Also, on March 20, 2020, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of the Council of Europe (CPT) issued a statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Recognizing the clear need to take firm action to combat the spread as well as to face specific and difficult challenges for employees of all detention facilities, the CPT recalled that the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment was absolute and that the protective measures taken by States to combat COVID-19 should never result in any form of abuse of persons deprived of their liberty.
Decision of the Government of the Republic of Serbia on temporary restriction of movement of asylum seekers and irregular migrants accommodated in asylum centers and reception centers in the Republic of Serbia (Official Gazette 32/2020) regulates the issue of the work of asylum centers and reception centers during the duration of the coronavirus pandemic (SARS- CoV-2) due to which a state of emergency was declared on the territory of the Republic of Serbia.
This decision temporarily restricts the movement of asylum seekers and other persons accommodated in asylum centers and reception centers, with increased surveillance and security of these facilities. Like other accommodation institutions for a large number of people (such as nursing homes, dormitories, etc.), these centers are extremely vulnerable to the possible spread of the infection.
It should be noted that persons currently housed in the centers in Serbia arrived before the outbreak of the pandemic, and thus the closure of the centers was done in order to avoid the spread of the virus inside the centers from outside.
Therefore, the CPT recommended that during the COVID-19 pandemic, basic principle is for states to take all possible action to protect the health and safety of all persons deprived of their liberty and by taking such action to also contribute to preserving the health and safety of staff., and also to allow the monitoring by independent bodies, including National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) and the CPT,.
For the purpose of better informing persons who are currently accommodated in asylum centers and reception centers, the Belgrade Center for Human Rights has prepared info leaflets in the languages most frequently spoken by asylum seekers.
Click below to see the leaflets in the following languages