Congo (Democratic Republic)

Not Available

Immigration detainees


Not Available

Detained children



New asylum applications









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

12 October 2020

WPF Staff Member Standing Behind Checkpoint, (Ben Anguandia, WFP,
WPF Staff Member Standing Behind Checkpoint, (Ben Anguandia, WFP, "With Conflict and Covid-19 Deepening Hunger in the Democratic Republic of Congo, More Help is Needed to Save Millions of Lives," 14 August 2020,

As of 12 October 2020, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) had detected 10,851 cases of COVID-19 and recorded 276 deaths due to the disease. In addition to outbreaks of cholera, the Ebola virus, and measles, the country now has to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that “this latest crisis, whose socio-economic and health consequences will be felt for some time, is overloading systems of health care and essential services that are already struggling, particularly in the east of the country where armed violence and conflict continues to exact a heavy toll on the local population.” The World Food Programme (WFP) estimated that four in ten of DRC’s 100 millions people are food insecure, with 15.6 million suffering “crisis” or “emergency” hunger.

According to the UNHCR, following the fifth extension of the state of emergency on 4 July, 14 provinces are now affected by the virus, with notable numbers of cases in the eastern provinces of South Kivu (141 cases) and North Kivu (106 cases), which host refugees and internally displaced persons. UNHCR said that there were growing fears that COVID-19 may also reach refugee-hosting areas of northern DRC.

The UN Refugee Agency also reported that in early June, there were repeated incursions by the South Sudanese army into refugee-hosting areas in DRC despite border closures, leading refugees and locals to flee. On 17 and 18 May, around 45,000 people had attempted to flee towards the Ugandan border with the DRC shortly after deadly militia attacks on civilians in Ituri province. Many have been left unable to return to their homes and in consequence, on 1 July, Uganda agreed to temporarily open its borders. Approximately 1,500 asylum-seekers entered the country through Guladjo and Mount Zeu crossing points.

UNHCR reported that it was installing handwashing stations in refugee camps and IDP sites across DRC, while distributing soap and disinfecting community infrastructures. By 29 June, 3,125 handwashing stations had been installed across DRC (including 269 donated to authorities and 441 to health structures), over 102,000 people received soap, and 2,069 community infrastructures had been disinfected. UNHCR estimated that a total of 1.2 million refugees, internally displaced persons, and host community members had been reached by awareness-raising sessions on COVID-19 by 29 June. Following the DRC Government’s request to close displacement sites in Kalemie (Tanganyika province), UNHCR provided assistance for the voluntary return of a total of 9,003 people living in Kaseke and Kakomba displacement sites. More recently, the organisation reported that it had assisted authorities in establishing medical checkpoints and containment sites.

UNHCR also stated that the country currently hosts over half a million refugees - mainly from Rwanda, Burundi and the Central African Republic (CAR), and South Sudan. In South Ubangi’s Mole Refugee camp, further resources are required to ensure that 15,000 refugees from CAR have access to the minimum water requirement of 20 litres per person per day. UNHCR said this was “particularly important now, when, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, refugees and their host communities need potable water to protect them against endemic cholera and what is now the world’s longest running measles crisis.”

The ICRC stated that it had requested that DRC authorities reduce overcrowding in prisons and release vulnerable detainees who are serving a short sentence and are at greater risk from COVID-19 (i.e. those who are ill or old). DRC jails are among the world’s most overcrowded according to the UN, with inmates living in squalid conditions and meagre rations. In September 2020, the UN reported that 52 inmates at the Bunia prison had starved to death so far this year as a result of the government’s failure to devote enough funding. The prison operates at nearly 500% capacity. Malnutrition is reportedly common in DRC jails as food portions are allotted based on the facilities’ normal capacity, rather than their real population. The ICRC said that it had engaged in dialogue with prison and judicial authorities on respect for detainees’ rights and judicial guarantees, and monitored detainees’ treatment and conditions.

In a bid to alleviate overcrowding and protect prisoners from an outbreak of COVID-19, authorities have released certain detainees. On 14 August, 73 people detained at the Kalemie prison were released by a presidential decree. Another decree from 30 June led to the release of 79 people from the Kangbayi prison as well as the release of 129 detainees from the Bunia prison. On 14 May, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provided 4,000 face masks to the Ndolo prison and the World Health Organisation (WHO) installed two isolation tents within the Makala prison facility to care for ill detainees.

Many coronavirus cases have now been detected within the country’s prison system. The first case was identified in the Kayiti prison on 10 June and in response, the facility was isolated and movement to and from the facility was completely suspended. Yet, in August, a testing campaign in the Amuru prison revealed that 153 prisoners tested positive for the virus among the 205 prisoners. A staff member also tested positive and in consequence, the whole facility was confined during 28 days. Subsequently on 9 and 11 September, 76 prisoners at Kitgum prison and 30 others at the Moroto prison tested positive for the virus.

