Botswana

Detains migrants or asylum seekers?

Yes

Has laws regulating migration-related detention?

Yes

Migration Detainee Entries

300

2021

Voluntary Returns & Forced Removals

230

2021

Refugees

754

2023

Asylum Applications

97

2023

Overview

(June 2009) 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.

Types of facilities used for migration-related detention
Administrative Ad Hoc Criminal Unknown

23 August 2022 – Botswana

Following its recent visit to Botswana, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) expressed serious concerns regarding the country’s punitive approach towards refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants. Having visited two detention sites, the Working Group urged Botswanan authorities to revise its policies to ensure that immigration detention is used as an exception, for the […]

Read More…

Global Detention Project and Lawyers for Human Rights, “Botswana: Submission to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention,” 27 June 2022, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/botswana-submission-to-the-un-working-group-on-arbitrary-detention

01 July 2022 – Botswana

In June 2022, the Global Detention Project (GDP) and Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) issued a joint-submission to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in preparation for its mission to Botswana from 4-15 July 2022 concerning issues related to immigration detention in Botswana. The submission highlights the gaps in the country’s national refugee legislation, lack […]

Read More…

Nursery School at the Dukwi Refugee Camp (A. Bouvier,

02 September 2020 – Botswana

Botswana, which has long operated a “Centre for Illegal Migrants” at Francistown near the border with Zimbabwe and a refugee camp in Dukwi, has struggled in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, repeatedly shutting down various regions of the country as cases have spread. While there appears to be little public information about whether measures […]

Read More…

Gerald Estates Centre for Illegal Immigrants, Google Maps, accessed on 2 September 2020, http://tiny.cc/tz7rsz
Last updated: June 2022

Immigration Detention in Botswana:

Submission to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

 

The Global Detention Project (GDP) and Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) are pleased to provide the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) this joint submission in preparation for the WGAD’s visit to Botswana on 4-15 July 2022. This submission concerns the detention of migrants and refugees. It addresses situations that mainly fall within the scope of the WGAD’s Category IV of types of arbitrary detention: “when asylum seekers, refugees or migrants are subjected to prolonged administrative custody without the possibility of administrative or judicial review or remedy.”

To assist the WGAD in undertaking a comprehensive analysis of the situation concerning arbitrary deprivation of liberty in Botswana, this submission describes the migration context of Botswana and provides a summary of relevant migration-related legislation and the facilities where non-citizens are detained.

LHR wishes to acknowledge the invaluable input of Skillshare Botswana and Bosa Bosele Training College in providing information to compile this submission.

1. CONTEXT AND KEY CONCERNS

 In 1968, two years after achieving independence, Botswana established a legal framework for the protection of refugees and asylum-seekers through the Refugees Recognition and Control Act (Refugees Act) which came into effect on 5 April 1968.[1] Nevertheless, the number of refugees recognised under the Refugees Act has decreased over the years. In 2020, the population of refugees in Botswana was reportedly 637[2]; in 2016, Botswana hosted 2,114 recognised refugees and 731 asylum-seekers. Most refugees are from Namibia and Zimbabwe, with some originating from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the DRC), Somalia, and other countries in Africa.[3]

Commentators have argued that the reasons for the decrease in the recognised refugee population is that Botswana lacks a comprehensive approach to migration and asylum that combines border management policies with a commitment to upholding international human rights and humanitarian standards.[4] Like many of its neighbours in southern Africa—including, notably, South Africa[5]—Botswana has emphasised security rationales in its treatment of undocumented non-citizens. This is partly driven by the misleading argument that migration and refugee challenges are destroying Botswana socio-economic stability. This narrative has spurred surging xenophobia, a phenomenon also seen in neighbouring South Africa.[6]

2. LEGAL FRAMEWORK 

Botswana acceded to the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1969. However, it adopted a number of reservations to both the Convention and the Protocol, including a reservation to article 7 on reciprocity. The effect on the reservation on reciprocity means that Botswana is not obliged to offer refugees the same treatment that is accorded generally to non-citizens that are in Botswana. This is the case despite the fact that refugees cannot avail themselves to their country of origin for protection. Furthermore, Botswana has made a made a reservation to article 31, which prohibits the imposition of penalties on refugees unlawfully in the country of refuge, as well as article 32, which prohibits the expulsion of refugees except on grounds of national security or public order.[7] Botswana also acceded to the OAU Convention Governing Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa in 1995.

Despite its adoption of these conventions, as a dualist country, Botswana must adopt implementing legislation before international treaties come into force.[8] However, no steps have since been taken nationally to incorporate these treaties into domestic law.

Botswana has also adopted many of the core human rights conventions, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). However, the country maintains a reservation on Article 7 of the treaty, which concerns the prohibition against torture. The Human Rights Committee has urged Botswana to withdraw the reservation because it is “incompatible with the objects and purposes of the Covenant.”[9]

Importantly, Botswana has yet to ratify the International Covenant on the Human Rights of Migrants Workers and Their Families (CMW), which provides important specific protections for migrant detainees as well as obligations on states. Also, although it has ratified the Convention against Torture (CAT), it has yet to ratify the Optional Protocol to CAT, which requires states to set up independent detention monitoring institution (National Preventative Mechanism).

Botswana’s domestic framework for the protection of refugees and migrants is well-established, with its policies codified under Botswana’s Refugees (Recognition and Control) Act of 1968.[10] In addition to the Refugees Act, the 1966 Constitution of Botswana, the Immigration Act 3 of 2011, the Geneva Conventions Act 28 of 1970, and other pieces of legislation affect the receipt and treatment of non-citizens in Botswana.[11] Botswana is in the process of adopting a new Refugee (Recognition and Control) Bill, which has proposed provisions that have raised concerns among human rights monitoring bodies (see below for more).

