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

    DETENTION, EXPULSION, AND INCARCERATION STATISTICS

    Total number of immigration detainees by year
    Not Available
    2019
    Total number of detained minors
    Not Available
    2017
    Criminal prison population
    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

    DEMOGRAPHICS AND IMMIGRATION-RELATED STATISTICS

    Population
    1,000,000
    2020
    888,000
    2015
    International migrants
    115,341
    2019
    112,400
    2015
    123,500
    2013
    International migrants as a percentage of the population
    12.7
    2015
    14.2
    2013
    Refugees
    19,639
    2019
    18,295
    2018
    17,554
    2017
    17,678
    2016
    19,365
    2015
    20,530
    2014
    Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
    19.66
    2016
    23.4
    2014
    22.93
    2013
    Total number of new asylum applications
    840
    2019
    5,421
    2016
    169
    2014
    781
    2013
    Refugee recognition rate
    100
    2014
    Stateless persons
    0
    2016
    0
    2014

    SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDICATORS

    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

    DOMESTIC LAWS AND POLICIES

    Legal tradition
    Civil law
    2017
    Muslim law
    2017
    Customary law
    2017
    Maximum length for administrative immigration detention in law.
    No Limit
    2015
    Is the detention of vulnerable persons provided in law? Are they detained in practice?
    Accompanied minors () Yes
    2015
    Unaccompanied minors () Yes
    2015
    Asylum seekers () Yes
    2015

    INTERNATIONAL LAW

    Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
    Ratio: 13/19
    Individual complaints procedure
    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
    Regional legal instruments
    Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
    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
    Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review
    Observation Date
    No 2009
    2017
    No 2013
    2017

    INSTITUTIONAL INDICATORS

    Detention Facility Management
    Coast Guard (Governmental)
    2015
    Authorized monitoring institutions
    International Committee for the Red Cross (International or Regional Bodies (IRBs))
    2015