No detention centre mapping data

Algeria Immigration Detention

Quick Facts

International migrants (2017): 249,000
New asylum applications (2016): 1,963

Centres List

No detention centres data available

Statistics Expand all


Criminal prison population


  • Criminal prison population
NumberObservation Date


Percentage of foreign prisoners


  • Percentage of foreign prisoners
PercentageObservation Date


Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)


  • Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
NumberObservation Date




  • Population
NumberObservation Date


International migrants


  • International migrants
NumberObservation Date


International migrants as a percentage of the population


  • International migrants as a percentage of the population
PercentageObservation Date

21,073 - 100,000

Estimated number of undocumented migrants


  • Estimated number of undocumented migrants
NumberObservation Date
21,073 - 100,0002016




  • Refugees
NumberObservation Date


Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants


  • Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
NumberObservation Date


Total number of new asylum applications


  • Total number of new asylum applications
NumberObservation Date


Stateless persons


  • Stateless persons
NumberObservation Date

Domestic Law Expand all

Legal tradition Show sources
NameObservation Date
Muslim law2017
Civil law2017

Constitutional guarantees? Show sources
Yes/NoConstitution and ArticlesYear AdoptedLast Year Amended
YesConstitution de la République Algérienne Démocratique et Populaire, Article 59, Mars 201619962016
Core pieces of national legislation Show sources
NameYear AdoptedLast Year Amended
Loi n° 08-11 du 21 Joumada Ethania 1429 correspondant au 25 juin 2008 relative aux conditions d'entrée, de séjour et de circulation des étrangers en Algérie2008
Additional legislation Show sources
NameYear AdoptedLast Year Amended
Code Pénal (promulgué par l'Ordonnance n° 66-156 du 18 Safar 1386 correspondant au 8 juin 1966)1996
Regulations, standards, guidelines Show sources
NameYear Published
Décret n° 1963-274 du 1963 fixant les modalités d'application de la Convention de Genève du 28 juillet 1951 relative au statut des Réfugiés1963

Does the country provide specific criminal penalties for immigration-related violations? Show sources
FinesIncarcerationObservation Date
Grounds for criminal immigration-related detention/incarceration and maximum potential duration of incarceration Show sources
Grounds for IncarcerationMaximum Number of Days of IncarcerationObservation Date
Unauthorized entry7302017
Unauthorized re-entry18252017
Unauthorized exit1832017
Unauthorised stay18252017
Has the country decriminalized immigration-related violations? Show sources
Has the country decriminalized immigration-related violations?Observation Date

Types of non-custodial measures Show sources
NameIn LawIn PracticeObservation Date
Home detention (curfew)YesYes