3. GROUNDS FOR DETENTION 

Botswana law provides both administrative detention measures, including for the detention of refugees in certain circumstances, as well as criminal penalties that can include potentially lengthy imprisonment for non-citizens convicted of migration-related offenses like unauthorised entry. It is worth recalling in this respect the WGAD’s Revised Deliberation No. 5 on the deprivation of liberty of migrants (2018), which states that migration infractions must not be subject to criminal penalties and calls for the prohibition of the detention of refugees, asylum seekers, and children, including unaccompanied or separated children.[12]

a. The Constitution of Botswana

While the Constitution of Botswana does not make any specific reference to the rights of migrants, the Constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention of every person in Botswana, including non-citizens.[13] Section 5(1) of the Constitution appears to provide a closed list that a person may be deprived of their personal liberty by law.[14] A person who is detained must be informed “as soon as reasonably practicable, in a language that he or she understands, of the reasons for his or her arrest or detention”.[15] Section 5(3) of the Constitution further provides that where someone is arrested or detained in execution of a court order or under reasonable suspicion of them having committed, or being about to commit a crime under Botswanan law and is not released, they must be brought as soon as is reasonably practicable before a court. If they are not tried within a reasonable time then they must be released either unconditionally or upon reasonable conditions.

Although not specifically related to detention, section 14(3)(b) of the Constitution does provide that restrictions on the freedom of movement can be placed upon anyone that is not a citizen of Botswana.

a.     The Refugees Act

The Refugees Act uses the terminology of "political refugee" which means “a person who, owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”[16]

Section 6 of the Refugees Act provides that where the Minister is still considering a person’s status as a political refugee and such person is liable to being removed from Botswana under the provisions of the Immigration Act, that person may not be removed from Botswana pending this determination. Further, such person may be detained for a period not exceeding 28 days. However, notwithstanding this, such a person will be allowed to depart from Botswana for the purpose of entering another country, subject to the conditions set out in section 7 of the Refugees Act.

Section 9 of the Refugees Act provides for instances where a recognised refugee can be removed from Botswana. It also provides for instances where pending such removal:

  • a recognised refugee might be detained; or
  • where in the opinion of the Minister the removal of such person is likely to be delayed, the Minister may, in his sole and absolute discretion, direct that the refugee will not be detained, but while they remain in Botswana be subject to a number of conditions, including where they may reside.[17]

In the Second Periodic Report submitted by Botswana to the Human Rights Committee, it reported that the Attorney General’s Chambers was currently drafting an updated Refugee Recognition and Control Bill. The Human Rights Committee recommended that Botswana ensure that this Bill is fully compliant with all international standards, including the ICCPR; provides for adequate safeguards against arbitrary detention, deportation and refoulment; and that the Botswanan government continued to cooperate and engage with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees during all stages of the drafting process.

The Human Rights Committee raised concerns about:  (a) reports of expulsions of migrants and asylum seekers, including those in need of international protection, without carrying out the necessary individual assessments; (b) reports of refusals to issue identification documents to asylum seekers, who risk being arrested and deported on account of lack of documentation; (c) reports that the majority of unsuccessful asylum applications have been rejected solely on the basis of the concepts of “first country of asylum” or “safe third country”; (d) reports of the mandatory and prolonged detention of asylum seekers at the Francistown Centre and the obligation for refugees to reside in the Dukwi camp, without access to the labour market outside the camp; and (e) the fact that current legislation governing citizenship does not provide adequate safeguards for the prevention of statelessness, including because it does not guarantee the acquisition of Botswana nationality for children born in Botswana or foundlings who would otherwise be stateless (arts. 2, 7, 9–10, 13 and 24).[18]

b. The Immigration Act

The Immigration Act provides for two types of detention: imprisonment related to punishment for criminal offences and detention of suspected prohibited immigrants.

Detention related to criminal offences under the Immigration Act

The following sections of the Immigration Act provide for a number of offences under the Immigration Act which may result in imprisonment. The most pertinent ones include:

  • In terms of section 4, a person who fails to enter through a port of entry or upon arrival present themselves immediately to an immigration officer is liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years;
  • In terms of section 7(3), a person leaving Botswana who does not present themselves to an immigration officer for examination or does not do certain things that an immigration officer may require of them in terms of section 7(2), is liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years;
  • In terms of section 56, a person who:
    • For purposes of entering or remaining in Botswana, in contravention of the Immigration Act, or any other law, or of assisting any other person so to enter or remain makes a false statement verbally or in writing, forges any certificate or document, other than any document mentioned in subsection (2), or who uses any such certificate or document knowing it to be forged, or utters or uses any certificate or document other than any document mentioned in subsection (2), which has not been issued by a lawful authority or which the person is not entitled to use; or (b) hinders or obstructs an authorised officer in the execution of his or her duties under this Act,
    • is in unlawful possession of or makes use of someone else’s permit, passport or other travel document belonging to another; provides his or her permit, passport or other travel document to any other person for unlawful use by such other person; or forges or unlawfully alters any permit, passport or other travel, commits an offence and is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both.  

Detention of suspected prohibited immigrants

The Immigration Act provides for the concept of a prohibited immigrant and defines such a person as including an immigrant who has been sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine in Botswana and has not received a free pardon,[19] or has been sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine in any other country for an offence which, if committed in Botswana, would be punishable with imprisonment without the option of a fine.[20]

In terms of section 43 of the Immigration Act, a person suspected of being a prohibited immigrant may be detained by an immigration officer for a reasonable period not exceeding 14 days for purposes of identity verification.[21] An immigration officer who detains such a person must within a period of 7 days, report such detention to the Minister.[22] Where certain classes of persons suspected are detained and the Minister requires further time for the completion of the inquiries, the Minister may, by order, direct that the person be detained for a further period, not exceeding 14 days at a time.[23]

A person may be detained in the nearest convenient prison[24] and if they are not serving a sentence of imprisonment will be treated as a person awaiting trial.[25]

The law requires authorities to inform suspects of their rights upon arrest, including the right to remain silent, and to file charges before a magistrate within 48 hours. Authorities generally respected these rights. There have been no reports of denial of a suspect's right to an attorney during the first 48 hours after arrest and arraignment before a magistrate. A magistrate may order a suspect held for 14 days through a writ of detention, which may be renewed every 14 days. The law provides for a prompt judicial determination of the legality of a person's detention. Heavy court caseloads occasionally delayed this determination. Authorities generally inform detainees of the reason for their detention, although there were some complaints this did not always occur. There is a functioning bail system, and detention without bail is unusual except in murder cases, where it is mandatory. Detainees have the right to contact a family member and hire attorneys of their choice, but most could not afford legal counsel[26].

