Human Rights Committee Concluding observations: Botswana, 2021
Source: UN Human Rights Committee
Human Rights Committee
Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Botswana
Treatment of refugees and asylum seekers and prevention of statelessness
29.While welcoming the drafting of the Refugee (Recognition and Control) Bill, the Committee is concerned about: (a) reports of expulsions of migrants and asylum seekers, including those in need of international protection, without carrying out the necessary individual assessments; (b) reports of refusals to issue identification documents to asylum seekers, who risk being arrested and deported on account of lack of documentation; (c) reports that the majority of unsuccessful asylum applications have been rejected solely on the basis of the concepts of “first country of asylum” or “safe third country”; (d) reports of the mandatory and prolonged detention of asylum seekers at the Francistown Centre and the obligation for refugees to reside in the Dukwi camp, without access to the labour market outside the camp; and (e) the fact that current legislation governing citizenship does not provide adequate safeguards for the prevention of statelessness, including because it does not guarantee the acquisition of Botswana nationality for children born in Botswana or foundlings who would otherwise be stateless (arts. 2, 7, 9–10, 13 and 24).
30. The State party should :
(a) Ensure that the Refugee (Recognition and Control) Bill is fully compliant with the Covenant and relevant international standards, including by continuing to cooperate and engage with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees during all stages of the drafting process;
(b) Establish fair and effective asylum procedures that are in conformity with international standards, that include an independent appeal mechanism with suspensive effect against negative decisions on asylum and that provide for adequate safeguards against arbitrary detention, deportation and refoulement;
(c) Ensure that asylum seekers are detained only as a measure of last resort and establish alternatives to the detention of children and families with children;
(d) Issue and renew identification documents for asylum seekers in a timely manner in order to prevent their arbitrary detention and deportation;
(e) Take the necessary legislative measures to ensure that legislation on citizenship provides adequate safeguards for the prevention of statelessness, in compliance with international standards;
(f) Consider ratifying the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and withdrawing the reservation to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.