Latest Update Show sources
Update StatusObservation Date
Responding to the Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 survey, a non-governmental actor in Algeria reported that expulsions of undocumented people have been halted since 21 March 2020, though information from news sources appears to contradict this claim. The source, who asked to remain anonymous but whose identity was verified by the GDP, said that they did not have any information regarding whether a moratorium on new immigration detention orders had been put in place or if the country had adopted new immigration and/or asylum policies. The source also stated that they were not aware if immigration detainees were being tested for Covid-19 or whether detainees had been released at all. On 5 May, however, reports indicated that between mid-March and mid-April, hundreds of migrants were forcibly expelled from Algeria and now find themselves stranded in transit centres across Niger in harsh conditions in makeshift quarantine camps in Agadez. As previously reported (see 6 May update on this platform), refugee camps such as the Sahrawi camps are particularly vulnerable to the spread of Covid-19. Reports indicate that as of 8 May, more than 170,000 people were living in the Sahrawi refugee camps, where healthcare centres have no ventilators and are not equipped to deal with the consequences of a Covid-19 spread. In the Tindouf province, where the camps are located, nine cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed. Oxfam’s Country Director in Algeria, Haissam Minkara said: “The new confirmed cases are very close to the camps, which means the risk of an outbreak is now imminent and would be disastrous for the refugee population - one that has already suffered four decades of conflict.” Because refugees in the camps are living in close quarters and many of them suffer from health conditions, including acute malnutrition, diabetes, and anemia, an outbreak would be devastating. Oxfam reported that within the camps, health centres are already experiencing a shortage of beds, medical supplies, protective equipment for staff, and hygiene products. In addition, all non-essential businesses have been closed in the camps and travel between the five camps has been restricted by Algerian authorities. Oxfam stated that although suspending humanitarian aid activities is essential for preventing an outbreak, this also complicates life for people already on the brink. As camps are geographically and economically isolated, and with most economic activities in the camps halted, refugees’ ability to purchase food and hygiene items is increasingly limited. Oxfam and its partners report that they are providing protective equipment and hygiene items to meet the needs of the 33 health facilities and clinics in the camps in addition to manufacturing and installing handwashing units throughout the camps. Oxfam is appealing to the international community to support funding needed to help respond to the crisis. Oxfam’s country director stated: “The Sahrawi refugee crisis has been overlooked for four decades and now, more than ever, the stakes couldn’t be higher for those already left behind by the international community. We are mobilising resources, but it will not be enough. Oxfam is looking to the international community for support to strengthen our capacity to deal with an outbreak.” On 18 April, the country has also opened sewing workshops in 30 of its penitentiaries with the aim of producing 200,000 masks. An extension of this initiative is being planned, by which prisoners would also produce protective suits for medical personnel and disinfection cabins.2020
In correspondence with the Global Detention Project (GDP), UNHCR Algeria reports that the Algerian Government “suspended collective expulsions of migrants in irregular situations in Algeria in mid-March due to the Covid-19 crisis. However, it is reported that groups of nationals from Niger continued to be removed to Niger in March and April, although in smaller numbers than before. However, cross-border movement restrictions taken to contain the spread of Covid-19 might currently impact on the possibility for refugees to access the territory and asylum, which must be maintained even as governments take measures to protect public health.” UNHCR Algeria also told the GDP that “Algeria has not adopted any new asylum policies or practices in response to the Covid-19 crisis. UNHCR office in Algiers receives and registers asylum applications and conducts refugee status determination. Due to the Covid-19 situation, the number of asylum applications received has decreased since March 2020. Reception and appointment for refugees and asylum-seekers in UNHCR office have been temporarily suspended to prevent the virus transmission, and remote pre-registration and interviewing modalities were introduced. Through its Call Centre numbers, Hotline and UNHCR Help website for Algeria (, UNHCR is providing practical information and assistance on a daily basis on procedures and services available to refugees and asylum-seekers during the Covid-19 situation.” As of 5 May 2020, Algeria had recorded 4,648 Covid-19 cases and a total of 465 deaths related to the disease. The government enacted two Decrees (No. 20-69 and 20-70) on 21 and 24 March, establishing social distancing measures, confinement facilities, movement restrictions, and specific rules on commercial activities. Public transport, flights, trains and taxis have all been suspended. The government has announced that these measures will remain in palce until 14 May. Refugee camps like the Sahrawi refugee camps, located a few kilometers from Tindouf, are particularly vulnerable to the spread of Covid-19. Due to the lack of medical staff and health care material, the spread of Covid-19 within these camps could cause a catastrophe. A Saharawi doctor, Abdala Banani Saaid, stated that the health personnel has just 600 pairs of gloves and 2000 masks for a population of between 180,000 and 200,000 people. She added that “no health centre is really ready. Even the national hospital does not have respiratory equipment. Let’s hope we don’t get any case, because we really don’t have anything here.” UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP and five NGO partners have called attention to the challenges faced by Sahrawi refugees. A plan requiring US$ 15 million has been drawn up by the these organisations outlining measures to: “(1) prevent transmission of Covid-19 among Sahrawi refugees; (2) provide adequate care for patients affected by Covid-19 and to support their families and close contacts; and (3) adapt programmes in health, education, food security, protection, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to mitigate the worst effects of the pandemic.” Agostino Mulas, UNHCR representative in Algeria stated that “as governments across the world are taking extraordinary measures to contain the spread and mitigate the impact of Covid-19, we must not forget vulnerable populations such as the Sahrawi refugees. I would like to express our gratitude to the Algerian Government for its continued support to this refugee population and for including them in all the Covid-19 national response strategies … I humbly call on all donors, whether governments, foundations or individuals, to support these efforts and help the humanitarian community working in the Tindouf camps to face this unprecedented crisis.” On 1 April 2020, the Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, ordered the release of 5,037 prisoners. Prisoners on remand and those with a sentence of less than 18 months were released while those convicted of terrorism, espionnage, murder or other violent crimes will remain in prison. In the Koléa prison, a prisoner died from Covid-19 on 9 April 2020. Following the death, the prison was placed in isolation and movements in and out of the prison have been suspended, including prisoners attending their hearings in Court. In the Blida prison, 59 prisoners were released to alleviate overcrowding and avoid the spread of Covid-19. While the country has taken measures to protect prisoners from Covid-19, the GDP has been unable to find reports indicating that authorities have taken measures to assist migrants in detention.2020
With the Covid-19 crisis provoking a state of “panic” across Algeria, the country has announced a "plan d’urgence." Authorities have continued their efforts to block unauthorised migration from sub-Saharan countries, including detaining "migrants clandestins" and arresting alleged traffickers. However, simultaneously, the Ministry of Justice announced that it was temporarily suspending court functions. In addition, all visits to prisons have been suspended and lawyers may only see their clients through a glass separation. The GDP has been unable to find any reports indicating that authorities have taken measures to assist migrants and asylum seekers, including those in detention.2020