Existing domestic laws relating to immigration, such as the Refugees Act, are still considered to not be comprehensive enough as they are based on a control-orientated approach as opposed to being protection-oriented towards refugees and migrants. As a result, Botswana’s Refugee Act is devoid of many refugee rights contained in international treaties and conventions.[27]

4. PLACES OF DETENTION AND CONDITIONS                                                                                                                          

There are two main sites of deprivation of liberty of migrants and refugees: The Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants (FCII) and the Dukwi Refugee Camp. Both facilities have been the subject of repeated criticism and concern from human rights monitoring bodies. During its 2021 review of Botswana, the Human Rights Committee noted “reports of the mandatory and prolonged detention of asylum seekers at the Francistown Centre and the obligation for refugees to reside in the Dukwi camp.”[28] 

The FCII is designated specifically for detaining and processing asylum and immigration claims by individuals who enter the country without authorisation. In addition, a country report compiled by the UNHCR in 2017 reported that children are also detained at the FCII.[29] The Committee on the Rights of the Child has called on Botswana to end migration-related detention of children. During its 2019 review of the country, the CRC stated:

61. Recalling joint general comments No. 3 and No. 4 (2017) of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families/No. 22 and No. 23 (2017) of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the human rights of children in the context of international migration, the Committee urges the State party to:

(a) Prohibit the detention of refugee and asylum-seeking children and adopt alternatives to detention in order to allow children to remain with family members and/or guardians in non-custodial, community-based contexts, consistent with their best interests and their rights to liberty and a family environment.[30]

Once refugee status is granted, Botswana also has a strict encampment policy in that all registered refugees must reside in the Dukwi Refugee Camp located in northern Botswana. Only in exceptional cases are refugees provided with residence permits to remain outside of the camp,[31] specifically to allow them access to higher education and means of livelihood.[32]

There have been a number of reported allegations of serious abuse and poor conditions in Francistown:

  • There have been reports of murder and rape, including that of children, lack of access to adequate healthcare, and violent suppressions of protests by operatives, including instigators being sent to Francistown maximum security prison;[33]
  • In 2021, a fire damaged the Francistown Prison, resulting in some prisoners being held in FCII in separate areas from asylum seekers and migrants.[34] It was also reported that during 2021, the Francistown Prison was used as a COVID-19 quarantine centre for new inmates on remand before being transferred to FCII, with FCII holding both prisoners and asylum seekers and migrants.[35] The WGAD’s Deliberation No. 11 on prevention of arbitrary deprivation of liberty in the context of public health emergencies (Deliberation 11) bears noting in this context, specifically the recommendation that states should seek to reduce prison populations and other detention populations wherever possible by implementing schemes of early, provisional or temporary release for those detainees for whom it is safe to do so.

Following from this, there have also been a number of cases heard in the Botswanan Courts relating to detention at the FCII, especially as they relate to arbitrary deprivation of liberty. 

  • In Sefu and Others v The Attorney General of Botswana,[36] the petitioners were moved from Dukwi Refugee Camp and detained at Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants on 30 March 2005. They alleged that their detention was occasioned by a suspicion that they had committed a criminal offence. They petitioned to the court to be admitted to bail and for a declaration that their detention for over 48 hours without a warrant was unlawful. However, owing to the undocumented status of the migrants, the court found their detention to be lawful in terms of section 14 of the Immigration Act of 1966 (the Immigration Act in effect at the time of the ruling) and therefore there was no basis on which it may declare that the petitioners’ detention at the FCII was unlawful. This case is indicative of how highly bureaucratised “refugee recognition” in the country is and moreover, how administrative barriers to access documentation is likely to create obstacles for migrants seeking formal recognition and potentially result in their face detention.
  • In 2017, South African newspapers reported on a case wherein 164 refugees detained at the FCII petitioned the Francistown High Court for release and their return to their countries of origin. They purportedly complained about the conditions at the FCII and argued that they had been unlawfully detained for a longer period than permitted under refugee law. Although the High Court ordered the transfer to the Dukwi Refugee Camp, this was later overturned on appeal as the appeal court found that the parties were illegal immigrants who were not entitled to protection under Botswanan law.[37]
  • Also in 2017, the High Court ordered the release of two Somali asylum-seekers who arrived in Botswana in 2014 who had been detained in the FCII since being denied refugee status in October 2015. Following their release, they were taken into custody at the Tlokweng police station after attempting to enter the Dukwi Refugee Camp. They were thereafter declared to be prohibited immigrants and were allegedly subsequently detained at a prison in Gaborone, from where they were deported.[38]

It is worth noting that the Human Rights Committee expressed concern that there was no independent, effective, and accessible mechanism to receive and investigate complaints of torture and ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty.[39] Accordingly, this means that there is no independent oversight of places of detention and the conditions of these places of detention.

