UK authorities should finish GPS monitoring of migrants, rights teams say – JURIST

Human rights groups Public Law Project, Bail for Immigration Detainees and Medical Justice released a joint report on Monday calling on the UK government to immediately end electronic GPS tracking of eligible immigrants. GPS monitors currently track about 2000 people 24 hours a day. The tracking devices have no expiration date and can only be removed by court order.

The report “focused on the expected effects of electronic surveillance on physical or psychological well-being”. The groups found that the use of the tracking devices had a serious impact on bailiffs’ physical and mental health. According to the report, “Clinicians raised concerns about the potential of electronic surveillance to worsen mental illness by triggering memories of their trauma, such as when patients have been restrained in the past or when they feared returning to a situation they are in could be at risk of further harm or fainting.” There are also serious concerns that the trackers are socially and physically restrictive due to charging requirements. Physical effects include skin conditions and musculoskeletal problems.

Although the report calls for an immediate end to electronic GPS surveillance, the groups also make recommendations for better regulation of tracking devices if they are to continue. Recommendations include a strict limit on how long a tracking device can be worn and the removal of GPS tracking as a mandatory deposit for immigrants.

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