Malawi has come under fire from human rights activists for locking up 119 Ethiopian illegal migrants in its prisons.
Human rights activists faulted the southern African nation for its policy of jailing immigrants who were arrested over illegal entry and travelling without documents.
A local non-government organisation, Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (Chreaa) told News24 that the Ethiopian migrants were detained at Maula, Dedza and Ntchisi prisons in central Malawi.
“The number keeps changing with each passing day as a week hardly passes without arresting these illegal migrants. These are all Ethiopians,” said the centre’s executive director Victor Mhango.
When quizzed about why the migrants were kept in prisons, government officials explained that the country did not have money for deportations.
According to the Malawi Human Rights Commission, in 2014 Malawi arrested 702 illegal immigrants and in 2015, 707 illegal immigrants were arrested. While the lucky ones were deported, others ended up in prisons.
Mhango said many illegal migrants were arrested in the northern part of Malawi but he sympathises with the Ethiopians who have been detained for about two years now.