Tanzania

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

Not Available

Detained children

2017

10

New asylum applications

2019

242,171

Refugees

2019

509,166

International migrants

2019

Overview

Although it no longer hosts the hundreds of thousands of refugees that it did during the 1990s, Tanzania continues to be a refugee destination country and it also serves as an important transit country for migrants heading to South Africa. The country does not have a dedicated immigration detention centre and instead uses local police stations, prisons, and remand homes to detain migrants until they can be deported.

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

14 April 2021

Foreign Policy, “Kicking Refugees Out Makes Everyone Less Safe,” 18 February 2021, https://bit.ly/3siYV7u
Foreign Policy, “Kicking Refugees Out Makes Everyone Less Safe,” 18 February 2021, https://bit.ly/3siYV7u

In a statement released on 13 April, UN experts--including members of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Rapporteur on Torture--called on the Tanzanian and Burundian governments to respect the rights of Burundian refugees and asylum seekers in Tanzania.

Tanzania currently hosts an estimated 150,000 Burundian refugees, the majority of whom fled the country following deadly clashes surrounding Burundi’s 2015 presidential election. Authorities impose a strict encampment policy, and most refugees live in three refugee camps located in the north-west’s Kigoma region--Nyarugusu, Mtendeli, and Nduta. They are prohibited from leaving these camps to work or to access schools.

In recent years, reports have highlighted repeated intimidations and severe abuses of Burundian refugees by Tanzanian authorities (often in cooperation with Burundian authorities), including abductions and disappearances, torture, arbitrary detention, and forced returns. In late August 2019, Tanzanian and Burundian authorities announced that all Burundian refugees would be returned, and in September 2019 Amnesty International reported having seen a confidential document signed by Tanzania’s Minister of Home Affairs and Burundi’s Minister of Interior agreeing to conduct returns with or without the refugee’s consent.

"In addition to the strict encampment policy imposed on them by the Government of Tanzania, Burundian refugees and asylum-seekers now live in fear of being abducted in the middle of the night by Tanzanian security forces and taken to an unknown location or being forcefully returned to Burundi," write the UN experts. The group cite reports alleging that Burundian political opponents have been tracked among the refugee population by undercover Burundian intelligence agents, and later apprehended by Tanzanian authorities.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), between October 2019 and August 2020, at least 11 Burundians were arbitrarily detained for up to several weeks in “abysmal conditions” in a police station in Kibondo. “The Burundians said that Tanzanian police detained them in rooms with no electricity or windows, took them to a separate building on the police station grounds, and hanged them from the ceiling by their handcuffs. Some said that police and intelligence agents gave them electric shocks, rubbed their faces and genitals with chili, and beat and whipped them. In some cases, police and intelligence officers told them they had received information from Burundian authorities about them, suggesting collusion between agents from the two countries.” According to HRW, three were released in Tanzania, while the remaining eight were forcibly returned to Burundi where they were immediately detained in Muramvya and Bubanza prisons without charge.

More recently, in February 2021 UNHCR reported its concerns following a series of distressed messages from Burundian asylum seekers held in a detention facility in Mutukula. According to the rights agency, the refugees had expressed fears for their safety should they be returned to Burundi. To-date, the GDP has not been able to ascertain further information regarding the exact location of--or conditions in--this detention centre.


19 October 2020

An MSF Health Official Reaches Out to Communities in Nduta Refugee Camp in Tanzania to Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19, (MSF,
An MSF Health Official Reaches Out to Communities in Nduta Refugee Camp in Tanzania to Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19, (MSF, "Tanzania: Spread of COVID-19 Could be Devastating to Refugees and Host Communities," 10 April 2020, https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/what-we-do/news-stories/news/tanzania-spread-covid-19-could-be-devastating-refugees-and-host)

There are nearly 300,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Tanzania, 85 percent of whom live in refugee camps. Doctors Without Borders and other actors have warned about the potential spread of COVID-19 through these camps, especially in Nduta, where self-isolation and physical distancing is reportedly impossible.

