Zambia

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

0

Detained children

2019

7,657

New asylum applications

2020

66,075

Refugees

2020

187,955

International migrants

2020

Overview

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

24 April 2020

People at the Kasumbalesa Market, Vital for Cross-Border Trade with Congo, (J. Nkomo, Zambia News, 13 April 2020,
People at the Kasumbalesa Market, Vital for Cross-Border Trade with Congo, (J. Nkomo, Zambia News, 13 April 2020, "Covid-19 Update - Kasumbalesa Market Disinfected," https://zambianews365.com/covid-19-update-kasumbalesa-market-disinfected/)

Although the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in Zambia remains low (76 as of 22 April), the rate of infection continues to rise. A land-locked country, Zambia announced in late March that it would not close its borders because of the economic impact this would have. President Edgar Lungu said on 26 March, “Zambia is landlocked; and that means, with a crisis of this magnitude, we shall find ourselves under forced lockdown if all our neighbors close their borders. This situation would make us economically vulnerable and weaker.”

By mid-April, however, the country started implementing more stringent measures, including in its prisons, which also confine immigration detainees. On 12 April, the authorities announced that they would release all foreign nationals jailed on misdemeanor and immigration charges, and send them back to their countries of origin. The Ministry of Home Affairs said that the move would help reduce overcrowding in detention facilities - where rates of HIV and tuberculosis are known to be high - and protect prisoners who remain. However, because of restrictions on international travel many returns are not possible, so the country says it will regularise the status of migrants. According to the country’s Home Affairs Minister, “For foreign nationals who have exhausted their days and are unable to travel to their countries due to suspension of flights, (they are) to quickly visit the Immigration offices and regularise their stay in Zambia.”

The country also says that it has increased measures in border areas, including introducing tests at border crossings, although its border markets - including the Kasumbalesa Common Market near the border with Congo - are to remain open, and placing people arriving from “high-risk” countries in two-week quarantine. According to one report, the health minister said in late April that those arriving from “a COVID -19 High-risk country will be quarantined at a government designated institution but at their own cost.”

Zambia hosts a substantial refugee population, including nearly 50,000 Congolese. Concerns have been raised regarding safeguarding measures. UNHCR reports that it is organising local radio messaging in all refugee-hosting areas and engaging with personalities such as local musicians to produce Covid-19 prevention radio and social media messages. The agency has also provided the Ministry of Health with Refugee Housing Units to set-up at high-risk points such as borders.


Last updated:

ENFORCEMENT DATA

Total Migration Detainees: Flow + Stock (year)
Not Available
2019
Countries of Origin (Year)
Congo (Kinshasa) (Rwanda) Burundi
2006
Number of Asylum Seekers Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
24
2014
160
2006
44
2005
Number of Women Placed in Immigration Detention (year)
4
2010
Total Number of Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
0
2019
0
2017
5
2016
18
2015
48
2014
49
2013
Number of dedicated medium-term immigration detention centres
0
2005
Immigration Detainees as Percentage of Total Migrant population (Year)
3.07
2015
3.31
2013
Number of immigration offices
5
2019
Number of Detainees Referred to ATDs (Year)
Not Available
2020
Number of People in ATDs on Given Day
Not Available
2021
Percentage of Detainees Released (year)
60
2017
Number of Deportations/Forced Removals (Year)
4,664
2017
5,069
2016
3,734
2015
4,742
2014
3,431
2013
Number of Voluntary Returns & Deportations (Year)
Not Available
2017
Number of People Refused Entry (Year)
1,673
2017
1,602
2016
1,517
2015
1,370
2014
1,294
2013
Number of Apprehensions of Non-Citizens (Year)
9,088
2017
7,485
2016
4,974
2015
5,708
2014
3,700
2013
Total Immigration Detention Capacity
1,925 (945)
2010
Number of Dedicated Immigration Detention Centres
Not Available
2005
Number of Criminal Facilities Used for Immigration Detention
5
2010
Criminal Prison Population (Year)
22,823
2019
25,000
2017
17,021
2013
16,666
2010
15,000
2008
14,207
2005
13,173
2002
11,999
2000
14,318
1998
Percentage of Foreign Prisoners (Year)
2.1
2005
Prison Population Rate (per 100,000 of National Population)
160
2017
119
2013
128
2010
120
2008
124
2005
123
2002
116
2000
146
1998