5. RECOMMENDATIONS 

We encourage the WGAD to make the following recommendations to Botswana during its visit:

  • Withdraw its reservations to Articles 7, 31, and 32 of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees and incorporate these treaties into national law.
  • Prioritise the finalising of its new Refugee Bill and ensure that it is compliant with its legal obligations under international human rights law, including the ICCPR; provide for adequate safeguards against arbitrary detention, deportation, and refoulment; and continue to cooperate and engage with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees during all stages of the drafting process.
  • Implement the recommendations of the Human Rights Committee as they relate to establishing an independent institution mandated to visit and monitor places of deprivation of liberty and ensure that all such places are subject to independent, effective, and regular monitoring and inspection without prior notice and on an unsupervised basis.
  • Ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
  • Withdraw the reservation to Article 7 of the Convention against Torture concerning the prohibition against torture.
  • Consider non-custodial “alternatives to detention” for all persons who are placed in an administrative detention procedure to ensure that their detention is non-arbitrary, as well as absolutely necessary and proportionate in all cases.  
  • Adopt regulations that prohibit the detention of all at-risk individuals, including children, families, victims of torture, refugees, pregnant women, persons with disabilities, among others.
  • End the criminal prosecution of people for immigration-related infractions.
  • Ensure that the conditions of detention meet the highest possible standards and that people in any form of migration detention—including at the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants and the Dukwi Refugee Camp—receive equal access to healthcare as the rest of society.
  • Ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families.

SEE ALSO:


[1] Bonolo Ramadi Dinokopila, “Socio-economic rights of refugees in Botswana: Towards an enabling legal framework,” Protection Frameworks for Refugee and Migrants in Southern Africa, February 2018, p 73, https://www.southernafricalitigationcentre.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Protecting-Refugees-draft3.pdf

[2] The World Bank, “Refugee population by country or territory of asylum – Botswana”, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SM.POP.REFG?locations=BW [accessed 12 June 2022].

[3] UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNHCR Submission on Botswana: 29th UPR session , January 2018, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/5b0813b44.html [accessed 12 June 2022].

[4] Kate Lefko-Everett, ‘Migration Policy Institute ‘Botswana’s Changing Migration Patterns’ 2004 https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/botswanas-changing-migration-patterns [accessed 10 June 2022].

[5] See, for example. Global Detention Project, “Immigration Detention in South Africa: Stricter Control of Administrative Detention, Increasing Criminal Enforcement of Migration,” June 2021, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/immigration-detention-in-south-africa-stricter-control-of-administrative-detention-increasing-criminal-enforcement-of-migration

[6] Id.

[7] Dr Elizabeth Macharia-Mokobi & Jimcall Pfumorodze ‘Advancing refugee protection in Botswana through improved refugee status determination’ African Human Rights Journal (2013) http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1996-20962013000100008#:~:text=Botswana%20has%20also%20made%20a,by%20his%20country%20of%20residence, accessed 22 June 2022.

[8] Dr Elizabeth Macharia-Mokobi ‘Uganda’s Refugee Act of 2006: Lessons for Botswana’ Protection Frameworks for Refugees and Migrants in Southern Africa South African Litigation Centre (2018).

[9] Human Rights Committee , “Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Botswana,” 24 November 2021, https://uhri.ohchr.org/Document/File/1475e6c7-c190-47e8-af99-a170bac8f437/2F2D9D59-90DE-4822-9ABC-516010D63FCD

[10] Botswana: Refugees (Recognition and Control) Act of 1968 [], Cap. 25:03, 5 April 1968, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b4d60.html [accessed 12 June 2022] (the Refugees Act).

[11] Bonolo Ramadi Dinokopila ‘Socio-economic rights of refugees in Botswana’ Towards an enabling legal framework’ Protection Frameworks for Refugees and Migrants in Southern Africa, Southern African Litigation Centre (2018).

[12] https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G18/196/69/PDF/G1819669.pdf?OpenElement

[13] Section 3 of the Constitution of Botswana provides that:

[E]very person in Botswana is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his or her race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest to each and all of the following, namely—

a. life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;

b. freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association; and

c. protection for the privacy of his or her home and other property and from deprivation of property without compensation,

the provisions of this Chapter shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any individual does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.

[14] The list includes the following instances when a person may be deprived of their personal liberty as may be authorized by law including:

a. in execution of the sentence or order of a court, whether established for Botswana or some other country, in respect of a criminal offence of which he or she has been convicted;

b. in execution of the order of a court of record punishing him or her for contempt of that or another court;

e. upon reasonable suspicion of his or her having committed, or being about to commit, a criminal offence under the law in force in Botswana;

i. for the purpose of preventing the unlawful entry of that person into Botswana, or for the purpose of effecting the expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal of that person from Botswana, or for the purpose of restricting that person while he or she is being conveyed through Botswana in the course of his or her extradition or removal as a convicted prisoner from one country to another;

j. to such extent as may be necessary in the execution of a lawful order requiring that person to remain within a specified area within Botswana or prohibiting him or her from being within such an area, or to such extent as may be reasonably justifiable for the taking of proceedings against that person relating to the making of any such order, or to such extent as may be reasonably justifiable for restraining that person during any visit that he or she is permitted to make to any part of Botswana in which, in consequence of any such order, his or her presence would otherwise be unlawful.”

[15] Section 5(2) of the Constitution.

[16] 1 of Schedule to the Refugees Act.

[17] Section 9(2) of the Refugees Act.

[18] Human Rights Committee , “Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Botswana,” 24 November 2021, https://uhri.ohchr.org/Document/File/1475e6c7-c190-47e8-af99-a170bac8f437/2F2D9D59-90DE-4822-9ABC-516010D63FCD

[19] Section 41(1)(a) of the Immigration Act.

[20] Section 41(1)(b) of the Immigration Act.

[21] Section 43(1) of the Immigration Act.

[22] Section 43(2) of the Immigration Act.

[23] Section 43(3) of the Immigration Act.

[24] Section 43(4) of the Immigration Act.

[25] Section 43(7) of the Immigration Act.

 [26] United States Department of State ‘Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- Botswana’ 2017 https://www.refworld.org/country,,,,BWA,456d621e2,58ec8a6713,0.html [accessed 11 June 2022]

[27] Ibid.

