For information on UNHCR's operations in Botswana in 2018 and beyond, please visit the Regional Office in South Africa page. 

Operation: Opération: Botswana



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Key Figures

2018 year-end results
348 refugees with HIV received antiretroviral treatment (ART)
59 refugees departed under voluntary repatriation
12 refugees departed for resettlement
100% of refugees received monthly food distribution
2016 year-end results
2,350 refugees and asylum-seekers received monthly food assistance
563 PoC children were enrolled in primary and secondary schools
332 refugees had access to anti-retroviral treatment
82 refugees departed for resettlement

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2018 2,322
2017 2,480
2016 2,832


[["Refugees",2047],["Asylum-seekers",268],["Others of concern",7]]
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2018 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[5.03058637,4.351907414,3.33321459,3.0763196,null,null],"expenditure":[2.73602506,2.54778802,2.19748654,1.87474004,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[5.03058637,4.351907414,3.33321459,3.0763196,null,null],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[2.73602506,2.54778802,2.19748654,1.87474004,null,null],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017

Operational context

The asylum space in Botswana remained limited due to the policies restricting refugees and asylum-seekers to Dukwi refugee camp. The strict encampment policy, coupled with the reservation to the right to work, hampered the self-reliance of people of concern and led to increased dependency and social challenges, including harmful coping mechanisms and increased sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Furthermore, asylum-seekers have been detained at the Centre for Illegal Immigrants for indefinite periods of time. UNHCR continued to advocate for fair and efficient asylum processes as well as the relocation of detained asylum-seekers to Dukwi camp. 

Population trends

In 2017, Botswana hosted 2,480 people of concern to UNHCR, consisting of 2,120 refugees, close to 70 asylum-seekers, and some 290 others of concern. They came mainly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Key achievements

  • As a result of UNHCR advocacy, the Government of Botswana has indicated that it will review the Refugee and Control Act of 1968.

Unmet needs

  • UNHCR was not able to identify a partner to provide legal support to refugees.
  • Medical care provided to people of concern by the Government did not include antiretroviral treatment.
  • Refugees did not have access to machine readable convention travel documents, which affected particularly those with medical needs that required travel to outside of the country
  • There is a lack of access to tertiary education for people of concern.

Working environment

Despite good governance and a record of strong economic growth, Botswana continues to grapple with many social and economic challenges. The Government has ratified key refugee and human rights instruments and established a working group to review the Refugees Act of 1967. 

Refugees reside in Dukwi refugee camp in line with the Government’s encampment policy, which affects self-sufficiency, income generation and the local integration of refugees. There are no reception facilities and asylum-seekers are detained at the Centre for Illegal Immigrants in Francistown. 

The High Court has interdicted the repatriation of Namibian refugees from the Zambezi Region despite the 2015 cessation. In early 2016, a joint exercise between the Government and UNHCR identified 526 Namibian refugees for resettlement and 379 refugees for local integration. 

Key Priorities

In 2017 the UNHCR operation in Botswana will focus on:

•    advocating with the Government for the lifting of the reservations to the 1951 Convention;
•    providing capacity building and technical assistance to the Government in policy development, legislative review, refugee status determination and management of refugee issues;
•    ensuring that refugees, particularly those with vulnerabilities, have access to basic services, while promoting the self-sufficiency of refugees; 
•    promoting durable solutions, particularly for Namibian refugees. 

Latest contributions
  • 17-JUL-2019
  • 16-JUL-2019
  • 11-JUL-2019
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  • 08-JUL-2019
    European Union
  • Kuwait
  • 05-JUL-2019
  • 04-JUL-2019

    private donors

  • European Union
  • Japan
  • 03-JUL-2019
  • 02-JUL-2019
  • 30-JUN-2019

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