No detention centre mapping data


Botswana Immigration Detention

Botswana has traditionally been considered a welcoming country for immigrants, attracting skilled workers from neighbouring countries. However, since the early 2000s, there have been growing tensions as the number of immigrants from Zimbabwe has risen precipitously. By 2004, the country was deporting some 2,500 irregular Zimbabweans per month.

Quick Facts


International migrants (2015): 160,600
New asylum applications (2016): 173

Profile Updated: June 2009

Botswana Immigration Detention Profile

Botswana has traditionally been considered a welcoming country for immigrants, attracting skilled workers from neighbouring countries. However, since the early 2000s, there have been growing tensions as the number of immigrants from Zimbabwe has risen precipitously. By 2004, the country was deporting some 2,500 irregular Zimbabweans per month. The government also began implementing harsher legal penalties, including larger fines and the possibility of prison sentences for irregular immigrants (Ditshwanelo 2006).

Botswana has one official migrant detention facility, the Centre for Illegal Immigrants, which is located in Francistown, a city close to the Zimbabwe border. The centre, which is under the authority of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, had a capacity of 500 as of 2006, with separate cell blocks and dining halls for males and females, a kitchen, clinic, library, sports facilities and a multi-purpose hall (Campbell 2006, 14). Locals refer to this facility as “Teronko ya Ma Zimbabwe,” or a prison facility for Zimbabweans, as the majority of detainees are of Zimbabwean origin (Gabathuse 2008).

Non-governmental sources have alleged that Botswana’s detention practices violate human rights standards, in particular its practices of detaining asylum seekers and keeping people confined for excessively long periods of time. According to Ditshwanelo, a Zimbabwe NGO, there are cases in which asylum seekers have been detained at the Francistown centre while the Refugee Advisory Committee determines their status, which can take up to 3-4 years, well beyond the 28-day limit stipulated in the Refugee (Recognition and Control) Act (Ditshwanelo 2006, 17-18).

Media reports claim that asylum seekers from Zimbabwe are held in marquee tents at the Francistown centre while their applications are processed (Gabathuse 2008). Successful applicants are moved to the Dukwi Refugee Camp (U.S. State Department 2006), while unsuccessful applicants lose the protective refugee status, have no access to an appeal, and are considered to be illegal immigrants (Ditshwanelo 2006, 17). Children are detained with their parents and do not have access to schools or recreation facilities at the Francistown centre. The centre is administered to under provisions in the Prisons Act and the general prison code. According to Ditshwanelo, detained asylum seekers have been clad in leg-irons when taken to the hospital outside the detention compound (Ditshwanelo 2006, 17).

References

  • Africa News. 2007. “Botswana Urged to Give Better Treatment to Refugees”. Africa News. 3 July 2007.
  • Government of Botswana. 2005. Reports submitted by States parties under Article 9 of the Convention. Sixteenth periodic reports of States parties due in 2005: Addendum: Botswana. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). CERD/C/495/Add.1. 2 September 2005. http://tb.ohchr.org/default.aspx (accessed February 2009).
  • Ditshwanelo – the Botswana Centre for Human Rights. 2006. Shadow Report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 68th session. Ditshwanelo. Geneva. 3-6 March 2006.
  • Campbell, Euguene K. 2006. Reflections on Illegal Immigration in Botswana and South Africa. Department of Population Studies, University of Botswana. Gaborone, Botswana.
  • Gabathuse, R. 2008. "Centre for illegal immigrants". Mmegi Online. Vol. 25, No. 68. Friday 9 May 2008. www.mmegi.bw (accessed February 2009).
  • South African Migration Project (SAMP) website.  Botswana. South African Migration Project (SAMP) - Queens University. January 2007. http://www.queensu.ca/samp/migrationnews/article.php?Mig_News_ID=4328&Mig_News_Issue=25&Mig_News_Cat=3 (accessed 8 December 2008).
  • Government of Botswana. Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs website. The Government of Botswana. http://www.gov.bw/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=30&Itemid=40 (accessed February 2009).
  • UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2008. Statistical Yearbook 2007. UNHCR. December 2008.
  • U.S. State Department. 2006. Botswana: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. U.S. State Department, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 6 March 2007. www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78720.htm (accessed 18 June 2007).

Centres List

No detention centres data available

Statistics Expand all



3,960

Criminal prison population

2015

  • Criminal prison population
NumberObservation Date
3,9602015
4,2412012
5,0632010
6,0742007
6,1052004
6,0422001
6,4551998


31.6

Percentage of foreign prisoners

2014

  • Percentage of foreign prisoners
PercentageObservation Date
31.62014
22.62009


193

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

2015

  • Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
NumberObservation Date
1932015
2052012
2512010
3152007
3282004
3362001
3771998



2,262,000

Population

2015

  • Population
NumberObservation Date
2,262,0002015
2,100,0002012


160,600

International migrants

2015

  • International migrants
NumberObservation Date
160,6002015
146,5002013


7.1

International migrants as a percentage of the population

2015

  • International migrants as a percentage of the population
PercentageObservation Date
7.12015
7.22013


2,080

Refugees

2016

  • Refugees
NumberObservation Date
2,0802016
2,1302015
2,7732014


1.19

Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants

2014

  • Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
NumberObservation Date
1.192014
1.412012


173

Total number of new asylum applications

2016

  • Total number of new asylum applications
NumberObservation Date
1732016
772014
1042012


0

Stateless persons

2016

  • Stateless persons
NumberObservation Date
02016
02015

International Law Expand all

Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
  11/19
International treaty reservations Show sources
NameReservation YearObservation Date
ICCPR Article 720002017
CAT Article 120002000
Individual complaints procedure Show sources
NameAcceptance Year
CEDAW, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 19992007
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted Show sources
NumberObservation Date
1/52017
Relevant recommendations issued by treaty bodies Show sources
NameRecommendation ExcerptRecommendation Year
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination§ 18 [...] The Committee recommends that asylum seekers be detained only when necessary, for a limited period of time, under other regulations than the Prisons Act and in accordance with UNHCR guidelines. The Committee also recommends to the State party that it recognize the right of asylumseekers to appeal the decision denying them refugee status before a judicial body.2006

Regional legal instruments Show sources
NameYear of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
ACHPR, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights1986
ACRWC, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child2001

Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review Show sources
Recomendation IssuedYear IssuedObservation Date
Yes20092017
No20132017

Institutions Expand all

Custodial authority Show sources
AgencyMinistryMinistry TypologyObservation Date
Department of Immigration and CitizenshipImmigration or Citizenship2008
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

Socio Economic Data Expand all

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD) Show sources
Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)Observation Date
7,1232014
7,3172013
Remittances to the country Show sources
Remittances to the country (in millions USD)Observation Date
482014
632011
Remittances from the country Show sources
Remittances from the country (in millions USD)Observation Date
962010
Unemployment Rate Show sources
Unemployment RateObservation Date
18.22014
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD) Show sources
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in USD)Observation Date
99.62014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP) Show sources
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)UNDP four-tiered rankingObservation Date
106Medium2015
109Medium2014

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