According to UNHCR, as of 30 September 2020, there were 134,963 people at the Nyarugusu camp; 69,851 people at the Nduta camp; and 28,585 people at the Mtendeli camp. Most asylum seekers and refugees in Tanzania come from Burundi (71.7 percent) and from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (28.2 percent). In an effort to prevent the spread of infection, the refugee agency said that it had distributed 685 personal protective equipment in the camps; provisioned isolation facilities in the camps; established several thousand handwashing stations; and distributed soap to more than 60,000 households.

There is little information available about measures that may have been implemented to safeguard other noncitizen groups in Tanzania, including notably people in immigration enforcement procedures like detention or deportation. There do not appear to be any dedicated immigration detention centres in the country; undocumented migrants are held in police facilities and prison pending appearance in court or deportation.

Previously, reports revealed that an immigration-related detention centre was opened in 1996 in Mwisa. In 2011, the GDP noted reports indicating that this facility was used to hold asylum seekers or refugees suspected of being combatants as part of a collaboration between the government and UNHCR. However, according to the refugee agency, “There have been incidences where the government has transferred refugees to Mwisa without involving the UNHCR.”

In May, 3,717 prisoners were pardoned in an effort to relieve overcrowding in prisons as part of a COVID-19 response. Although Human Rights Watch welcomed the move, the group said that that Tanzania’s prison population had to be reduced even more, given the overcrowding of places of detention.


Last updated: May 2011

Tanzania Immigration Detention Profile

Tanzania once hosted one of the largest refugee populations in Africa and today it is an important transit country for migrants heading to South Africa. Conflicts in the Great Lakes region dramatically increased the number of refugees in Tanzania from 292,100 in 1992 to 883,300 in 1994.[1] By December 2014, the number of registered refugees in the country had dropped to approximately 88,400.[2] While increased stability in the region has slowed the flow of refugees into Tanzania, other types of irregular migration have increased substantially and may have resulted in the increased use of detention in the country.[3]

The Tanzanian government has been criticized for its long-standing policy of “securitizing” refugee camps, which involves limiting the freedom of movement of refugees by charging those who leave camps with violations of provisions of the Immigration Act.[4] The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants reported in 2008 that some 760 refugees had been arrested for criminal charges or for leaving designated areas without permission.[5]

Tanzania does not have a dedicated immigration detention centre and instead uses local police stations, and, prisons to detain migrants until they can be deported.[6] It also reportedly uses remand homes to accommodate migrants under 18.[7] The Immigration Act provides criminal punishments for unauthorized entry or stay. In recent years, these criminal provisions, which can include long prison sentences, have reportedly not been systematically applied.[8]


[1] Alexander Betts and James Milner, The externalisation of EU Asylum Policy: The Position of African States, Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, Oxford, Working Paper No. 36, University of Oxford.

[2] UNHCR, “2015 UNHCR country operations profile – United Republic of Tanzania,” 2015, http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e45c736.html.

[3] Asylum Access, Immigration Detention in Tanzania: A Prison Survey Report, 2013, http://asylumaccess.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Immigration-Detention-in-Tanzania-A-Prison-Survey-Report.pdf.

[4] Legal and Human Rights Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Report 2006, April 2007, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/human_rights_report_2006.pdf.

[5] United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, “World Refugee Survey 2008 – Tanzania,” 19 June 2008, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/485f50d5c.html.

[6] Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, Behind Bars: The Detention of Migrants in and from the East & Horn of Africa, 2015, http://www.regionalmms.org/.

[7] Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, Behind Bars: The Detention of Migrants in and from the East & Horn of Africa, 2015, http://www.regionalmms.org/.

[8] Bonaventure Rutinwa (University of Dar es Salaam), Email correspondence with Michael Flynn (Global Detention Project), 3 May 2011.