[28] Human Rights Committee, “Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Botswana,” 24 November 2021, https://uhri.ohchr.org/Document/File/1475e6c7-c190-47e8-af99-a170bac8f437/2F2D9D59-90DE-4822-9ABC-516010D63FCD

[29] UNHCR (note 3).

[30] Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Concluding observations on the combined second and third reports of Botswana,” June 2019, https://uhri.ohchr.org/Document/File/4dedbad5-e844-4983-a65f-7352cd69d3de/4A62E676-CA2C-448D-A0D5-9446DBD083DB

[31] United States Department of State, 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Botswana, F. Protection of Refugees,

https://www.state.gov/reports/2021-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/botswana/, Accessed at 13 June 2022.

[32] “Govt May Scrap Refugee Encampment Policy”, The Botswana Gazette,

https://www.thegazette.news/news/govt-may-scrap-refugee-encampment-policy/ [accessed 12 June 2022].

It must however be noted that the Botswanan government is of the view that the Dukwi Refugee Camp is not considered to be enclosed, nor is it considered to be a place for indefinitely detaining arrested refugees and asylum-seekers. See Human Rights Committee, “Second periodic report submitted by Botswana under article 40 of the Covenant pursuant to the optional reporting procedure, due in 2019”, 17 November 2020,

https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G20/311/36/PDF/G2031136.pdf?OpenElement

[33] Ntibinyane Ntibinyane, ‘Prisoners of injustice’, Mail and Guardian, 5 January 2018,
https://mg.co.za/article/2018-01-05-prisoners-of-injustice/, accessed at 12 June 2022.

[34] United States Department of State ‘Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- Botswana’ 2020 https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/BOTSWANA-2020-HUMAN-RIGHTS-REPORT.pdf [accessed 11 June 2022].

[35] Lebogang Mosikare, ‘COVID-19 Hits F/Town Prison, Paralyses Justice System’, The Monitor, 2 August 2021,

https://www.pressreader.com/botswana/the-monitor-4753/20210802/281569473771837 , [accessed 13 June 2022].

[36] (Criminal Application No. F46 of 2005) [2005] BWHC 65 (10 June 2005).

[37] Ntibinyane (note 26).

[38] Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2017/18 - Botswana, 22 February 2018, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/5a99393da.html [accessed 13 June 2022].

[39] Human Rights Committee (note 28).

[40] Where partners have consented to their contact details being shared, such details have been included.

DETENTION STATISTICS

Migration Detainee Entries
Not Available
2021
Not Available
2020
Alternative Total Migration Detainee Entries
Not Available
2021
Not Available
2020
Total Migration Detainees (Entries + Remaining from previous year)
300
2021
Not Available
2020
Not Available
2019
149
2017
Alternative Total Migration Detainees
Not Available
2021
Not Available
2020
Reported Detainee Population (Day)
Not Available Not Available
2021
Not Available Not Available
2020
Average Daily Detainee Population (year)
Not Available
2021
Not Available
2020
Immigration Detainees as Percentage of Total Migrant population (Year)
Not Available
2021
Not Available
2020

DETAINEE DATA

Countries of Origin (Year)
2021
2020
Congo (Kinshasa)
2015
Number of Asylum Seekers Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
511
2015
63
2008
Number of Women Placed in Immigration Detention (year)
0
2021
0
2020
65
2017
Total Number of Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
70
2018
65
2017
271
2017
431
2014
Number of Unaccompanied Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
Number of Accompanied Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
Number of Stateless Persons Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
Number of Deaths in Immigration Custody (year)
0
2021
0
2020
1
2017
1
2016
Cases of Self-Harming and Suicide Attempts in Immigration Custody (Year)
0
2021
0
2020

DETENTION CAPACITY

Total Immigration Detention Capacity
0
2021
0
2020
Immigration Detention Capacity (Specialised Immigration Facilities Only)
0
2020
504
2017
Number of Dedicated Immigration Detention Centres
0
2020
1
2007
1
2002

ALTERNATIVES TO DETENTION

Number of Detainees Referred to ATDs (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
27
2008
Official ATD Absconder Rate (Percentage)(Year)
0
2021
0
2020
Number of People in ATDs on Given Day
0
2021
0
2020

ADDITIONAL ENFORCEMENT DATA

Percentage of Detainees Released (year)
0
2021
0
2020
Percentage of Detainees Deported (year)
0
2021
0
2020
Number of Deportations/Forced Removals (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
29,000
2018
Number of Voluntary Returns & Deportations (Year)
230
2021
280
2020
Percentage of Removals v. Total Removal Orders (Year)
2021
2020
Number of People Refused Entry (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
Number of Apprehensions of Non-Citizens (Year)
0
2021
0
2020

PRISON DATA

Criminal Prison Population (Year)
3,882
2021
0
2020
4,343
2017
3,960
2015
4,241
2012
5,063
2010
6,074
2007
6,105
2004
6,042
2001
6,455
1998
Percentage of Foreign Prisoners (Year)
13.5
2021
2020
31.6
2014
22.6
2009
Prison Population Rate (per 100,000 of National Population)
162
2021
0
2020
208
2017
193
2015
205
2012
251
2010
315
2007
328
2004
336
2001
377
1998

POPULATION DATA

Population (Year)
2,700,000
2023
2,400,000
2021
2,400,000
2020
2,262,000
2015
2,100,000
2012
International Migrants (Year)
110,268
2020
110,268
2020
110,596
2019
160,600
2015
146,500
2013
International Migrants as Percentage of Population (Year)
4.69
2020
7.1
2015
7.2
2013
Estimated Undocumented Population (Year)
Not Available (Not Available)
2021
Not Available (Not Available)
2020
Not Available (Not Available)
2012
Refugees (Year)
754
2023
688
2021
637
2020
1,113
2019
2,047
2018
2,119
2017
2,114
2016
2,130
2015
2,773
2014
Ratio of Refugees Per 1000 Inhabitants (Year)
0.29
2021
0.27
2020
0.91
2016
1.19
2014
1.41
2012
Asylum Applications (Year)
97
2023
281
2021
334
2020
21
2019
173
2016
470
2015
77
2014
104
2012
Number of People Granted Temporary Protection Status (Year)
Not Available
2021
Not Available
2020
Refugee Recognition Rate (Year)
Not Available
2021
Not Available
2020
3
2015
Stateless Persons (Year)
0
2022
Not Available
2021
0
2020
0
2016
0
2015