POPULATION DATA

Population (Year)
18,400,000
2020
16,212,000
2015
International Migrants (Year)
187,955
2020
170,249
2019
127,900
2015
International Migrants as Percentage of Population (Year)
1
2020
0.8
2015
Refugees (Year)
66,075
2020
57,518
2019
49,879
2018
41,269
2017
29,338
2016
25,737
2015
25,578
2014
Ratio of Refugees Per 1000 Inhabitants (Year)
1.76
2016
1.63
2014
New Asylum Applications (Year)
7,657
2020
7,861
2019
3,934
2016
2,220
2014
Number of People Granted Temporary Protection Status (Year)
Not Available
2020
Refugee Recognition Rate (Year)
62.8
2014
Stateless Persons (Year)
0
2020
0
2016
0
2015

SOCIO-ECONOMIC DATA & POLLS

Gross Domestic Product per Capita (in USD)
1,050.9
2020
1,721
2014
Remittances to the Country
98
2019
58
2014
Remittances From the Country
104
2019
Unemployment Rate
11
2020
2014
Net Official Development Assistance (ODA) (in Millions USD)
976.28
2019
994.6
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
146 (Medium)
2019
139 (Medium)
2015
Integration Index Score
38
2019
World Bank Rule of Law Index
35
2019

B. Attitudes and Perceptions

MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

Does the Country Detain People for Migration, Asylum, or Citizenship Reasons?
Yes
2010
Does the Country Have Specific Laws that Provide for Migration-Related Detention?
Yes
2010

LEGAL & REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

Do Migration Detainees Have Constitutional Guarantees?
Yes (Zambia's Constitution of 1991 with Amendments through 2016, Article 26: Provisions Relating to Restriction and Detention) 1991 2016
1991
Detention-Related Legislation
The Refugees Act 1 of 2017 (2017)
2017
Immigration and Deportation Act, No. 18 of 2010 (2010)
2010
Refugees and Control Act 1970 (1970)
1970
Additional Legislation
Immigration and Deportation Amendment Act 19 of 2016 (2016)
2016
The Human Rights Commission Act, 39 of 1996 (1996)
1996
Prisons Act, 1965 (1966)
1966
Regulations, Standards, Guidelines
Immigration and Deportation Act: Subsidiary Legislation (Chapter 123) (2010)
2010
Refugee (Control) Act: Subsidiary Legislation (Chapter 120) (1970)
1970
The Immigration and Deportation (General) Regulations, 2011 (2011)
2011
The Immigration and Deportation (General) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020 (2020)
2020

GROUNDS FOR MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

Immigration-Status-Related Grounds
Detention for unauthorised entry or stay
2010
Detention to effect removal
2010
Non-Immigration-Status-Related Grounds in Immigration Legislation
Detention on public order, threats or security grounds
2017
Detention on health-related grounds
2010
Criminal Penalties for Immigration-Related Violations
Yes (Yes)
2010
Grounds for Criminal Immigration-Related Incarceration / Maximum Length of Incarceration
Unauthorized entry (120)
2010
Has the Country Decriminalised Immigration-Related Violations?
No
2010
Children & Other Vulnerable Groups
Refugees (Provided)
2017
Mandatory Detention
Yes (Non-citizens who have violated a re-entry ban)
2010
Expedited/Fast Track Removal
Yes
2012
Summary Removal/Pushbacks
In Law: No
2010
Re-Entry Ban
Yes
2010