Detention Policy

The 1995 Immigration Act provides both administrative and criminal remedies for people charged with violations of the Act. Irregular migrants awaiting deportation can be held in administrative detention. The Act does not specify a limit to the time a person can be held in this form of detention. Non-citizens can also be charged with crimes for irregular entry or stay. Penalties can include a fine not exceeding 100,000 shillings (approx. 50 €) and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.[1]

A suspected “prohibited migrant” may be arrested and brought before a magistrate. Once ruled to be in an irregular situation, he/she can be placed in custody until deportation. Additionally, the Act provides for the administrative detention of anyone whose entry or stay in Tanzania was unlawful; whose presence in Tanzania is considered to be “a danger to peace and good order”; or who is “for any other reason undesirable.” When the prohibited migrant is waiting to be brought before a court the period of detention is not to exceed 28 days.[2]

In 2011, Bonaventure Rutinwa, a refugee expert at the University of Dar es Salaam, told the GDP that “since 2007 the broad policy of the government has been not to charge [irregular migrants] but to hold them administratively pending deportation.” When non-citizens are criminally charged, says Rutinwa, this is largely a result of the fact that there is no “mechanism for profiling … who is and who is not an asylum seeker.”[3] 

It is unclear to what extent these practices are still applied. According to a 2013 survey conducted by Asylum Access, one issue with Tanzania’s detention policy is the fact that sentences for those convicted of illegal entry vary greatly, resulting in some migrants serving much longer sentences than others. In addition, migrants who are able to pay a fine for illegal entry instead of serving a sentence continue to be detained while awaiting deportation.[4] Detention after the completion of sentences can also be prolonged due to a lack of funds for deportations.[5]

Asylum Access researchers noted that screening procedures were often not used to determine whether arrested migrants had potential asylum claims. There was at least one instance in which a detained person reported that he had asked to open an asylum claim, but was never referred to anyone for processing.[6]

Under Tanzanian law, the detention of children is prohibited. However, in a 2015 report on Tanzania, the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (RMMS) said that according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), in practice both unaccompanied and accompanied children are detained with adults.[7]

The RMMS also reported that the Tanzanian government is considering adopting “alternatives to detention,” including creating reception centres to hold migrants instead of in prisons and increasing the use of the IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration service.[8]

Criminalization. Article 31(1) of the Immigration Act provides that “any person who (i) unlawfully enters or is unlawfully present within Tanzania in contravention of the provision of this Act shall be guilty of an offence.” The maximum penalty is 100.000 shillings (approx. 50 €) and/or 3 years imprisonment.[9]

The 1998 Refugee Act also provides for criminal penalties for asylum seekers and refugees who fail to comply with its provisions. They can be incarcerated for a period not exceeding six months and/or punished with a fine not exceeding fifty thousand shillings (approx. 25 €).[10]

Camp securitisation. Art. 17 of the Refugee Act provides that refugees and asylum seekers must live in areas designated by the minister responsible for refugee matters. It is also illegal for refugees to travel more than 4 kilometres from refugee camps without permits.[11] Some observers have raised concerns over the impact of this “securitisation” policy, which in some cases may amount to deprivation of liberty. However, according to Rutinwa of the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s refugee camps have been securitised under the law since the introduction of the British War Evacuees Orders of 1947, which were intended “to restrict access to refugees from ‘enemy territories’ or citizens of states at war with Britain.” Tanzania’s subsequent Refugee Acts—in 1966 and 1998—originated in the provisions of the War Evacuees Orders.[12]

The real issue, says Rutinwa, is the varying application of securitisation provisions over the years. “From the 1960s to 1980s, the provisions were not rigorously enforced, and some settlements were set up more or less as normal villages. In the 1990s, the restrictions on movements were enforced more robustly due to genuine concern over increased insecurity in the refugee hosting regions caused by the presence of refugees. The current motive for the somewhat strict enforcement of these provisions with regard to the only remaining camp for Burundian refugees appears not to be related so much to securitisation of camps, but ‘encouragement’ of voluntary repatriation.”[13]

Refugees with credible reasons for exiting the camps may be issued exit permits from the Tanzanian Ministry of Home Affairs. While presence outside the camps without exit permits is punishable by a fine and three-year prison sentence, the RMMS reports that refugees apprehended outside refugee camps without permits are often sentenced to community service rather than imprisonment or deportation.[14] According to the U.S. State Department, refugees caught without permits are generally placed in a prison facility within the camp and released within a short period of time.[15]

