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Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 06 Refugees, asylum seekers held arbitrarily
UA 078/19
Abgeschlossen am 25. Juli 2019

Refugees, asylum seekers held arbitrarily

AI-Index: AFR 41/0465/2019

Fifteen refugees and asylum seekers (14 men, one woman) from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and one male refugee from Ethiopia are currently held at the Third Police Station in Pemba city, Cabo Delgado Province in Mozambique. They have been held since 17 January and are not being given necessary medical care and adequate food.


On 5 October 2015, a woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and her baby died during labour at the Maratane Camp Health Centre. On the same day, several refugees started a demonstration against the death of the mother and her baby and the poor medical assistance they were allegedly provided in the camp. As a result of the demonstration, the Health Centre was damaged, and some people broke into the food storage room and stole food and other materials.

On 9 October 2015, the administrator of the Maratane Refugee Camp filed a complaint with the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) of Nampula and gave to the officers a list with 24 names of those allegedly responsible for the vandalism of the centre facilities, including all of the 16 refugees and asylum seekers currently detained in Pemba city. The Public Prosecutor criminally charged them with robbery and damage to a state building. On 29 May 2017, the Cabo Delgado Provincial Court found all the accused not guilty.

Everyone – including irregular migrants, regular migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees – has the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, due process and judicial guarantees, to adequate detention conditions, including access to food, water and adequate health care, and to not be subjected to arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, collective expulsion or refoulment. All states are forbidden from transferring anyone to a place where they would be at real risk of serious human rights violations.

In April 2019, Cyclone Kenneth caused a landfall in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado. The cyclone destroyed houses and damaged vital infrastructure such as school, hospital, road, sanitation facilities and communications networks. The Third Police Station, where the 16 refugees and asylum seekers are being held, was flooded due to the cyclone and was left in poor condition.

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