LENGTH OF MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

Maximum Length of Administrative Immigration Detention
Number of Days: 120
2010
Average Length of Immigration Detention
Number of Days: 14
2010
Maximum Length of Detention of Asylum-Seekers
Number of Days: 1460
2017
Recorded Length of Immigration Detention
Number of Days: 14
2015
Maximum Length in Custody Prior to Detention Order
Number of Days: 30
2010
Maximum Length of Detention at Port of Entry
Number of Days: 14
2010
Maximum Length of Incarceration for Immigration-Related Criminal Conviction
(365)
2010

MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION INSTITUTIONS

Custodial Authorities
Department of Immigration (Ministry of Home Affairs) Interior or Home Affairs
2010
Apprehending Authorities
Department of Immigration (Immigration agency)
2010
Zambia Police Service (Police) Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1965
Detention Facility Management
Zambia Correctional Service (Governmental)
1966
Formally Designated Detention Estate?
Yes (Any facility designated by relevant authority)
1966
Types of Detention Facilities Used in Practice
Local prison (Criminal)
2010

PROCEDURAL STANDARDS & SAFEGUARDS

Procedural Standards
Right to appeal the lawfulness of detention (Yes) No
2020
Right to legal counsel (Yes) infrequently
2019
Access to asylum procedures (Yes) Yes
2019
Duration of Time between Detention Reviews (Day)
Number of Days: 14
2010
Legal Appeals (Year)
Number of appeals during year: 2186
Number of successful appeals during year: 2047
2015
Are Non-Custodial Measures/Alternatives to Detention (ATDs) Provided in Law?
Immigration Law: Yes
2010
Does the Law Stipulate Consideration of Non-Custodial Measures (ATDs) before Imposing Detention?
Immigration Law: Yes
2010
Types of Non-Custodial Measures (ATDs) Provided in Law
Provision of a guarantor (Yes)
2010
Impact of Legal ATDs on Overall Detention Rates
Decreased ("Zambia’s National Screening and Referral Mechanism has successfully diverted many migrants in vulnerable situations from the detention system and has been highlighted globally for several years as a success story.")
2021
Access to Detainees
Lawyer: Limited or Some Detention Centres Only
NGOs: Yes
International Monitors: Yes
2019
Recouping Detention or Removal Costs
Unknown
2010

DETENTION MONITORS

Is There A National Human Rights Institution (NHRI)?
1996
Official Name of NHRI
Zambia Human Rights Commission
1996
Is There a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM-OPCAT)
2021
Types of Authorised Detention Monitoring Institutions
Prisons Care and Counseling Association (Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO))
2019
Police Public Complaints Commission (Internal Inspection Agency (IIA))
2019
Zambia Human Rights Commission (National Human Rights Institution (or Ombudsperson) (NHRI))
2019
Chapter One Foundation (Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO))
2019
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (International or Regional Bodies (IRBs))
2019
Insitutions that Can Make Unannounced Visits
Zambia Human Rights Commission
2013
Is the NHRI Recognised as Independent by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions?
Yes
2021
Does NHRI Visit Immigration Detention Centres?
Yes
1996
Does NHRI Receive Complaints?
Yes
1996
Does NHRI Release Reports on Immigration Detention?
Yes
1996
NHRI Monitoring Reports
The State of Human Rights in Zambia, 2017-2018
Do NGOs publish reports on immigration detention?
Yes
2010
Do IIAs have capacity to receive complaints?
Yes
2016
Do IIAs publicly report their findings from detention inspections?
Yes
2016
NGO Immigration Detention Monitoring Reports
"Unjust and Unhealthy: HIV, TB, and Abuse in Zambian Prisons", 27 April 2010
Do IRBs publicly report their findings from inspections?
Yes
2019
Names of International Monitoring Bodies that Carry Out Detention Monitoring Visits
Yes
2019
International Monitoring Reports
International Organization for Migration, Migration in Zambia: A Country Profile 2019
[NEW] Is There A National Human Rights Institution (NHRI)?
Yes (Zambia Human Rights Commission) Yes Yes Yes
1996