Repatriations. In 2002, Tanzania entered a tripartite agreement with the UNHCR and the government of Burundi on the voluntary repatriation of Burundians. Some rights groups have criticised the repatriation effort as being involuntary and in violation of the 1951 Refugee Convention, in part because “no procedure is in place to assess the individual claims by refugees and asylum seekers of well-founded fears of persecution.”[16] In mid-2010, for example, a Tanzanian activist forwarded a letter to the Southern Refugee Legal Aid Network email list claiming to have first-hand reports of refugees from Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi being forced to return to their countries from various camps and pleaded for pressure to be put on the Tanzanian government lest these refugees “be exposed to the danger of imprisonment, mistreatment, and possibly even death.”[17]

However, according to Rutinwa, although the government’s promotion of repatriations has at times been “a bit aggressive,” he would not “characterize” the program as “amounting to refoulement.[18]

On 27 July 2013, Tanzania’s President announced that all irregular migrants were required to leave the country within 14 days. Following this announcement, it is estimated that more than 20,000 irregular migrants left Tanzania voluntarily. [19] In September 2013, the government initiated an operation to round up the remaining irregular migrants and deport them. However, after significant pressure from rights groups and the diplomatic community resulting from fears that people who had claims to legal status in the country might have been deported, the Tanzanian government suspended the operation.[20]


[1] United Republic of Tanzania, The Immigration Act, 1995, http://www.parliament.go.tz/Polis/PAMS/Docs/7-1995.pdf.

[2] United Republic of Tanzania, The Immigration Act, 1995, http://www.parliament.go.tz/Polis/PAMS/Docs/7-1995.pdf.

[3] Bonaventure Rutinwa (University of Dar es Salaam), Email correspondence with Michael Flynn (Global Detention Project), 3 May 2011.

[4] Asylum Access, Immigration Detention in Tanzania: A Prison Survey Report, 2013, http://asylumaccess.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Immigration-Detention-in-Tanzania-A-Prison-Survey-Report.pdf.

[5] International Organization for Migration, Health Vulnerabilities Study of Mixed Migration Flows from the East and Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes Region to Southern Africa: Executive Summary Findings from the Formative Stage, 2013, https://publications.iom.int/system/files/pdf/migration_health_study_finalweb.pdf?language=en.

[6] Asylum Access, Immigration Detention in Tanzania: A Prison Survey Report, 2013, http://asylumaccess.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Immigration-Detention-in-Tanzania-A-Prison-Survey-Report.pdf.

[7] Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, Behind Bars: The Detention of Migrants in and from the East & Horn of Africa, 2015, http://www.regionalmms.org/.

[8] Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, Behind Bars: The Detention of Migrants in and from the East & Horn of Africa, 2015, http://www.regionalmms.org/.

[9] United Republic of Tanzania, The Immigration Act, 1995, http://www.parliament.go.tz/Polis/PAMS/Docs/7-1995.pdf.

[10] United Republic of Tanzania, The Refugees Act, 1998, http://www.issafrica.org/cdct/mainpages/pdf/Terrorism/Legislation/Tanzania/Tanzania%20Refugees%20Act%201998.pdf.

[11] Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, Behind Bars: The Detention of Migrants in and from the East & Horn of Africa, 2015, http://www.regionalmms.org/.

[12] Bonaventure Rutinwa (University of Dar es Salaam), Email correspondence with Michael Flynn (Global Detention Project), 3 May 2011.

[13] Bonaventure Rutinwa (University of Dar es Salaam), Email correspondence with Michael Flynn (Global Detention Project), 3 May 2011.

[14] Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, Behind Bars: The Detention of Migrants in and from the East & Horn of Africa, 2015, http://www.regionalmms.org/.

[15] U.S. State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm.

[16] Amnesty International, “Burundian refugees in Tanzania intimidating into returning home,” 29 June 2009, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/burundian-refugees-tanzania-intimidated-returning-home-20090629.

[17] Tshen Tshiye, Email to Southern Refugee Legal Aid Network List, “Possible deportation of refugees from Tanzania to different countries,” 31 July 2010.

[18] Bonaventure Rutinwa (University of Dar es Salaam), Email correspondence with Michael Flynn (Global Detention Project), 3 May 2011.

