The refugees, who were staying at the Tongogara refugee camp, were “accused of robbing a food supply warehouse” and detained in August 2021, according to the report.
“The government forcibly returned approximately 70 of these refugees to the DRC in violation of international law according to an international organisation.
“DRC authorities rejected approximately 15 of them, whom the government then placed in detention facilities in Harare,” the report says.
Despite being planned to house 3,000 refugees, the Tongogara Refugee Camp had 15,797 refugees and asylum seekers as of November last year.
The majority of refugees come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which accounts for 76% of the total, followed by Mozambique (11%), Burundi (6%), and Rwanda (5%). (5 percent ).
Every month, an estimated 100 persons and asylum seekers arrived at the camp before the Covid-19 outbreak. According to the US investigation, security forces in Zimbabwe abused some migrants and refugees.
“Security forces routinely detained migrants, who lacked identification documents or permits to be in the country and held them in prisons with convicted criminals,” the report says.
This type of long-term imprisonment was frequent, and migrants complained about mistreatment by other inmates as well as poor facilities.
“Prison conditions were harsh and life-threatening due to overcrowding, food shortages, lack of water, physical mistreatment of prisoners, lack of access to personal protective equipment to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, and inadequate sanitary conditions and medical care,” the report added.
The government had an official camping policy that required refugees to stay at Tongogara Refugee Camp. Nonetheless, roughly 850 refugees lived in metropolitan locations by the end of the year, including Harare and Bulawayo.
Along the porous border with Mozambique, more than 6,500 Mozambican asylum seekers were housed in host communities.
Currently, Zimbabwe serves as a transit point for refugees and asylum seekers from all over Africa en route to South Africa. Human traffickers use the country’s weak borders to transport desperate people.
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