Malawi

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

36

Detained children

2017

7,603

New asylum applications

2019

247,652

International migrants

2019

19,100,000

Population

2020

Overview

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

21 April 2020

Victor Mhango from the Centre for Human Rights Advice Assistance and Education addressing Prisoners at Chichiri Prison, (Nyasa Times, “CSOs Call for Decongestion in Malawi Prisons as Response to Covid-19,” 18 March 2020, https://www.nyasatimes.com/csos-call-for-decongestion-in-malawi-prisons-as-response-to-covid-19/)
Victor Mhango from the Centre for Human Rights Advice Assistance and Education addressing Prisoners at Chichiri Prison, (Nyasa Times, “CSOs Call for Decongestion in Malawi Prisons as Response to Covid-19,” 18 March 2020, https://www.nyasatimes.com/csos-call-for-decongestion-in-malawi-prisons-as-response-to-covid-19/)

As of 19 April Malawi did not have any reported cases of Covid-19. The country has also not taken any measures to lockdown businesses as the country’s High Court blocked such measures in a ruling on 19 April. However, there are growing concerns among civil society organisations about the impact the virus could have in the country’s overcrowded prisons, which also house immigration detainees. Malawi’s prisons reportedly confine more than 14,000 prisoners despite having a capacity of only 5,000.

A joint statement issued by the Centre for Human Rights Advice Assistance and Education, Youth Watch Society, Paralegal Resource Centre, Southern Africa Litigation Centre and Child Rights Advocacy and Paralegal Aid Centre called on the country’s president to “release all prisoners who are serving time for minor offences including contempt of court, being idle and disorderly, being a rogue and vagabond, common nuisance and breach of the peace.” The statement also urges that priority be given “to those that are terminally ill, older persons, persons with TB and others chronic illnesses and those who have served a substantial part of their sentences” and urges “ the President to prevent the detention in prison of all migrants who are detained on immigration-related charges.”

According to the International Detention Coalition (IDC), its local members in Malawi have raised concerns about migrants being “swept up” in four detention centres that were reportedly opened for quarantine purposes. After 14 days, migrants are to be transferred to immigration detention centres and prisons. IDC members have mentioned that conditions in Malawi’s detention centres are inhumane and inadequate as there is a lack of access to water or soap in the cells where migrants are being forced to stay.

On 9 April 2020, a visit to Zomba Central Prison revealed that the facility has six buckets used by thousands of prisoners who wash their hands without soap. It is reported that new inmates are only being screened for HIV and TB but not Covid-19, which increases the risk of spread of Covid-19. One of the inmates expressed concern about the situation: “We were warned about coronavirus by the prison authorities. They advised us that we must wash hands regularly. My duty is to see that new detainees wash their hands before being admitted to the facility. There are no coronavirus testing kits at the clinic. After they are tested for TB and HIV, the new inmates are admitted and sent to the various blocks.” Malawi’s president also announced that his administration is to decongest the prisons by releasing prisoners and juveniles who committed petty offences and those having served a significant portion of their sentences for moderate crimes.


Last updated:

IMMIGRATION AND DETENTION-RELATED STATISTICS

Total number of immigration detainees by year
Not Available
2019
Total number of detained minors
36
2017
Criminal prison population
14,018
2016
12,236
2012
11,672
2010
10,830
2007
9,220
2004
7,920
2001
6,505
1998
4,886
1996
4,685
1993
Percentage of foreign prisoners
0.2
2014
1
2009
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
79
2016
77
2010
78
2007
74
2004
68
2001
61
1998
48
1996
48
1993
Population
19,100,000
2020
17,215,000
2015
International migrants
247,652
2019
215,200
2015
International migrants as a percentage of the population
1.2
2015
Refugees
13,782
2018
8,982
2017
9,386
2016
9,019
2015
5,874
2014
Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
0.53
2016
0.35
2014
Total number of new asylum applications
7,603
2019
17,028
2016
3,877
2014
Refugee recognition rate
100
2014
Stateless persons
0
2016
0
2015

SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)
255
2014
Remittances to the country
29
2014
Unemployment Rate
2014
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD)
930.2
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
173 (Low)
2015

DOMESTIC LAWS AND POLICIES

Legal tradition
Common law
2017
Customary law
2017
Core pieces of national legislation
Immigration Act ()
Does the country provide specific criminal penalties for immigration-related violations?
No (Yes)
2018

INTERNATIONAL LAW

International treaty reservations
Reservation Year
Observation Date
CRSR Article 22 1987
1987
2017
Individual complaints procedure
Acceptance Year
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 1996
1996
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted
Observation Date
1/7
2017
Regional legal instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
ACHPR, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights 1989
1989
ACRWC, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child 1999
1999
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 2011
2017
No 2015
2017

INSTITUTIONAL INDICATORS