with international human rights law. It touches in particular upon the following issues: (1) The impact of the closure of the EU external borders and suspension of new and on-going asylum applications; (2) Closure of internal borders and impact of COVID-19 measures on Dublin transfers and the right to family life; (3) Impact of COVID-19 measures on residence permits, right to work and access to health care; (4) Reception and living conditions and (5) Immigration detention.

You will find the briefing here.

The Legal briefing is published in the framework of the FAIR PLUS project funded by the European Union’s Justice Programme (2014-2020). The content of this publication represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

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