TRANSPARENCY

Transparency Ranking on Migration-Related Detention
Little or No Transparency
2021
Is There a Publicly Accessible Official List of Currently Operating Detention Centres?
Not Applicable
2015
Does the Country Provide Annual Statistics of the Numbers of People Placed in Migration-Related Detention?
Partial
2019
Is Detention Data Disaggregated?
Yes
2019
Does the Country Have Access to Information Legislation?
Partial
2002

READMISSION/RETURN/EXTRADITION AGREEMENTS

COVID-19

HEALTH CARE

Provision of Healthcare in Detention Centres
Yes
2019
Medical Screening upon Arrival at Detention Centres (within 48 hours)
Yes
1966
Psychological Evaluation upon Arrival at Detention Centres
Yes
1966
Doctor on Duty at Detention Centres (at least once per week)
Yes
1966
Qualified Nurse Present at Detention Centres (on daily basis)
Yes
1966
Regular Psychologist Visits at Detention Centres (at least once per week)
Unknown
1966

COVID-19 DATA

Has the country released immigration detainees as a result of the pandemic?
Yes
2020
Has the country used legal "alternatives to detention" as part of pandemic detention releases?
Yes
2020
Has the country Temporarily Ceased or Restricted Issuing Detention Orders?
Yes
2020
Has the Country Adopted These Pandemic-Related Measures for People in Immigration Detention?
2021
Has the Country Locked-Down Previously "Open" Reception Facilities, Shelters, Refugee Camps, or Other Forms of Accommodation for Migrant Workers or Other Non-Citizens?
Yes
2020
Has the Country Released People from Criminal Prisons During the Pandemic?
Yes
2020
Has the Country Commenced a National Vaccination Campaign?
Yes
2021
Have Populations of Concern Been Included/Excluded From the National Vaccination Campaign?
2021

INTERNATIONAL TREATIES

International Treaties Ratified
Ratification Year
Observation Date
VCCR, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
2016
2017
ICERD, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
1972
2017
ICESCR, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
1984
2017
ICCPR, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1984
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
1998
2017
CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child
1991
2017
CRPD, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
2010
2017
ICPED, International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
2011
2017
CRSR, Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
1969
2017
CRSSP, Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
1974
2017
CTOCTP, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children
2005
2017
CTOCSP, Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
2005
2017
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Ratio: 13/19
Treaty Reservations
Reservation Year
Observation Date
ICESCR Article 13 1984
1984
2017
CRSR Article 22 1969
1969
2017
CRSSP Article 22 1974
1974
2017
Individual Complaints Procedures
Acceptance Year
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 1984
1984
Ratio of Complaints Procedures Accepted
Observation Date
1/8
2017
Relevant Recommendations Issued by Treaty Bodies
Recommendation Year
Observation Date
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination § 34. The State party: (a) Amend the Refugee Act No. 1 (2017) to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers have the right to access employment, health care and education, and enjoy freedom of movement, and that effective protection is provided to them against refoulement; (b) Develop and effectively implement a long-term strategy that provides a durable solution for the local integration of refugees, especially with regard to education and access to decent livelihoods, as living in camps does not represent a durable solution; (c) Improve the material conditions of refugee camps and ensure that refugees and asylum seekers staying in such camps enjoy an adequate standard of living and access to basic social services; (d) Consider lifting its reservations to articles 17, 22, 26 and 28 of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. 2019
2019
Committee on the Rights of the Child § 56. "The Committee recommends that the State party expedite the adoption of the Refugee Bill and strengthen the legal protection of refugee children. The Committee also urges the State party to provide refugee children with access to social services, such as health and education." 2016
2016

NON-TREATY-BASED INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Relevant Recommendations from the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2008
2017
No 2012
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 1984
1984
2017
APRW, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) 2006
2006
2017

GOVERNANCE SYSTEM

Legal Tradition(s)
Common law
2017
Customary law
2017

DETENTION COSTS

OUTSOURCING

FOREIGN SOURCES OF FUNDING FOR DETENTION OPERATIONS