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Immigration Detention in Tanzania – A Prison Survey Report

The use of detention as a migration management tool raises many concerns regarding the protection of vulnerable migrants. In particular, asylum seekers and refugees have the right to seek asylum, and the right to non-refoulement – both of which are put at risk in prison settings absent enforceable national laws and policies that specifically promote their protection. The principal law governing migrants, the Immigration Act, 1995, makes few provisions for alternatives to detention such as bail or supervised release, and offers few deadlines for release from detention. In addition, resource constraints such as lack of interpreters and lack of legal and other support services serve to lengthen the amount of time spent by migrants in detention.

Out of 389 irregular migrants detained in Tanzanian prisons, Asylum Access identified that 18 were asylum seekers or refugees under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1969 Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, or were otherwise persons of concern to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In light of sampling challenges and variations in regional forced migrant flows, this data should not be used to indicate the total number of refugees and asylum seekers detained in the prisons visited, nor should the findings be used to indicate the rate at which refugees and asylum seekers are detained countrywide. Rather, that refugees and asylum seekers were found at all should indicate that forced migrants are vulnerable to unlawful detention–a reality that calls for preventative and corrective measures.

Uploaded on: Jul 19, 2016
Year Published: 2013
Author: Nondo Nobel

Resource Tags

Resource Type: Practitioner Resources Issues: Criminal Justice, Refugees & Migrant Rights Tool Type: Reports / Research Method: Research Languages: English Regions: Tanzania