Zimbabwe

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

Not Available

Detained children

2017

1,841

New asylum applications

2019

8,956

Refugees

2019

411,257

International migrants

2019

Overview

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

30 March 2021

Pindula News, “110 Inmates at Mutimurefu Prison Contract Coronavirus,” 27 January 2021, https://news.pindula.co.zw/2021/01/27/110-inmates-at-mutimurefu-prison-contract-coronavirus/
Pindula News, “110 Inmates at Mutimurefu Prison Contract Coronavirus,” 27 January 2021, https://news.pindula.co.zw/2021/01/27/110-inmates-at-mutimurefu-prison-contract-coronavirus/

Zimbabwe, which has a population of approximately 14 million, had recorded 36,822 cases of COVID-19 and 1,520 related deaths as of 29 March 2021. Although there have been reports indicating the use of immigration detention measures for many years in Zimbabwe, in particular for migrants en route to South Africa, the Global Detention Project has not found any information concerning measures taken by the government to prevent the spread of infection amongst people in immigration custody since the onset of the pandemic.

According to UNHCR, in 2020, there were 9,115 refugees, 11,760 asylum seekers, and 270,000 internally displaced persons in Zimbabwe. As part of its COVID-19 response in the country, UNHCR has helped install hand-washing stations in the Tongogara refugee camp and supported more than 1,200 children and young people with home-based learning.

The country has ratified several human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. However, at the time of writing, the country had not yet ratified other important human rights treaties, including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

During its review for the second cycle of the UN Universal Periodic Review, Zimbabwe received several relevant recommendations, including: to “improve detention conditions in prisons and in police holding cells (Burundi) (para. 131.75)” and “ratify other human rights conventions, particularly the Convention against Torture and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (Congo) (para. 132.2).”

Zimbabwe’s prisons are notorious for being unsanitary, overcrowded, and lacking basic amenities like running water in cells. In March 2020, the government acknowledged that Zimbabwe’s prisons, with a capacity of 17,000 had a population of 22,000 people. In consequence, between March and June 2020, the government released 4,208 prisoners under presidential amnesty order. Yet, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), far too many remained behind bars to allow for social distancing. Lawyers who had visited prisons in Harare in July 2020 told HRW that while masks were being provided, inmates and certain guards did not use them partly due to the lack of information on protective measures against COVID-19.

In October 2020, the Zimbabwean Human Rights NGO Forum and a former prisoner lodged a High Court application seeking to compel the country’s finance minister, Mthuli Ncube, to release funds for prison facilities. The claimants argued that the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) failed to comply with basic COVID-19 regulations such as the provision of facemasks, hand sanitisers and social distancing and requested that the state provides water, food, vehicles, COVID-19 tests, and medical supplies. On 2 December 2020, the High Court ordered the government to ensure that every inmate at the Chikurubi Prison gets 60 litres of water daily and ordered the finance minister to release funds for supplementary water and food supply. The Court also ordered the country’s prison authority to separate healthy inmates from those who are ill and to provide essential medicines.

On 27 January 2021, 110 detainees tested positive to COVID-19 at the Mutimurefu prison, one of the most overpopulated in the country. Two weeks prior, a senior officer of the Chikurubi prison died from the virus and 15 guards in that prison tested positive for COVID-19.


Last updated:

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
19,521
2017
18,980
2014
13,361
2010
16,429
2007
19,608
2004
19,376
2001
18,977
1998
21,212
1995
21,212
1992
Percentage of foreign prisoners
1.9
2017
0.7
2008
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
120
2017
147
2014
107
2010
132
2007
156
2004
154
2001
154
1998
180
1995
191
1992

DEMOGRAPHICS AND IMMIGRATION-RELATED STATISTICS

Population
14,900,000
2020
15,603,000
2015
International migrants
411,257
2019
398,900
2015
International migrants as a percentage of the population
2.6
2015
Refugees
8,956
2019
7,797
2018
7,572
2017
7,418
2016
6,085
2015
6,079
2014
Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
0.47
2016
0.4
2014
Total number of new asylum applications
1,841
2019
1,501
2016
480
2014
Refugee recognition rate
75.3
2014
Stateless persons
0
2016
300,000
2015

SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)
931
2014
Unemployment Rate
2014
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD)
757.8
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
155 (Low)
2015

DOMESTIC LAWS AND POLICIES

Legal tradition
Civil law
2017
Common law
2017
Customary law
2017

INTERNATIONAL LAW

Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Ratio: 10/19
International treaty reservations
Reservation Year
Observation Date
CRSR Article 22 1981
1981
2017
Individual complaints procedure
Acceptance Year
CRPD, Optional Protocol to o the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2013
2013
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted
Observation Date
1/6
2017
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 1995
1995
APRW, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) 2008
2008
Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2011
2017
No 2016
2017

INSTITUTIONAL INDICATORS