While authorities have taken certain measures to alleviate overcrowding in the country’s criminal prisons and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, the GDP has been unable to find reports indicating that authorities have adopted any measures to assist migrants. The GDP has also been unable to establish the extent to which detention facilities are used in the DRC as part of immigration enforcement policies or obtain any details about whether any COVID-19 related measures have been taken in the country to safeguard people who are in custody for immigration reasons, including as part of deportation proceedings.

Last updated:


Total number of immigration detainees by year
Not Available
Total number of detained minors
Not Available
Criminal prison population
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
International migrants
International migrants as a percentage of the population
Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
Total number of new asylum applications
Refugee recognition rate
Stateless persons
Number of immigration detainees on a given day
Top nationalities of detainees
Number of persons granted alternatives to immigration detention
Number of detained asylum seekers
Number of detained unaccompanied minors
Number of detained accompanied minors
Number of detained stateless persons
Number of apprehensions of non-citizens
Immigration detainees as a percentage of total international migrant population
Estimated total immigration detention capacity
Number of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
Estimated capacity of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
Number of dedicated medium-term immigration detention centres
Number of immigration offices
Number of transit facilities
Number of criminal facilities
Number of ad hoc facilities
Number of persons removed/returned (voluntary returns and deportations)
Number of deportations/forced returns only
Percentage of persons removed in relation to total number of people placed in removal procedures
Percentage of foreign prisoners
Estimated number of undocumented migrants


Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)
Remittances to the country
Unemployment Rate
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD)
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
176 (Low)
Remittances from the country
Unemployment rate amongst migrants
Detention for deterrence
Pew Global Attitudes Poll on Immigration
Immigration Index Score
World Bank Rule of Law Index
Domestic Opinion Polls on Immigration


Legal tradition
Civil law
Customary law
Constitutional guarantees?
Core pieces of national legislation
Additional legislation
Regulations, standards, guidelines
Immigration-status-related grounds
Non-immigration-status-related grounds providing for administrative detention in immigration legislation.
Does the country provide specific criminal penalties for immigration-related violations?
Grounds for criminal immigration-related detention/incarceration and maximum potential duration of incarceration
Has the country decriminalized immigration-related violations?
Maximum length for administrative immigration detention in law.
Longest recorded instance of immigration detention.
Maximum length of time in custody prior to issuance of a detention order
Average length of detention
Maximum length of detention for asylum-seekers
Maximum length of detention for persons detained upon arrival at ports of entry
Provision of basic procedural standards
Types of non-custodial measures
Impact of alternatives
Is the detention of vulnerable persons provided in law? Are they detained in practice?
Mandatory detention
Expedited/fast track removal
Re-entry ban


Individual complaints procedure
Acceptance Year
CRPD, Optional Protocol to o the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2015
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 1976
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted
Observation Date
Regional legal instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
ACHPR, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights 1987
APRW, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) 2008
Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2010
No 2014
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
International treaty reservations
Treaty bodies decisions on individual complaints
Relevant recommendations issued by treaty bodies
Regional treaty reservations
Regional judicial decisions on individual complaints
Recommendations issued by regional human rights mechanisms
Bilateral/multilateral agreements linked to readmission
Visits by special procedures of the Human Rights Council
Relevant recommendations by UN Special Procedures


Federal or centralized governing system
Centralized or decentralized immigration authority
Custodial authority
Apprehending authorities
Detention Facility Management
Formally designated detention estate?
Types of detention facilities used in practice
Authorized monitoring institutions
Is the national human rights institution (NHRI) recognized as independent?
Does NHRI carry out visits?
Does NHRI have capacity to receive complaints?
Does NHRI publicly release reports on immigration detention?
Does national preventive mechanism (NPM) carry out visits?
Does NPM have capacity to receive complaints?
Does NPM publicly release reports on immigration detention?
Do NGOs carry out visits?
NGO capacity to receive complaints?
Do NGOs publish reports on immigration detention?
Do parliamentary organs carry out visits?
Do parliamentary organs have capacity to receive complaints?
Do parliamentary organs publicly report on their detention findings?
Do internal inspection agencies (IIAs) carry out visits?
Do IIAs have capacity to receive complaints?
Do IIAs publicly report their findings from detention inspections?
Do international and/or regional bodies (IRBs) visit immigration-related detention facilities?
Do IRBs publicly report their findings from inspections?
Types of privatisation/outsourcing
Detention contractors and other non-state entities
Estimated annual budget for detention operations
Estimated annual budgets for particular detention-related activities
Estimated cost per detainees day (in USD)
Estimated annual budget for non-custodial measures (in USD)
Estimated costs of non-custodial measures (in USD)
Does the country receive external sources of funding?
Description of foreign assistance