SOCIO-ECONOMIC DATA & POLLS

Gross Domestic Product per Capita (in USD)
7,347.6
2021
6,711
2020
7,123
2014
7,317
2013
Remittances to the Country (in USD)
41
2021
67
2020
54
2019
48
2014
63
2011
Remittances From the Country (in USD)
164
2020
69
2019
96
2010
Unemployment Rate
25
2021
18
2020
2014
Unemployment Rate Amongst Migrants
2021
2020
Net Official Development Assistance (ODA) (in Millions USD)
78,709.99
2020
68.86
2019
99.6
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
117 (Medium)
2021
97 (High)
2020
100 (High)
2019
106 (Medium)
2015
109 (Medium)
2014
Integration Index Score
2021
2020
43
2019
World Bank Rule of Law Index
68 (0.48)
2021
65 (0.41)
2020
69 (0.5)
2019
Domestic Opinion Polls on Immigration
2021
2020
Pew Global Attitudes Poll on Immigration
2021
2020

LEGAL & REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

Does the Country Detain People for Migration, Asylum, or Citizenship Reasons?
Yes
2022
Yes
1968
Does the Country Have Specific Laws that Provide for Migration-Related Detention?
Yes
2023
Yes
2011
Detention-Related Legislation
Refugee Act of 5 April 1968 (1968) 1970
1968
Immigration Act of 1966 (1966) 1975
1966
Constitution of Botswana, 1966 (1966) 2006
1966
Botswana Immigration Act (Act No. 3 of 2011) (2011)
2011
Do Migration Detainees Have Constitutional Guarantees?
Yes (Constitution of Botswana, 1966: Chapter II - Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual) 1966 2006
1966
Additional Legislation
Freedom of Information Bill, 2010 (2010)
2010
Extradition Act 18 of 1990 (1990)
1990
Regulations, Standards, Guidelines
Immigration (Points of Entry) Order (1978)
1978
Immigration (Exemption) Order (1975)
1975
Immigration (Transfer of Minister's Powers) Order (1983)
1983
Refugees (Recognition and Control) Regulations (1968)
1968
Expedited/Fast Track Removal
Yes
2019
Yes
1968
Summary Removal/Pushbacks
In Law: Yes
1966
Re-Entry Ban
Yes
2011
Legal Tradition(s)
Civil law
2017
Common law
2017

GROUNDS FOR DETENTION

Immigration-Status-Related Grounds
Detention for unauthorised entry or stay
2011
Detention to establish/verify identity and nationality
2011
Detention to effect removal
2011
Detention during the asylum process
1968
Non-Immigration-Status-Related Grounds in Immigration Legislation
Detention on health-related grounds
1966
Detention on public order, threats or security grounds
1966
Criminal Penalties for Immigration-Related Violations
Yes (Yes)
2011
Grounds for Criminal Immigration-Related Incarceration / Maximum Length of Incarceration
Unauthorized entry (14)
2011
Unauthorized re-entry (3650)
2011
Unauthorised stay (365)
2011
Has the Country Decriminalised Immigration-Related Violations?
No
1966
Children & Other Vulnerable Groups
Refugees (Provided)
1968
Persons with disabilities (Provided) Not available
1966
Mandatory Detention
Yes (Undocumented non-citizens with criminal records)
1966

LENGTH OF DETENTION

Maximum Length of Administrative Immigration Detention
Number of Days: 28
2011
Average Length of Immigration Detention
2017
Maximum Length of Detention of Asylum-Seekers
Number of Days: 28
1968
Average Length of Asylum Detention
Number: 186
2017
Recorded Length of Immigration Detention
2022
2017
Maximum Length in Custody Prior to Detention Order
Number of Days: 14
1966
Maximum Length of Detention at Port of Entry
Number of Days: 1460
1966
Maximum Length of Incarceration for Immigration-Related Criminal Conviction
Number of Days: 365
1966

DETENTION INSTITUTIONS

Custodial Authorities
(Department of Immigration and Citizenship) Immigration or Citizenship
2008
Apprehending Authorities
Botswana Police Force (Police)
1979
Detention Facility Management
Botswana Prison Service (Governmental)
1980
Formally Designated Detention Estate?
Yes (Dedicated immigration detention facilities)
2017
Types of Detention Facilities Used in Practice
Immigration detention centre (Administrative)
Immigration detention centre (Ad hoc)
2021
Immigration detention centre (Administrative)
Immigration detention centre (Ad hoc)
2015

PROCEDURAL STANDARDS & SAFEGUARDS

Procedural Standards
Right to legal counsel (Yes) Yes
2019
Duration of Time between Detention Reviews (Day)
Number of Days: 3
1966
Legal Appeals (Year)
Number of appeals during year: 202
Number of successful appeals during year: 17
2015
Are Non-Custodial Measures/Alternatives to Detention (ATDs) Provided in Law?
Immigration Law: Yes
Asylum/Refugee Law: Yes
1966
Does the Law Stipulate Consideration of Non-Custodial Measures (ATDs) before Imposing Detention?
Immigration Law: No
Asylum/Refugee Law: No
1966
Types of Non-Custodial Measures (ATDs) Provided in Law
Registration (deposit of documents) (Yes)
1968
Home detention (curfew) (Yes)
1966
Registration (deposit of documents) (Yes)
1966
Access to Detainees
Lawyer: Yes
NGOs: Yes
International Monitors: Yes
Consular Representatives: Limited or Some Detention Centres Only
2019
Recouping Detention or Removal Costs
Unknown
1966

