No detention centre mapping data


Angola Immigration Detention

Angola has vigorously pursued a policy of expelling undocumented migrants for “national security” reasons, claiming that there are more than half a million people in the country illegally who are part of a “silent invasion.” The country has opened several dedicated immigration facilities, where thousands of non-nationals are detained every year to await removal, often in extremely degrading and violent conditions.

Quick Facts


International migrants (2015): 106,800
New asylum applications (2014): 12,270

Profile Updated: June 2016

Angola Immigration Detention Profile

Last Updated: June 2016

 

INTRODUCTION

Since the end of its three-decades-long civil war in the early 2000s, Angola has pursued a policy of expelling undocumented migrants for “national security” reasons. To assist this effort, the country has opened several dedicated immigration facilities, where thousands of non-nationals are detained every year to await removal, often in extremely degrading and violent conditions.[1] Authorities have also worked to ramp up fear of foreigners, claiming that there are more than half a million people in the country illegally who are part of a “silent invasion.”[2]

Many migrants living in Angola, especially Muslims from West Africa, have been subject to repeated attacks and arbitrary arrests linked to ethnic and religious discrimination. In 2012, Human Rights Watch reported on human rights violations by Angolan authorities against migrants in custody and during expulsion proceedings.[3] Several sources have claimed that security forces abuse irregular migrants, mostly in the border region shared with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).[4][5]

In 2013, the UN Human Rights Committee and the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women reported on abuses suffered by foreigners in Angola.[6] In 2012, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants sent a communication concerning alleged mass deportations of migrants and serious violations of their human rights during expulsion. He also reported the deaths of four people who had been detained by Angolan authorities while awaiting deportation.[7] In 2014, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that Angola “had a right to deport irregular migrants, but must do so humanely and in full compliance with international human rights laws and standards.”[8]

 

LAWS, POLICIES, PRACTICES

Angola adopted the Law Regulating the Legal Status of Foreigners in 2007, which was last amended in 2011.[9] The Foreigners Law provides a legal framework for immigration control including grounds for immigration-related detention. The Angolan Constitution also contains relevant provisions—including on the freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation—although the government has at times restricted these constitutional rights.[10]

Under the Foreigners Law, detention is compulsory when foreign nationals are denied entry (Art. 18-19) or when they are subject to judicial expulsion after being found to be undocumented or present illegally in national territory (Art.104).[11] In both cases, irregular migrants are detained prior to their removal from Angola to their country of origin or of habitual residence. This expulsion includes a period of not less than five years during which the foreign is banned from re- entering national territory.[12]

Alternatively, the Expatriate and Migration Services (SME), under the Interior Ministry’s authority, can notify foreign nationals in an irregular situation to leave Angolan territory within eight days.[13] If they are found on the territory after this period has ended, they can be detained prior to removal.

The Foreigners Law contains provisions for the judicial review of expulsion decisions.[14] Appeals against decisions of the SME are brought before the Ministry of the Interior. However, the possibility for judicial review is restricted as the administration of justice is concentrated in the Interior Ministry only and judges are not involved in verifying the lawfulness of detention. In 2013, the UN Human Rights Committee expressed concern that undocumented migrants may be subjected to detention without recourse to a court to pronounce on the legality of the detention. Consequently, migrants are often arrested arbitrarily and denied due process to challenge their deportation.[15]

The time limit for enforcement of an expulsion order is 15 days for resident foreigners and eight days for non-residents.[16] This time limit must correspond to the maximum length of detention. However, thousand cases where reported by non-governmental sources in which authorities kept immigrants in detention for periods exceeding those provided by law without charges or trial.[17]

The Foreigners Law empowers the SME to enforce immigration law. The SME is the central executive body of the Interior Ministry responsible for promoting and coordinating the actions relating to access, control, transit, stay, detention and exit of foreigners. It operates all immigration detention facilities except Temporary Stay Centres managed by airport operators and run in accordance with regulations to be approved by the Ministers of the Interior and Transports.[18] Border security and the expulsion procedures are under the responsibility of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA).[19]

Angolan authorities launch massive crackdowns on immigrants several times a year, which lead to the arrest and expulsion of hundreds and sometimes thousands of people. According to press accounts, the SME has claimed that authorities expel more than a thousand migrants a week and that there are more than half a million undocumented migrants in the country.[20] According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, there were only 106,800 international migrants in the country as of 2015, which represent 0.4 percent of its population.[21]