[19] Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, Behind Bars: The Detention of Migrants in and from the East & Horn of Africa, 2015, http://www.regionalmms.org/.

[20]  U.S. Department of State, Tanzania 2013 Human Rights Report, 2013, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/220379.pdf.

Detention Infrastructure

An expert in Tanzania told the Global Detention Project in 2011 that the country does not have a dedicated immigration detention centres.[1] In its 2015 report on Tanzania, the RMMS confirmed that the country had yet to establish a dedicated immigration detention centre.

“Migrants who enter Tanzania irregularly are held in police holding facilities in the place of entry or arrest pending appearance in court or deportation. After presentation before the court, they can be committed by a court warrant to be held in remand prisons, pending trial. If convicted, they would go to normal jails to serve their terms.”[2]

The country also uses prisons to detain migrants. Remand homes are used to detain migrants under 18. However, because the remand homes are controlled by the social welfare department and are non-militarized, they are not favoured by Tanzanian authorities.[3]

In August 2014, Tanzanian police reportedly arrested 48 Ethiopians who had entered the country illegally and then been abandoned by their smugglers. The RMMS argued that an increase in the arrests of Ethiopian migrants is possible as more Ethiopian migrants may be pushed to travel into Tanzania as a result of Saudi Arabia deporting more than 160,000 Ethiopians in late 2013 and early 2014.[4]

AllAfrica Global reported in February 2011 that on 15 February, 40 Ethiopians and two Somalis had been arrested by Tanzanian police for entering the country illegally.[5]

UNHCR’s 2011 Tanzania operations profile reported that “by early 2008, some 550 prisoners had been convicted of unlawful entry into Tanzania and some 1,300 illegal immigrants, mainly from the Horn of Africa, were detained pending deportation to their home countries. The majority of persons in mixed movements are intercepted and detained by the authorities, while in transit to southern Africa.”[6]

In April 2008, the Tanzanian Ministerial Task Force on Irregular Migration reported that in January of that year, 1,289 migrants from 12 different countries (a majority from Ethiopia) were being held in Tanzanian detention centres.[7]

The Ethiopian Review, based in Washington D.C., reported that during the period 1-8 April 2008, 362 migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia were arrested for irregular entrance. It noted that 90 Ethiopians were sentenced to six-month sentences after failing to pay 50,000 shillings for illegal stay in the country and that deportation orders were to be executed as soon as they completed their prison sentences.[8]

Mwisa “detention camp.” Several civil society organisations reported that an immigration-related detention centre was opened in 1996 in Mwisa, in the Karagwe district close to the Ugandan and Rwandan borders.[9] The Tanzanian Legal and Human Rights Centre reported in 2008 that the Mwisa detention centre was closed in April 2007.[10]

There were numerous reports about the purported uses of the Mwisa detention facility during the mid-1990s. In December 1996, the Integrated Regional Information Network of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that Hutu refugees who refused to return to Rwanda were being held at the camp in Mwisa.[11] In 1997, Amnesty International also reported that refugees were being held at a “detention camp” in Mwisa. Amnesty reported that UNHCR had not been able to establish contact with the detainees at the camp.[12]

According to a 2005 UNHCR report on refugee protection gaps in Tanzania, the Mwisa camp was set up under provisions in Tanzania’s refugee law that allow the country, in consultation with UNHCR, to hold combatants as well as any “asylum seeker or refugee [who] is acting in a manner prejudicial to peace and good order or is prejudicing the relations between the Government of Tanzanian and any other Government.” According to this report, “the approach agreed between the Government and UNHCR is that when a person is suspected of being a combatant, UNHCR and the government must conduct a joint screening of that person to verify that fact. When both parties agree, the person is sent to Mwisa.” However, according to UNHCR, “There have been incidences where the government has transferred refugees to Mwisa without involving the UNHCR. However, UNHCR monitors the facility on monthly basis and when they discover such persons, they intervene on their behalf.”[13]


[1] Bonaventure Rutinwa (University of Dar es Salaam), Email correspondence with Michael Flynn (Global Detention Project), 8 March 2011.