International Law Expand all

International treaties Show sources
NameRatification Year
ICERD, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination1972
ICESCR, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights1989
ICCPR, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights1989
CEDAW, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women1996
CAT, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment1989
CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child1993
ICRMW, International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families2005
VCCR, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations1964
CRSR, Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees1963
CRSSP, Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons1964
CRPD, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2009
CTOCTP, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children2004
CTOCSP, Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime2004
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
International treaty reservations Show sources
NameReservation YearObservation Date
ICESCR Article 1319892017
CRC Article 1419932017
Individual complaints procedure Show sources
NameAcceptance Year
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 19661989
ICERD, declaration under article 14 of the Convention1989
CAT, declaration under article 22 of the Convention1989
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted Show sources
NumberObservation Date
Relevant recommendations issued by treaty bodies Show sources
NameRecommendation ExcerptRecommendation Year
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women45 (a) ensure that refugees and asylum-seekers, in particular women and girls, are not penalized for illegal entry and stay in the country , that detention of asylum-seekers is only used as a last resort where necessary and for as short period as possible , and that safeguards against refoulement are fully implemented; and develop cooperation mechanisms with unhcr to identify persons in need of international protection;2012
Committee on Migrant Workers"take steps to ensure that the detention of migrant workers in an irregular situation is only a measure of last resort and that, in all circumstances, such detention is carried out in conformity with articles 16 and 17 of the convention."2010

Regional legal instruments Show sources
NameYear of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
ACHPR, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights1987
ACRWC, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child2003

Bilateral/multilateral agreements linked to readmission Show sources
NameYear in ForceObservation Date
United Kingdom20072017

Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review Show sources
Recomendation IssuedYear IssuedObservation Date

Institutions Expand all

Federal or centralized governing system Show sources
Federal or centralized governing systemObservation Date
Centralized system2017

Custodial authority Show sources
AgencyMinistryMinistry TypologyObservation Date
Ministre de l'Intérieur et des Collectivités LocalesInterior or Home Affairs2017
Types of detention facilities used in practice Show sources
Immigration detention centre (Administrative)Immigration field office (Administrative)Transit centre (Administrative)Reception centre (Administrative)Offshore detention centre (Administrative)Hospital (Administrative)Border guard (Administrative)Police station (Criminal)National penitentiary (Criminal)Local prison (Criminal)Juvenile detention centre (Criminal)Informal camp (Ad hoc)Immigration detention centre (Ad hoc)Surge facility (Ad hoc)Observation Date

Socio Economic Data Expand all

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD) Show sources
Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)Observation Date
Remittances to the country Show sources
Remittances to the country (in millions USD)Observation Date
Unemployment Rate Show sources
Unemployment RateObservation Date
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP) Show sources
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)UNDP four-tiered rankingObservation Date

World Bank Rule of Law Index Show sources
Percentile rank among all countries (ranges from 0 (lowest) to 100 (highest) rank)Estimate of governance (ranges from approximately -2.5 (weak) to 2.5 (strong) )Observation Date

Country Links

Additional Resources

Immigration Detention in Niger: Expanding the EU-Financed Zone of Suffering Through “Penal Humanitarianism”?

Immigration Detention in Niger (2019 Report): Niger has been a principal migration hub for people criss-crossing the Sahel region of Africa for generations. It has also served as an important transit country for migrants and asylum seekers on the Central Mediterranean route through Libya to Europe. More recently, the country has begun receiving third-country nationals who […]

March 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to the Global Detention Project’s March 2018 newsletter. For any questions about our content, please contact us at:   OUR LATEST PUBLICATIONS    Immigration Detention in Ireland: Will Better Detention Mean More Detention?  The number of individuals placed in immigration detention in Ireland is relatively low. However, as the GDP’s latest country profile […]

Joint Submission to the UN Committee on Migrant Workers: Algeria

  Algérie: Problèmes Liés Á La Détention Des Migrants Information à destination du Comité des travailleurs migrants (CMW) 28ème Session (9-20 avril 2018) Genève, mars 2018 Le Global Detention Project (GDP) et le Collectif Loujna Tounkaranké apprécient l’occasion qui leur est offerte de fournir des informations en amont de l’examen du deuxième rapport périodique de l’Algérie […]

Submission to the UN Committee on Migrant Workers: Algeria

Global Detention Project Submission to the UN Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW) 26th Session (3-13 April 2017) Algeria Geneva, March 2017     Issues concerning immigration detention The Global Detention Project (GDP) welcomes the opportunity to provide information relevant to the list of issues relating to the second periodic report of Algeria (CMW/C/DZA/2) with respect […]

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