Uganda

No Data

Immigration detainees

No Data

Detained children

1,165,653

Refugees

2018

1,734,166

International migrants

2019

45,700,000

Population

2020

Overview

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

Related Reading

07 July 2020

An Asylum Seeker with her Children and Others, Sitting After Undergoing a Health Screening Near the Border Crossing in Zombo, Uganda, (Rocco Nuri, UNHCR,
An Asylum Seeker with her Children and Others, Sitting After Undergoing a Health Screening Near the Border Crossing in Zombo, Uganda, (Rocco Nuri, UNHCR, "Over 3,000 Congolese Refugees Arrive in Uganda in Three Days," 7 July 2020, https://www.unhcr.org/news/briefing/2020/7/5f042a5a4/3000-congolese-refugees-arrive-uganda-three-days.html)

Often praised for having an open-door policy for refugees, Uganda closed its borders in March, leaving thousands of refugees and asylum seekers stranded and unable to enter the country (see 6 April update). Since May, approximately 10,000 refugees have been camped out on the Uganda-Democratic Republic of Congo border, having fled escalating violence in eastern DRC. However, following a 16 June decision, President Yoweri Museveni ordered authorities to temporarily re-open some border crossings to allow entry to those seeking protection. During 1-3 July, more than 3,000 Congolese asylum seekers were able to enter the country. The government’s decision was praised by UNHCR, whose spokesman in Uganda said, “It proves that even in the midst of a global crisis like COVID-19, there are ways to manage border restrictions in a manner which respects international human rights and refugee protection standards.” Despite the move, however, people trying to enter from South Sudan continue to be denied entry.

Those permitted entry are quarantined in a facility in Zombo near the border that can accommodate up to 6,000 people. Following mandatory quarantine, all asylum seekers are to be transferred to existing refugee camps within the country. However, as rights groups have highlighted, living conditions in Uganda’s refugee camps are poor and conducive to the spread of the virus. In a statement released shortly after announcement of the order to allow Congolese asylum seekers entry into the country, the Global Refugee-Led Network-Africa Chapter also urged authorities to ensure that quarantine conditions are dignified, “and to develop more general measures to admit people needing international protection at other border points.”

Meanwhile, Ugandan authorities have released groups of prisoners during the crisis—including 74 Congolese fishermen who had been confined in penal facilities in Katwe and Mubuku since 2018/2019. (Between July 2018 and the end of 2019, Uganda stepped up its patrols on Lake Edouard, and arrested more than 400 Congolese fishermen found in Ugandan waters.)


06 April 2020

Health workers screen arrivals for Covid-19 (https://www.afro.who.int/news/uganda-uses-recent-outbreak-experience-prepare-coronavirus)
Health workers screen arrivals for Covid-19 (https://www.afro.who.int/news/uganda-uses-recent-outbreak-experience-prepare-coronavirus)

Despite the country’s open-door policy towards refugees and asylum seekers, on 25 March authorities announced measures to suspend the reception of new refugees and asylum seekers for thirty days. Transit and reception centres were ordered to close immediately, while flights in and out of the country have been suspended and borders sealed. Refugees who are already in the country will continue to receive support.

Handwashing and temperature screening facilities have been put in place at points of entry as well as transit centres and reception centres.


Last updated:

IMMIGRATION AND DETENTION-RELATED STATISTICS

Criminal prison population
48,714
2016
34,940
2012
31,749
2011
28,337
2008
26,126
2005
21,900
2002
21,970
1998
19,079
1993
Percentage of foreign prisoners
0.5
2014
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
120
2016
97
2012
92
2011
88
2008
91
2005
84
2002
95
1998
95
1993
Population
45,700,000
2020
39,032,000
2015
International migrants
1,734,166
2019
749,500
2015
International migrants as a percentage of the population
1.9
2015
Refugees
1,165,653
2018
1,350,504
2017
940,815
2016
428,397
2015
385,513
2014
Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
23.33
2016
10.2
2015
Total number of new asylum applications
30,266
2016
24,221
2014
Refugee recognition rate
89
2014
Stateless persons
0
2016
0
2015
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
Total number of detained minors
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
Estimated number of undocumented migrants

SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)
714
2014
Remittances to the country
994
2014
Unemployment Rate
2014
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD)
1,632.9
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
163 (Low)
2015
Pew Global Attitudes Poll on Immigration
67
2007
Remittances from the country
Unemployment rate amongst migrants
Detention for deterrence
Immigration Index Score
World Bank Rule of Law Index
Domestic Opinion Polls on Immigration

DOMESTIC LAWS AND POLICIES

Legal tradition
Common law
2017
Customary law
2017
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?
Maximum length for administrative immigration detention in law.
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
Is the detention of vulnerable persons provided in law? Are they detained in practice?
Mandatory detention
Expedited/fast track removal
Re-entry ban

INTERNATIONAL LAW

International treaty reservations
Reservation Year
Observation Date
ICRMW Article 18 1995
1995
2017
Individual complaints procedure
Acceptance Year
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 1995
1995
CRPD, Optional Protocol to o the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2008
2008
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted
Observation Date
2/8
2017
Relevant recommendations issued by treaty bodies
Recommendation Year
Committee on Migrant Workers "take the necessary steps to ensure that in administrative and judicial proceedings, including detention and expulsion proceedings, migrant workers and members of their families, particularly those in an irregular situation, are guaranteed due process on an equal basis with nationals of the state party before the courts and tribunals in administrative and judicial proceedings. in the light of the committee’s general comment no. 2 (2013) on the rights of migrant workers in an irregular situation and members of their families, the committee recalls that administrative detention should only be used as a measure of last resort, and recommends that the state party consider alternatives to administrative detention. the committee further recommends that the state party: (a) include in its second periodic report detailed disaggregated information on the number of migrant workers detained for immigration offences, and the place, average duration and conditions of their detention; (b) provide updated information, including disaggregated statistics, on the number of migrant worker expulsions as well as the procedures used; (c) ensure that the minimum guarantees enshrined in the convention are assured with regard to administrative and judicial procedures against migrant workers and members of their families." 2015
2015
Regional legal instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
ACHPR, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights 1986
1986
ACRWC, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child 1994
1994
APRW, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) 2010
2010
Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2011
2017
No 2016
2017
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Treaty bodies decisions on individual complaints
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

Federal or centralized governing system
Centralized or decentralized immigration authority
Custodial authority
Apprehending authorities
Detention Facility Management
Formally designated detention estate?
Types of detention facilities used in practice
Authorized monitoring institutions
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