[2] Bonaventure Rutinwa (University of Dar es Salaam), Email correspondence with Michael Flynn (Global Detention Project), 8 March 2011.

[3] Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, Behind Bars: The Detention of Migrants in and from the East & Horn of Africa, 2015, http://www.regionalmms.org/.

[4] Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, Behind Bars: The Detention of Migrants in and from the East & Horn of Africa, 2015, http://www.regionalmms.org/.

[5] Tumaini Msowoya, “Tanzania: 42 Migrants Arrested for Unlawful Entry,” All Africa.com, 15 February 2011, http://allafrica.com/stories/201102160218.html.

[6] UNHCR, “2011 UNHCR country operations profile – United Republic of Tanzania,” 2011, http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e45c736.html.

[7] Katy Long and Jeff Crisp, In harm’s way: the irregular movement of migrants to Southern Africa from the Horn and Great Lakes regions, UNHCR, New issues in refugee Research, Working Paper No. 200, January 2011.

[8] Amri Lugungulo, “362 Ethiopians and Somalis arrested in Tanzania,” Ethiopian Review, 16 May 2008, http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/2507.

[9] Integrated Regional Information Network, Emergency Update No. 67 on the Great Lakes, Integrated Regional Information Network UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 28 December 1996, http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Hornet/irin67.html; Amnesty International, Great Lakes Region: Still in Need of Protection: Repatriation, Refoulement and the Safety of Refugees and the Internally Displaced, AFR 02/07/97, 24 January 1997, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR02/007/1997/en/f22e0c95-eabf-11dd-b6f5-3be39665bc30/afr020071997en.pdf; Bonaventure Rutinwa (University of Dar es Salaam), “Screening in mass influxes: the challenge of exclusion and separation,” Forced Migration Review, Vol. 13, June 2002, http://www.fmreview.org/FMRpdfs/FMR13/fmr13.12.pdf; Legal and Human Rights Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Report 2008, April 2009, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Tanzania_Human_Rights_Report_2008.pdf.

[10] Legal and Human Rights Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Report 2008, April 2009, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Tanzania_Human_Rights_Report_2008.pdf.

[11] Integrated Regional Information Network, Emergency Update No. 67 on the Great Lakes, Integrated Regional Information Network UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 28 December 1996, http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Hornet/irin67.html.

[12] Amnesty International, Great Lakes Region: Still in Need of Protection: Repatriation, Refoulement and the Safety of Refugees and the Internally Displaced, AFR 02/07/97, 24 January 1997, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR02/007/1997/en/f22e0c95-eabf-11dd-b6f5-3be39665bc30/afr020071997en.pdf.

[13] UNHCR, Identifying Gaps in Protection Capacity: Tanzania, March 2005, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/category,POLICY,,,TZA,472896f50,0.html.

Facts & Figures

As of December 2014, there were 88,492 registered refugees in Tanzania; 113,180 as of January 2011; 118,731 as of January 2010; 548,824 as of 2005; 680,862 as of 2000; and 883,300 as of 1994.[1] Additionally, as of January 2011 there were 3,800 people in a refugee-like situation and, as of December 2014, 883 registered asylum seekers.[2]

According to Bonaventure Rutinwa, “1994-1996 is regarded as the peak period when about one million post-1990s refugees from the Great Lakes countries were supported by UNHCR in 13 different refugee camps in Tanzania.” In addition, during this period, “there were 220,000 Burundian refugees of the 1972 caseload who were hosted in three self-supporting settlements. … The government also estimated that some other 200,000 refugees of different nationalities were self-settled throughout Tanzania. Thus, a figure of 1.4 million refugees would be a reasonable estimate.”[3]

According to UNHCR, as of August 2015, the countries of origin of most refugees in Tanzania were Burundi (33,742) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (55,609). There were also 150 refugees from Somalia.[4]

According to information from Rutinwa, as of May 2011, “the total number of refugees in the remaining two camps is slightly under 100,000. However, there are some 24,000 Burundian refugees who are self-settled in the Kigoma region, and some 1,900 Somali refugees. Both of these … have been in principle allowed to apply for naturalisation.”[5]

As with refugees, current asylum seeker numbers represent a significant decrease from previous years. As of December 2014, there were 883; in 2000, there were 21,420.[6]