Non-governmental sources report that vulnerable migrants—including asylum-seekers, pregnant women and minors—are placed in administrative immigration detention.[22] During a 2014 session of the UN Universal Periodic Review, the Committee on the Rights of the Child raised concerns about the deportation of more than 30,000 children from Angola.[23] Also, while the country is a party to the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has reported the systematic detention of asylum-seekers without any consideration of alternatives measures.[24]

A new law on Asylum and Refugee Status, which entered into force in June 2015, provides specific procedures for the submission of an asylum application and establishes the creation of reception centres for asylum-seekers.[25] The Foreigners Law also provides safeguards against the expulsion of refugees to countries “where they may be persecuted for political, racial or religious reasons, or where their lives may be in danger.”[26]

Angolan authorities criminalise the entry or residence of any person who illegally on national territory. Irregular entry and stay can be punishable by fines of up to 1,500 USD.[27]

 

DETENTION INFRASTRUCTURE

It is not clear how many or what types of facilities Angola operates for the purposes of immigration-related detention. Since 2012, the increased number of expulsions has encouraged Angolan security forces and the SME to use temporary detention facilities exclusively for migrants.[28] In 2015, non-governmental sources reported the presence of seven detention or transit centres dedicated to irregular migrants in various parts of the country.[29]

The main detention centre dedicated for non-nationals found undocumented on national territory is the “Illegal Foreigners Detention Centre,” which opened in 2011 in Viana, not far from the Angolan capital Luanda. The facility has a reported capacity of 800 with separate facilities for men and women.

The Trinita Detention Centre is also dedicated for immigration-related detention. This facility was used in 2014 to detain hundreds of non-Angolan people who were arrested in the streets of Luanda in December 2014. Governmental sources reported that 2,161 people were stopped by the police in one week, and 884 who did not have proper documentation were arrested and detained at the Trinita Detention Centre. These massive crackdowns were condemned by human rights’ organizations who urged Angolan authorities to put an end to the repeated stigmatization and violations of human rights, especially against people from West Africa.[30]

Foreigners who are denied entry can be “accommodated” at the Temporary Stay Centre at the Luanda airport as they await flights. These detainees face a high risk of refoulement as they are not guaranteed international protection procedures.[31]

The press has also reported the use of police stations to confine irregular migrants prior to removal.[32]

Numerous concerns have been raised concerning detention conditions and the mistreatment of migrants while in custody. Detainees at the Illegal Foreigners Detention Centre in Viana have suffered from a lack of sufficient water supply as well as poor diet.[33] NGOs have also stated that foreigners have been denied contact with the outside world, including legal assistance. The same conditions were found in Trinita Detention Centre, where detainees are reportedly kept in cruel, inhumane and degrading conditions. Acts of torture and extortion of money have also been reported.[34]

Non-governmental sources reported improvements concerning the access to detention centres in Angola. The International Committee of the Red Cross is entitled to carry visits to migrants in detention to monitor their treatments and living conditions.[35] In 2013, the SME also agreed to allow UNHCR to have regular access to these facilities. Visits began in 2014, and UNHCR was able to meet with 26 detained asylum seekers during that year.[36]

 

 

[1] FIDH, “Angola: Thousands of African nationals suffer serious human rights’ violation”, Press Release published on December, 26th 2014. https://www.fidh.org/en/region/Africa/angola/angola-thousands-of-african-nationals-suffer-serious-human-rights

[2] RedeAngola, “More than half a million illegal immigrants in the country”, Independent Newspaper, June 2015. http://www.redeangola.info/mais-de-meio-milhao-de-imigrantes-ilegais-no-pais/

[3] Human Rights Watch, “Angola: Stop Rape, Abuse of Congolese Migrants”, May 21st, 2012. https://www.hrw.org/news/2012/05/21/angola-stop-rape-abuse-congolese-migrants

[4] Human Rights Watch, “Sexual Violence and other Abuses against Congolese Migrants during Expulsions from Angola”. Published in May 2012. https://www.hrw.org/report/2012/05/20/if-you-come-back-we-will-kill-you/sexual-violence-and-other-abuses-against

[5] United States Department of State, 2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - Angola, 25 June 2015, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/559bd58612.html

