Djibouti

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

Not Available

Detained children

2017

840

New asylum applications

2019

19,639

Refugees

2019

115,341

International migrants

2019

Overview

(August 2016) Djibouti serves as a major transit country for migrants from the Horn of Africa travelling to the Arabian Peninsula. Many of these migrants depart from the area surrounding the port town of Obock or from remote coastal areas. To reduce the flow of migrants, authorities regularly round up and arrest migrants travelling through the country without proper documentation. Rights groups have expressed particular concern about the situation of detained minors, many of whom claim to have been physically and sexually abused while in police custody.

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

07 September 2020

Info Migrants, “Djibouti a expulsé plus de 2 000 migrants éthiopiens en avril,” 27 April 2020, https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/24369/djibouti-a-expulse-plus-de-2-000-migrants-ethiopiens-en-avril
Info Migrants, “Djibouti a expulsé plus de 2 000 migrants éthiopiens en avril,” 27 April 2020, https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/24369/djibouti-a-expulse-plus-de-2-000-migrants-ethiopiens-en-avril

Djibouti is a source and transit country for migration, to and from the Arabian Peninsula. The GDP has reported in the past that authorities regularly rounded up and arrested undocumented migrants, who were then detained in poor conditions. In the context of the pandemic, the closure of the Ethiopian border caused the blockage of migrants, who became stranded along the borders with Ethiopia and Yemen. As of 27 August, IOM reported that 870 were currently living in “spontaneous sites located along the migration corridor.”

Djibouti’s borders reopened on 16 July, which caused a surge of movement into the country, according to IOM. Nowever, there appears to be no publicly available information about whether Covid-related sanitary measures have been taken in facilities that are used to detain migrants and refugees. On the other hand, Djibouti did take some steps in its prisons to limit the spread of infections. On 23 March, the government announced that it would reduce the sentences of convicted prisoners by six-months. In April, Info Migrants reported that the country deported more than 2,000 migrants to Ethiopia, despite surging infections.


Last updated: August 2016

Djibouti Immigration Detention Profile

    Djibouti plays an important role as a transit country for migrants from the Horn of Africa travelling to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf States, with an estimated 34,237 migrants arriving in Yemen via Djibouti during the first 10 months of 2014. In an effort to reduce this flow of migrants, authorities in Djibouti regularly round up and arrest migrants travelling through the country without proper documentation.[1]

    Djibouti’s efforts to slow the flow of transit migrants include patrolling the coastline and intercepting migrants found at sea. In 2012, approximately 3,533 migrants were intercepted as they were making their way to Yemen. These intercepted migrants are reportedly returned to Djibouti, where they are sent to detention facilities to await deportation.

    In addition to being a transit country, Djibouti serves as a destination country for refugees and migrants from surrounding countries. In the Ali Addeh and Hol Hol refugee camps, Djibouti hosts roughly 21,000 refugees.

    The Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat reports that during the course of 2013, Djibouti detained and deported significant numbers of migrants. While these migrants were generally given the opportunity to claim refugee status, the National Eligibility Commission had not met in years to undertake status determination procedures. When the Commission resumed its work in August 2013, there was a serious backlog of individuals at risk of being deported. Those migrants who did not claim refugee status were generally deported.

    Detained migrants in Djibouti appear to be held mainly in two locations, the Coast Guard base in the port town of Obock and the Nagad Detention Centre near Djibouti City. Although conditions at the Nagad detention centre have been described as poor, detainees reportedly have access to potable water, food, and medical treatment. Foreign embassies and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) reportedly have access to the Nagad facility, and Djiboutian authorities have allowed ICRC representatives to visit the detention centre on a quarterly basis. Although most detainees are reportedly deported within 24 hours of arrest, there has been at least one situation in which hundreds of refugees were detained in the Nagad Detention Centre for more than five years.

    A particularly important aspect of Djibouti’s migrant detention practices is its detention of children. Many children intend to travel through Djibouti to the Gulf States, but become stranded in the country due to their inability to afford the trip across the Gulf of Aden. These migrant children are frequently arrested and detain by Djiboutian authorities. While in detention, children are placed in overcrowded cells with other detainees, receive irregular and inadequate meals, and face a lack of sanitary services. There have also been reports of abusive behaviour by officials, including sexual abuse by detention centre guards.