In 2005, 81,519 people were voluntary repatriated from Tanzania. Similar numbers were reported for 2002, 2003, and 2004.[7]

 

[1] UNHCR, “2015 UNHCR country operations profile – United Republic of Tanzania,” 2015, http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e45c736.html; UNCHR, “2005 UNHCR Statistical Yearbook: United Republic of Tanzania,” 2005, http://www.unhcr.org/4641bec90.html; Alexander Betts and James Milner, The externalisation of EU Asylum Policy: The Position of African States, Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, Oxford, Working Paper No. 36, University of Oxford.

[2] UNHCR, “2011 UNHCR country operations profile – United Republic of Tanzania,” 2011, http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e45c736.html; UNHCR, “2015 UNHCR country operations profile – United Republic of Tanzania,” 2015, http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e45c736.html. 

[3] Bonaventure Rutinwa (University of Dar es Salaam), Email correspondence with Michael Flynn (Global Detention Project), 3 May 2011.

[4] UNHCR, “Tanzania Fact Sheet July-August 2015,” 2015, http://www.unhcr.org/524d87c99.html.

[5] Bonaventure Rutinwa (University of Dar es Salaam), Email correspondence with Michael Flynn (Global Detention Project), 3 May 2011.

[6] UNHCR, “2015 UNHCR country operations profile – United Republic of Tanzania,” 2015, http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e45c736.html; UNCHR, “2005 UNHCR Statistical Yearbook: United Republic of Tanzania,” 2005, http://www.unhcr.org/4641bec90.html.

[7] UNCHR, “2005 UNHCR Statistical Yearbook: United Republic of Tanzania,” 2005, http://www.unhcr.org/4641bec90.html.

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
31,382
2015
35,301
2013
38,353
2011
41,613
2008
43,911
2006
43,526
2004
45,286
2001
40,820
1998
41,893
1995
Percentage of foreign prisoners
3.7
2009
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
58
2015
73
2013
82
2011
98
2008
109
2006
115
2004
131
2001
125
1998
138
1995

DEMOGRAPHICS AND IMMIGRATION-RELATED STATISTICS

Population
59,700,000
2020
53,470,000
2015
53,470,000
2015
47,700,000
2012
International migrants
509,166
2019
261,200
2015
312,800
2013
International migrants as a percentage of the population
0.5
2015
0.6
2013
Refugees
242,171
2019
278,322
2018
308,528
2017
281,498
2016
159,014
2015
88,492
2014
Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
5.1
2016
1.71
2014
2.07
2013
2.25
2012
Total number of new asylum applications
10
2019
6,666
2016
1,025
2014
445
2013
202
2012
Refugee recognition rate
37.5
2014
90.4
2013
Stateless persons
0
2016
0
2015

SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)
955
2014
695
2013
Remittances to the country
64
2014
25
2011
Remittances from the country
127
2010
Unemployment Rate
2014
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD)
2,648
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
151 (Low)
2015
159 (Low)
2014
Pew Global Attitudes Poll on Immigration
86
2007

DOMESTIC LAWS AND POLICIES

Legal tradition
Common law
2017
Customary law
2017
Core pieces of national legislation
Immigration Act 1995 (1995) 2015
1995
Is the detention of vulnerable persons provided in law? Are they detained in practice?
Victims of trafficking (Prohibited) No
2016
Asylum seekers (Prohibited) No
2016
Refugees (Prohibited) No
2016
Accompanied minors (Prohibited) Yes
2015
Unaccompanied minors (Prohibited) Yes
2015

INTERNATIONAL LAW

Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Ratio: 10/19
Individual complaints procedure
Acceptance Year
ICERD, declaration under article 14 of the Convention 1972
1972
CEDAW, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 1999 2006
2006
CRPD, Optional Protocol to o the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2009
2009
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted
Observation Date
3/6
2017
Regional legal instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
ACRWC, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child 2003
2003
ACHPR, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights 1984
1984
APRW, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) 2007
2007
Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2011
2017
No 2016
2017

INSTITUTIONAL INDICATORS

Custodial authority
()