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UNHCR’s South Africa Multi-Country Office (SAMCO) serves nine countries: Botswana, Comoros, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, and South Africa. Together they host approximately 260,521 people of concern to UNHCR, 250,250 of whom are hosted in South Africa. Countries of origin of refugees and asylum-seekers include Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Somalia, and Zimbabwe.

In Botswana, 760 refugees and asylum-seekers live in the Dukwi Refugee camp located some 580 km from the capital Gaborone, managed by Botswana’s Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security and supported by three UNHCR protection staff.

A small number of the caseload is resident in the urban areas of Gaborone and Botswana’s second-largest city, Francistown. Although many Zimbabweans returned voluntarily from Botswana last year, there has been a gradual increase in the population since April 2021 due to new arrivals – including onward movers - from the African Great Lakes region.

In Namibia and Botswana, UNHCR worked with government counterparts on verification exercises for the 5,669 and 1,055 refugees and asylum-seekers in the respective countries to streamline population figures and ensure that refugees and asylum-seekers are correctly documented.

Interest in voluntary repatriation is growing, and UNHCR has supported 394 people to return safely to their countries of origin from Botswana and South Africa since the start of the year. Ending statelessness, enhancing the protection environment, and strengthening partnerships are also priorities in the region.

Additional information

For information about our work in Botswana:

Legislation and guidance

For legislation, case law and UNHCR policy relating to claims for international protection, visit Refworld.

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Office contact details

For information about our operation in Botswana, please contact us through our Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.