In a Tuesday post on its Twitter account, Iran’s Foreign Ministry reacted to latest remarks by Felipe González Morales, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, who said he had received repeated reports of unsanitary conditions and lack of proper healthcare for the 1,500 detainees in the Northwest Processing Center, located in Tacoma, Washington State.
“We raise deep concern about @UNHumanRights report indicating 1500 #migrants are in jeopardy, as they’re held in overcrowded & unsanitary detention center in America. The regime must be held accountable for poor treatment of migrants. They are not offenders. Let them go!#COVID19,” the ministry tweeted.
We raise deep concern about @UNHumanRights report indicating 1500 #migrants are in jeopardy, as they’re held in overcrowded & unsanitary detention center in America. The regime must be held accountable for poor treatment of migrants. They are not offenders. Let them go!#COVID19— Iran Foreign Ministry ?? (@IRIMFA_EN) April 28, 2020
González Morales had expressed “grave concerns” about a lack of protective measures for the migrants at the Northwest Processing Center, saying the detainees are provided “inadequate healthcare” and kept in “unsanitary conditions.”
He also warned that the highly contagious coronavirus could spread at the detention facility and asked the US administration and the GEO Group, which runs the prison, to guarantee the inmates’ access to healthcare, adequate water and sanitation.
“It is very difficult to keep the necessary physical distance in overcrowded detention facilities. Significantly reducing the number of detained migrants by releasing them into alternative settings can easily solve this,” the UN rights expert said. “None of those migrants are detained for criminal offences, but are simply awaiting decisions on their immigration claims.”
The United States is the hardest-hit country in the world by the coronavirus pandemic that first showed up in China in late December 2019 before spreading across the globe.
The US has confirmed 1,010,507 COVID-19 infections and over 56,800 deaths so far.
Recent reports have voiced worries about the dire situation of US jails amid the virus outbreak.
Unlike the US, Iran has temporarily released tens of thousands of prisoners, including those serving time on security charges, due to the deadly pandemic.