COSTS & OUTSOURCING

COVID-19 DATA

TRANSPARENCY

Transparency Score on Migration-Related Detention
Mixed, Reforms Needed
2021
Publicly Accessible List of Detention Centres?
Yes
2002
Publicly Accessible Statistics on Numbers of People Detained?
No
2016
Disaggregated Detention Data?
Not Applicable
2016
Access to Information Legislation?
Partial
2011

MONITORING

Types of Authorised Detention Monitoring Institutions
The Office of the Ombudsman, Botswana (National Human Rights Institution (or Ombudsperson) (NHRI))
2020
International Committee of the Red Cross (International or Regional Bodies (IRBs))
2019
Administration of Justice (Judiciary organs)
2011
Visiting Committee (International or Regional Bodies (IRBs))
1980
Insitutions that Can Make Unannounced Visits
None
2015
Visiting Committee
1980

NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MONITORING BODIES

National Human Rights Institution (NHRI)
Yes (The Office of the Ombudsman, Botswana) No Yes

NATIONAL PREVENTIVE MECHANISMS (OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO UN CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE)

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS (NGOs)

GOVERNMENTAL MONITORING BODIES

INTERNATIONAL DETENTION MONITORING

International Monitoring Bodies that Carry Out Detention Monitoring Visits
2019
International monitoring reports on migration-related detention
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Annual Report 2016: Pretoria (Regional)
2016

INTERNATIONAL TREATIES & TREATY BODIES

International Treaties Ratified
Ratification Year
Observation Date
ICERD, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
1974
CEDAW, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
1996
CAT, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
2000
CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child
1995
CRSR, Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
1969
PCRSR, Protocol to the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
1969
CTOCTP, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children
2002
CTOCSP, Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
2002
VCCR, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
2008
ICCPR, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
2000
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Ratio: 10/19
Treaty Reservations
Reservation Year
Observation Date
CAT Article 1 2000
2000
ICCPR Article 7 2000
2000
CRSR Article 4 1969
1969
CRSR Article 31 1969
1969
Individual Complaints Procedures
Acceptance Year
CEDAW, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 1999 2007
2007
Ratio of Complaints Procedures Accepted
Observation Date
1/5
2017
Relevant Recommendations or Observations Issued by Treaty Bodies
Recommendation Year
Observation Date
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
2006
Committee on the Rights of the Child § 61. "Recalling joint general comments No. 3 and No. 4 (2017) of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families/No. 22 and No. 23 (2017) of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the human rights of children in the context of international migration, the Committee urges the State party to: (a) Prohibit the detention of refugee and asylum-seeking children and adopt alternatives to detention in order to allow children to remain with family members and/or guardians in non-custodial, community-based contexts, consistent with their best interests and their rights to liberty and a family environment; (b) Strengthen measures to ensure full access of all asylum-seeking and refugee children to health services and education" 2019
2019
Committee on the Rights of the Child § 61. Urges the State party to; (a) Prohibit the detention of refugee and asylum-seeking children and adopt alternatives to detention in order to allow children to remain with family members and/or guardians in non-custodial, community-based contexts, consistent with their best interests and their rights to liberty and a family environment; (b) Strengthen measures to ensure full access of all asylum-seeking and refugee children to health services and education. 2019
2019
Global Detention Project and Partner Submissions to Treaty Bodies
Date of Submission
Observation Date
2022 https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/botswana-joint-submission-to-the-committee-on-the-elimination-of-racial-discrimination Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) 108th Session (14 November – 2 December 2022) State Report Pending
2022
2022

> UN Special Procedures

Relevant Recommendations or Observations by UN Special Procedures
Recommendation Year
Observation Date
Working Group on arbitrary detention The Working Group expressed serious concern over Botswana’s policy to automatically detain irregular migrants, often indefinitely and in dire conditions. “Detention in the course of migration must be an exception and is only permissible for the shortest period of time, following an individualised assessment of the need to detain,” the experts said. They called upon the Government to provide durable, human rights-based solutions for all migrants in Botswana. 2022
2022
2022
Global Detention Project and Partner Submissions to UN Special Procedures
Date of Submission
Observation Date
2022 https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/botswana-submission-to-the-un-working-group-on-arbitrary-detention Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) Working Group on arbitrary detention Pending
2022
2022

> UN Universal Periodic Review

Relevant Recommendations or Observations from the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2013
2017
Yes 2009

> Global Compact for Migration (GCM)

> Global Compact on Refugees (GCR)

REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Regional Legal Instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
Observation Date
ACHPR, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights 1986
1986
2017
ACRWC, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child 2001
2001
2017

HEALTH CARE PROVISION

Provision of Healthcare in Detention Centres
Limited or Some Detention Centres Only
2019
Medical Screening upon Arrival at Detention Centres (within 48 hours)
No
1980
Psychological Evaluation upon Arrival at Detention Centres
Yes
1980
Doctor on Duty at Detention Centres
At least once a week
1980
Nurse on Duty at Detention Centres
Unknown
1980
Psychologist Visits to Detention Centres
Unknown
1980