[6] CEDAW, Concluding observations on the sixth periodic report of Angola adopted by the Committee at its fifty fourth session (11 February – 1 March 2013). Published in March 2013. http://docstore.ohchr.org/SelfServices/FilesHandler.ashx?enc=6QkG1d%2fPPRiCAqhKb7yhsgcjdm0xgERNaIXh22nhTUl1LBTO%2f%2bb9UThVCaNsXxMeYhezGPw0XinE%2fRvZ7Il%2fTyX%2f%2fC15yrlzSutPQOoRk2hKMDEVbGw6ROB0X5Ck%2f5RK

[7] Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Communications Report of Special Procedures: Communications sent, 16 March to 31 May 2012; Replies received, 16 May to 31 July 2012. Published in 2014 prior to the UPR 20th session in the Compilation prepared by the OHCHR. https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G14/139/84/PDF/G1413984.pdf?OpenElement

[8]OHCHR, High Commissioner’s statement, Universal Periodic Review: Angola, August 2014, http://www.upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/angola/session_20_-_october_2014/a_hrc_wg.6_20_ago_2_e.pdf

[9] Law Regulating the Legal Status of Foreigners in the Republic of Angola, Law No. 2/07 of 31 May, entered into force in November 2007. http://www.sme.ao/attachments/article/234/Law%20No.%202-07%20of%2031%20May.pdf

[10] United States Department of State, 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - Angola, 13 April 2016, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/571612a715.html

[11] Law Regulating the Legal Status of Foreigners in the Republic of Angola, Law No. 2/07 of 31 May, entered into force in November 2007. http://www.sme.ao/attachments/article/234/Law%20No.%202-07%20of%2031%20May.pdf

[12] Article 32 “Expulsion Order”, Law Regulating the Legal Status of Foreigners in the Republic of Angola, Law No. 2/07 of 31 May, entered into force in November 2007. http://www.sme.ao/attachments/article/234/Law%20No.%202-07%20of%2031%20May.pdf

[13] Article 27, Law Regulating the Legal Status of Foreigners in the Republic of Angola, Law No. 2/07 of 31 May, entered into force in November 2007. http://www.sme.ao/attachments/article/234/Law%20No.%202-07%20of%2031%20May.pdf

[14] Article 38, Law Regulating the Legal Status of Foreigners in the Republic of Angola, Law No. 2/07 of 31 May, entered into force in November 2007. http://www.sme.ao/attachments/article/234/Law%20No.%202-07%20of%2031%20May.pdf

[15] Human Rights Watch, “Sexual Violence and other Abuses against Congolese Migrants during Expulsions from Angola”. Published in May 2012. https://www.hrw.org/report/2012/05/20/if-you-come-back-we-will-kill-you/sexual-violence-and-other-abuses-against

[16]Article 32 “Expulsion Order”, Law Regulating the Legal Status of Foreigners in the Republic of Angola, Law No. 2/07 of 31 May, entered into force in November 2007. http://www.sme.ao/attachments/article/234/Law%20No.%202-07%20of%2031%20May.pdf

[17] France 24, “Immigrants run for cover as Angola rounds up hundreds’”, 12 December 2014. http://observers.france24.com/en/20141223-arrests-foreigners-angola-luanda-prison

[18] Articles 21 and 33, Law Regulating the Legal Status of Foreigners in the Republic of Angola, Law No. 2/07 of 31 May, entered into force in November 2007. http://www.sme.ao/attachments/article/234/Law%20No.%202-07%20of%2031%20May.pdf

[19] United States Department of State, 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - Angola, 13 April 2016, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/571612a715.html

[20] RedeAngola, “More than half a million illegal immigrants in the country”, Independent Newspaper, June 2015. http://www.redeangola.info/mais-de-meio-milhao-de-imigrantes-ilegais-no-pais/

[21] United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2015). Trends in International Migrant Stock: The 2015 Revision (United Nations database, POP/DB/MIG/Stock/ Rev.2015). See www.unmigration.org

[22] UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Submission by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) For the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Compilation Report – Universal Periodic Review: Angola, March 2014, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/5541d7954.html

[23] Committee on the Rights of the Child, Submission by the CRC For the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Compilation Report – Universal Periodic Review: Angola, CRC/C/AGO/CO/2-4, para. 63., August 2014. http://www.upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/angola/session_20_-_october_2014/a_hrc_wg.6_20_ago_2_e.pdf

[24] UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Submission by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) For the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Compilation Report – Universal Periodic Review: Angola, March 2014, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/5541d7954.html

[25] Angolan Parliament, Law 10/2015 on Asylum and Refugees Status. Entered into force on June 17th, 2015.