     

    [1] This summary relies primarily on information gleaned from the U.S. State Department’s human rights reports and reports from the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, in particular its February 2015 report Behind Bars: The Detention of Migrants in and from the East & Horn of Africa, available at http://www.regionalmms.org/fileadmin/content/rmms_publications/Behind_Bars_the_detention_of_migrants_in_and_from_the_East___Horn_of_Africa_2.pdf

    ENFORCEMENT DATA

    Total Migration Detainees: Flow + Stock (year)
    Not Available
    2019
    Total Number of Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
    Not Available
    2017
    Criminal Prison Population (Year)
    600
    2016
    750
    2011
    525
    2009
    584
    1999
    650
    1994
    Prison Population Rate (per 100,000 of National Population)
    66
    2016
    83
    2011
    60
    2009
    93
    1999
    115
    1994

    POPULATION DATA

    Population (Year)
    1,000,000
    2020
    888,000
    2015
    International Migrants (Year)
    115,341
    2019
    112,400
    2015
    123,500
    2013
    International Migrants as Percentage of Population (Year)
    12.7
    2015
    14.2
    2013
    Refugees (Year)
    19,639
    2019
    18,295
    2018
    17,554
    2017
    17,678
    2016
    19,365
    2015
    20,530
    2014
    Ratio of Refugees Per 1000 Inhabitants (Year)
    19.66
    2016
    23.4
    2014
    22.93
    2013
    New Asylum Applications (Year)
    840
    2019
    5,421
    2016
    169
    2014
    781
    2013
    Refugee Recognition Rate (Year)
    100
    2014
    Stateless Persons (Year)
    0
    2016
    0
    2014

    SOCIO-ECONOMIC DATA & POLLS

    Gross Domestic Product per Capita (in USD)
    1,813
    2014
    Remittances to the Country
    36
    2014
    Net Official Development Assistance (ODA) (in Millions USD)
    162.6
    2014
    Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
    168 (Low)
    2015

    B. Attitudes and Perceptions

    MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

    Does the Country Detain People for Migration, Asylum, or Citizenship Reasons?
    Yes
    2015

    LEGAL & REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

    GROUNDS FOR MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

    Children & Other Vulnerable Groups
    Accompanied minors Yes
    2015
    Unaccompanied minors Yes
    2015
    Asylum seekers Yes
    2015

    LENGTH OF MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

    Maximum Length of Administrative Immigration Detention
    No Limit: Yes
    2015

    MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION INSTITUTIONS

    Detention Facility Management
    Coast Guard (Governmental)
    2015

    PROCEDURAL STANDARDS & SAFEGUARDS

    DETENTION MONITORS

    Types of Authorised Detention Monitoring Institutions
    International Committee for the Red Cross (International or Regional Bodies (IRBs))
    2015

    TRANSPARENCY

    READMISSION/RETURN/EXTRADITION AGREEMENTS

    COVID-19

    HEALTH CARE

    COVID-19 DATA

    Has the Country Adopted These Pandemic-Related Measures for People in Immigration Detention?
    Yes
    2020
    Has the Country Ceased or Restricted Deportations/Removals During any Period After the Onset of the Pandemic?
    No
    2020
    Has the Country Released People from Criminal Prisons During the Pandemic?
    Yes
    2020
    Has the Country Restricted Access to Asylum Procedures?
    Yes
    2020
    Has the Country Commenced a National Vaccination Campaign?
    Yes
    2021

    INTERNATIONAL TREATIES

    International Treaties Ratified
    Ratification Year
    Observation Date
    OPCRPD, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
    2012
    2012
    CRPD, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
    2012
    2012
    ICERD, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
    2011
    2011
    CTOCTP, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children
    2005
    2005
    CTOCSP, Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
    2005
    2005
    ICCPR, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
    2002
    2002
    ICESCR, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
    2002
    2002
    CAT, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
    2002
    2002
    CEDAW, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
    1998
    1998
    CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child
    1990
    1990
    VCCR, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
    1978
    1978
    CRSR, Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
    1977
    1977
    PCRSR, Protocol to the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
    1977
    1977
    Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
    Ratio: 13/19
    Individual Complaints Procedures
    Acceptance Year
    CRPD, Optional Protocol to o the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2012
    2012
    ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 2002
    2002
    Ratio of Complaints Procedures Accepted
    Observation Date
    2/7
    2/7

    NON-TREATY-BASED INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

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

    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 1991
    1991
    APRW, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) 2005
    2005

    GOVERNANCE SYSTEM

    Legal Tradition(s)
    Civil law
    2017
    Muslim law
    2017
    Customary law
    2017

    DETENTION COSTS

    OUTSOURCING

    FOREIGN SOURCES OF FUNDING FOR DETENTION OPERATIONS