Djibouti

No Data

Immigration detainees

Not Available

Detained children

2017

18,295

Refugees

2018

115,341

International migrants

2019

1,000,000

Population

2020

Overview

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

Related Reading

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

IMMIGRATION AND DETENTION-RELATED STATISTICS

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
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
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
5,421
2016
169
2014
781
2013
Refugee recognition rate
100
2014
Stateless persons
0
2016
0
2014
Total number of immigration detainees by year
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

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
Remittances from the country
Unemployment Rate
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

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
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?
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
Mandatory detention
Expedited/fast track removal
Re-entry ban

INTERNATIONAL LAW

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
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

INSTITUTIONAL INDICATORS

Detention Facility Management
Coast Guard (Governmental)
2015
Authorized monitoring institutions
International Committee for the Red Cross (International or Regional Bodies (IRBs))
2015
Federal or centralized governing system
Centralized or decentralized immigration authority
Custodial authority
Apprehending authorities
Formally designated detention estate?
Types of detention facilities used in practice
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