[26] Article 29, Law Regulating the Legal Status of Foreigners in the Republic of Angola, Law No. 2/07 of 31 May, entered into force in November 2007. http://www.sme.ao/attachments/article/234/Law%20No.%202-07%20of%2031%20May.pdf

[27] Article 104, Law Regulating the Legal Status of Foreigners in the Republic of Angola, Law No. 2/07 of 31 May, entered into force in November 2007. http://www.sme.ao/attachments/article/234/Law%20No.%202-07%20of%2031%20May.pdf

[28] Human Rights Watch, “Sexual Violence and other Abuses against Congolese Migrants during Expulsions from Angola”. Published in May 2012. https://www.hrw.org/report/2012/05/20/if-you-come-back-we-will-kill-you/sexual-violence-and-other-abuses-against

[29] United States Department of State, 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - Angola, 13 April 2016, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/571612a715.html

[30] FIDH, “Angola: Thousands of African nationals suffer serious human rights’ violation”, Press Release published on December, 26th 2014. https://www.fidh.org/en/region/Africa/angola/angola-thousands-of-african-nationals-suffer-serious-human-rights

[31] UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Submission by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) For the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Compilation Report – Universal Periodic Review: Angola, March 2014, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/5541d7954.html

[32] Angola Press Agency, “Angola: Over 100 illegal immigrants detained in Lunda Norte Province”, July 1st 2015. http://allafrica.com/stories/201507010642.html

[33] UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Submission by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) For the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Compilation Report – Universal Periodic Review: Angola, March 2014, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/5541d7954.html

[34] FIDH, “Angola: Thousands of African nationals suffer serious human rights’ violation”, Press Release published on December, 26th 2014. https://www.fidh.org/en/region/Africa/angola/angola-thousands-of-african-nationals-suffer-serious-human-rights

[35]International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Annual Report 2014 - Yaounde (regional), 9 June 2015. http://www.refworld.org/docid/558131b042.html

[36] UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Submission by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) For the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Compilation Report – Universal Periodic Review: Angola, March 2014, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/5541d7954.html

Centres List

No detention centres data available

Statistics Expand all



24,165

Criminal prison population

2015

  • Criminal prison population
NumberObservation Date
24,1652015
21,6342013
19,8982011
16,1832009
8,3002005
4,9752002
5,1471999


96

Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)

2015

  • Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
NumberObservation Date
962015
1052013
1002011
872009
502005
332002
391999



25,022,000

Population

2015

  • Population
NumberObservation Date
25,022,0002015
20,200,0002012


106,800

International migrants

2015

  • International migrants
NumberObservation Date
106,8002015
87,4002013


0.4

International migrants as a percentage of the population

2013

  • International migrants as a percentage of the population
PercentageObservation Date
0.42013


15,537

Refugees

2016

  • Refugees
NumberObservation Date
15,5372016
15,5552015
23,7832014


0.64

Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants

2014

  • Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
NumberObservation Date
0.642014
1.22012


12,270

Total number of new asylum applications

2014

  • Total number of new asylum applications
NumberObservation Date
12,2702014


0

Stateless persons

2016

  • Stateless persons
NumberObservation Date
02016
02014

Domestic Law Expand all

Legal tradition Show sources
NameObservation Date
Common law

Constitutional guarantees? Show sources
NameConstitution and ArticlesYear AdoptedLast Year Amended
YesConstitution of the Republic of Angola Article 63: "Any person deprived of their liberty must be informed at the time of their imprisonment or detention of the respective reasons and their rights" Article 67: "No-one may be detained, imprisoned or brought to trial unless under the terms of the law, and all defendants or prisoners shall be guaranteed the right to a defence, appeal and legal counsel"20102010
Core pieces of national legislation Show sources
NameYear AdoptedLast Year Amended
Law Regulating the Legal Status of Foreigners in the Republic of Angola, Law No. 2/07 of 31 May, entered into force in November 2007. 20072007

Immigration-status-related grounds Show sources
NameObservation Date
Detention for unauthorised entry or stay2016
Detention to effect removal2016
Detention for failing to respect a voluntary removal order2016

Does the country provide specific criminal penalties for immigration-related violations? Show sources
FinesIncarcerationObservation Date
YesNo2016

