Uganda

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

Not Available

Detained children

2017

33,358

New asylum applications

2019

1,421,133

Refugees

2020

1,734,166

International migrants

2019

Overview

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

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:

ENFORCEMENT DATA

Total Detainees/ Stock & Flow (Year)
Not Available
2019
Total Number of Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
Not Available
2017
Criminal Prison Population (Year)
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 (Year)
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 DATA

Population (Year)
45,700,000
2020
39,032,000
2015
International Migrants (Year)
1,734,166
2019
749,500
2015
International Migrants as Percentage of Population (Year)
1.9
2015
Refugees (Year)
1,421,133
2020
1,359,458
2019
1,165,653
2018
1,350,504
2017
940,815
2016
428,397
2015
385,513
2014
Ratio of Refugees Per 1000 Inhabitants (Year)
23.33
2016
10.2
2015
New Asylum Applications (Year)
33,358
2019
30,266
2016
24,221
2014
Refugee Recognition Rate (Year)
89
2014
Stateless Persons (Year)
0
2016
0
2015

SOCIO-ECONOMIC DATA & POLLS

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

B. Attitudes and Perceptions

MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

LEGAL & REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

Detention-Related Legislation
Citizenship and Immigration Control Act (Cap 66) of 1999 (2000) 2015
2000

GROUNDS FOR MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

Immigration-Status-Related Grounds
Detention for unauthorised entry or stay
2000
Criminal Penalties for Immigration-Related Violations
Yes (Yes)
2000
Grounds for Criminal Immigration-Related Incarceration / Maximum Length of Incarceration
Unauthorized entry (1095)
2000
Unauthorised stay (1095)
2000
Has the Country Decriminalised Immigration-Related Violations?
No
2000

LENGTH OF MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION INSTITUTIONS

PROCEDURAL STANDARDS & SAFEGUARDS

DETENTION MONITORS

TRANSPARENCY

READMISSION/RETURN/EXTRADITION AGREEMENTS

COVID-19

HEALTH CARE

COVID-19 DATA

INTERNATIONAL TREATIES

International Treaties Ratified
Ratification Year
Observation Date
ICERD, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
1980
2017
ICESCR, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
1987
2017
ICCPR, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1995
2017
CEDAW, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
1985
2017
CAT, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
1986
2017
CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child
1990
2017
ICRMW, International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
1995
2017
CRPD, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
2008
2017
CRSR, Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
1976
2017
CRSSP, Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
1965
2017
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Ratio: 10/19
Treaty Reservations
Reservation Year
Observation Date
ICRMW Article 18 1995
1995
2017
Individual Complaints Procedures
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
Observation Date
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
2017

NON-TREATY-BASED INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Relevant Recommendations from the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2011
2017
No 2016
2017

REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Regional Legal Instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
Observation Date
ACHPR, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights 1986
1986
2017
ACRWC, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child 1994
1994
2017
APRW, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) 2010
2010
2017

GOVERNANCE SYSTEM

Legal Tradition(s)
Common law
2017
Customary law
2017

DETENTION COSTS

OUTSOURCING

FOREIGN SOURCES OF FUNDING FOR DETENTION OPERATIONS