Urgent Action Update: Refugees and Asylum Seekers Must Be Released Charge (Mozambique: UA 78.19)

Sixteen refugees and asylum seekers, fourteen men and one woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and one man from Ethiopia, have been arbitrarily detained in Pemba, northeast Mozambique, for more than ten months in appalling conditions. They still have not been notified of the reason for their detention or of any criminal charges against them and are being continuously harassed to sign repatriation requests.



  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  2. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 78.19. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.
Jaime Basílio Monteiro
Minister of Interior
Address: Av. Olof Palme 46/48,
Maputo, Mozambique
Email: [email protected], [email protected]
Ambassador Carlos Dos Santos
Embassy of the Republic of Mozambique
1525 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington DC 20036
Phone: 202 293 7146 I Fax: 202 835 0245
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Minister Jaime Basílio Monteiro,

I am writing to you concerning the case of 16 people (11 refugees and five asylum seekers, 14 men and one woman from the DRC and one man from Ethiopia), who are currently detained at the Third Police Station in Pemba city, Cabo Delgado province.

On 31 October 2019, the Vice Minister of Interior, police officers, the Cabo Delgado Provincial Director of the National Immigration Service (SENAMI) and a representative of the National Institute of Refugees’ Support (INAR) visited the 16 refugees and asylum seekers. According to the detainees’ testimonies, during the meeting, the authorities explained that the Minister of Interior had issued a decision prohibiting them to continue living in Mozambique and that they wouldn’t be allowed to enter Mozambique for ten years after their departure. The 16 detainees also said that the authorities told them to sign “voluntary repatriation” forms and threatened them with prolonged detention if they refused to. One of the DRC refugees signed a repatriation form, but the others refused.

The 16 detainees have been held in inhumane conditions for nearly eleven months. Their cell does not have a toilet, forcing them to dig a hole in the police station’s patio to use as a toilet. They drink yellow water from the cell’s sink, and they have not been provided any food for more than a month – they have to buy food when they have money.

I urge you to ensure the immediate release of the 16 refugees and asylum seekers and allow them to return safely to the Maratane Camp in Nampula province; ensure that no one is coerced into requesting repatriation or deported to their countries of origin or to any other country in which they would be at real risk of serious human rights violations, in line with Mozambique’s international human rights obligations; ensure that the 16 refugees and asylum seekers’ detention conditions are in line with international standards, including access to food, water and adequate health care.

Yours sincerely,


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