HEALTH IMPACTS

COVID-19

Country Updates
Following its recent visit to Botswana, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) expressed serious concerns regarding the country’s punitive approach towards refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants. Having visited two detention sites, the Working Group urged Botswanan authorities to revise its policies to ensure that immigration detention is used as an exception, for the shortest period of time, and following an individualised assessment of the need to detain. The UN body also urged the country to improve detention conditions and cease the detention of children and families. After its visit to the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants—a detention centre that closely resembles a prison and is staffed by prison officers—the WGAD noted: “[Detainees’] desperate plight was plain to see. The Group was appalled by their conditions of detention, with lock-up time around 4:30 pm when people are confined to the blocks. There are no purposeful activities and provision for children, especially in relation to education, is lacking. There were numerous credible accounts of widespread violence, including sexual violence involving children.” To assist the Working Group during preparations for its visit to Botswana, the GDP and South Africa-based Lawyers for Human Rights issued a joint submission highlighting immigration detention concerns in the country. The joint submission, which also benefitted from information and assistance from Bosa Bosele Training College and Skillshare Botswana, highlighted how the country’s treatment of detained non-nationals violates norms provided in international human rights treaties, which were reiterated in the WGAD’s 2018 Revised Deliberation No. 5 on the deprivation of liberty of migrants. Many of the concerns highlighted in this joint submission are included in the Working Group’s Preliminary Findings. In response to these findings, Lawyers for Human Rights’ Nabeelah Mia said: “The conditions in which refugees and migrants are confined in Botswana are not in accordance with human rights’ standards. We are pleased to see the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention repeating our concerns and suggestions, and sincerely hope that the country urgently follows the Working Group’s recommendations to ensure respect for the rights of non-nationals.”
In June 2022, the Global Detention Project (GDP) and Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) issued a joint-submission to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in preparation for its mission to Botswana from 4-15 July 2022 concerning issues related to immigration detention in Botswana. The submission highlights the gaps in the country’s national refugee legislation, lack of ratification of key international human rights treaties, and problems in the two main sites of deprivation of liberty of migrants and refugees--the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants and Dukwi Refugee Camp. The GDP and LHR encouraged the Working Group to make several recommendations, including: (a) “Prioritise the finalising of its new Refugee Bill and ensure that it is compliant with its legal obligations under international human rights law…”; (b) “Ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”; (c) “Ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families”; (d) “Withdraw the reservation to Article 7 of the Convention against Torture concerning the prohibition against torture”; and (e) “Ensure that the conditions of detention meet the highest possible standards and that people in any form of migration detention - including at the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants and the Dukwi Refugee Camp - received equal access to healthcare as the rest of society.” The submission also brings attention to a number of reported allegations of serious abuse and poor conditions in Francistown maximum security prison and the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants. There have been reports of murder and rape, including of children, as well as lack of access to adequate healthcare, and violent suppressions of protests by operatives, including instigators being sent to Francistown maximum security prison. In 2021, a fire damaged the Francistown Prison, resulting in some prisoners being held in the Centre for Illegal Immigrants (FCII) in separate areas from asylum seekers and migrants. It was also reported that during 2021, the Francistown Prison was used as a COVID-19 quarantine centre for new inmates on remand before being transferred to the FCII, with FCII holding prisoners, asylum seekers and migrants. On 24 July 2021, 100 detainees out of around 300 tested positive for COVID-19, posing a serious danger to other prisoners as the FCII is overcrowded. According to UNHCR data, there were 617 refugees and 422 asylum seekers in the country in 2020; in 2021, there were 688 refugees and 58 asylum seekers. While Botswana is a signatory to the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, it maintains a number of reservations to both the Convention and the Protocol, including a reservation to Article 7 on reciprocity. In effect, this means that Botswana is not obliged to offer refugees the same treatment that is accorded generally to non-citizens that are in Botswana. The country has also made a reservation to Article 31, prohibiting the imposition of penalties on refugees unlawfully in the country of refuge, as well as Article 32, which prohibits the expulsion of refugees except on grounds of national security or public order.
Botswana, which has long operated a “Centre for Illegal Migrants” at Francistown near the border with Zimbabwe and a refugee camp in Dukwi, has struggled in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, repeatedly shutting down various regions of the country as cases have spread. While there appears to be little public information about whether measures were implemented at the Centre for Illegal Migrants to prevent the spread of the infection, UNHCR has provided some details about the situation at the Dukwi camp. The UN refugee agency reports that since 1 April, more than 1,000 of refugees living in the camp have “benefited from risk communication and upgraded health and sanitation systems, in line with the international guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” There has also been some information about Covid-19 response in prisons. Prison visits were suspended on 24 March and resumed on 1 June. According to one press account, when she announced the resumption of some services at prisons, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Justice, and Security Matshidiso Bokole said that although “prison visits would commence” they would be “restricted to one visitor per prisoner per day for remands and illegal immigrants, while convicts would be allowed one visitor per month” (Botswana Daily News, 1 June 2020). The government announced the release of more than a hundred prisoners in mid April. A month later, 15 Zimbabwean prisoners were released and deported to Zimbabwe. During a 24 July 2020 press conference, the prison commission said that currently there were “3,729 inmates and two kids, against the prisons’ holding capacity of 4,337 and this gave an under crowding status of 14 per cent, which enabled them to observe the Covid-19 safety regulations” (Botswana Daily News, 26 July 2020).
Did the country release immigration detainees as a result of the pandemic?
Yes
2020
Did the country use legal "alternatives to detention" as part of pandemic detention releases?
Yes
2020
Did the country Temporarily Cease or Restrict Issuing Detention Orders?
No
2020
Did the Country Adopt These Pandemic-Related Measures for People in Immigration Detention?
Yes
2020
Did the Country Lock-Down Previously "Open" Reception Facilities, Shelters, Refugee Camps, or Other Forms of Accommodation for Migrant Workers or Other Non-Citizens?
Yes
2020
Were cases of COVID-19 reported in immigration detention facilities or any other places used for immigration detention purposes?
Yes
2021
Did the Country Cease or Restrict Deportations/Removals During any Period After the Onset of the Pandemic?
No
2020
Did the Country Release People from Criminal Prisons During the Pandemic?
Yes
2020
Did Officials Blame Migrants, Asylum Seekers, or Refugees for the Spread of COVID-19?
Unknown
2021
Did the Country Restrict Access to Asylum Procedures?
Unknown
2021
Did the Country Commence a National Vaccination Campaign?
Yes
2021
Were Populations of Concern Included/Excluded From the National Vaccination Campaign?
Unknown (Unknown) Unknown Unknown Unknown
2021