Maximum length for administrative immigration detention in law. Show sources
Number of DaysObservation Date
152016

Is the detention of vulnerable persons provided in law? Are they detained in practice? Show sources
NameIn LawIn PracticeObservation Date
Asylum seekersNot mentionedYes2014
Pregnant womenNot mentionedYes2014
Accompanied minorsNot mentionedYes2014
Unaccompanied minorsNot mentionedYes2014

Mandatory detention Show sources
FilterNameObservation Date
YesAll apprehended non-citizens who do not have proper documentation2016
YesNon-citizens who have been placed in removal proceedings2016

Re-entry ban Show sources
NameObservation Date
Yes2016

International Law Expand all

Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
  8/16
Individual complaints procedure Show sources
NameAcceptance Year
CRPD, Optional Protocol to o the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities2014
CEDAW, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 19992007
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 19661992
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted Show sources
NumberObservation Date
3/5
3/5
Relevant recommendations issued by treaty bodies Show sources
NameRecommendation ExcerptRecommendation Year
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights4. The Committee urges the State party to: (a) Ensure the implementation of the law on the right of asylum and refugee status and put in place fair and effective asylum procedures, embracing protection against refoulement; (b) Ensure that detention of asylum seekers and refugees is used only as a last resort and that those detained in reception centres are provided with legal safeguards and have access to legal counsel as well as interpretation services; (c) Establish alternatives to the detention of children and families with children; (d) Issue and renew identification documents for asylum seekers and refugees in a timely manner so as to facilitate their access to basic social services, and prevent their arbitrary detention; (e) Improve the material conditions of reception centres and ensure that asylum seekers staying in these centres are guaranteed an adequate standard of living and enjoy access to basic social services; (f) Introduce the necessary legislative and policy amendments to remove the requirement that asylum seekers must reside in closed reception centres.2016
Human Rights Committee

§16. [...] ensure that undocumented migrants are protected against refoulement and if detained are entitled to bring proceedings before a court that will decide on the lawfulness of their detention.

2013

Regional legal instruments Show sources
NameYear of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
ACHPR, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights1990
ACRWC, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child1992
APRW, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol)2007

Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review Show sources
Recomendation IssuedYear IssuedObservation Date
Yes20102017
No2014

Institutions Expand all

Custodial authority Show sources
AgencyMinistryMinistry TypologyObservation Date
Service for Migration and Foreigners2011
Service for Migration and Foreigners2008
Service for Migration and Foreigners2008
Detention Facility Management Show sources
Entity NameEntity TypeObservation Date
Service for Migration and ForeignersGovernmental2011
Service for Migration and ForeignersGovernmental2008
Types of detention facilities used in practice
Immigration detention centre (Administrative)Immigration field office (Administrative)Transit centre (Administrative)Reception centre (Administrative)Offshore detention centre (Administrative)Hospital (Administrative)Border guard (Administrative)Police station (Criminal)National penitentiary (Criminal)Local prison (Criminal)Juvenile detention centre (Criminal)Informal camp (Ad hoc)Immigration detention centre (Ad hoc)Surge facility (Ad hoc)Observation Date
2015
2015

Authorized monitoring institutions Show sources
InstitutionInstitution TypeObservation Date
National Ombudsman (Provedor di Justiça di direitos)National Human Rights Institution (or Ombudsperson) (NHRI)2016
Does NHRI carry out visits? Show sources
Does NHRI carry out visits in practice?Observation Date
Yes2014
Does NHRI have capacity to receive complaints? Show sources
Does NHRI have capacity to receive complaints?Observation Date
Yes2014

Socio Economic Data Expand all

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD) Show sources
Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)Observation Date
5,6682013
Remittances to the country Show sources
Remittances to the country (in millions USD)Observation Date
182010
Remittances from the country Show sources
Remittances from the country (in millions USD)Observation Date
7142010
Unemployment Rate Show sources
Unemployment RateObservation Date
6.82014
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD) Show sources
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in USD)Observation Date
231.32014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP) Show sources
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)UNDP four-tiered rankingObservation Date
149Low2014

Country Links


Additional Resources


Immigration Detention in Angola

Angola has vigorously pursued a policy of expelling undocumented migrants for “national security” reasons, claiming that there are more than half a million people in the country illegally who are part of a “silent invasion.” The country has opened several dedicated immigration facilities, where thousands of non-nationals are detained every year to await removal, often […]

Immigration Detention in Angola

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