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Antigua and Barbuda Immigration Detention

Antigua and Barbuda opened its first immigration detention centre in 2012. A government press release at the time stated: “The opening of the Detention Center is an effort to improve the current manner in which persons are detained. The Chief of Immigration says he expects that there will be some criticism with regard to the size and appearance of the facility but says ‘something is better than nothing.’”

Quick Facts


International migrants (2015): 28,100
New asylum applications (2013): 1

Profile Updated: July 2016

Antigua and Barbuda Immigration Detention Profile

The tiny Caribbean island country of Antigua and Barbuda opened its first immigration detention centre in 2012. A government press release at the time stated: “The opening of the Detention Center is an effort to improve the current manner in which persons are detained. The Chief of Immigration says he expects that there will be some criticism with regard to the size and appearance of the facility but says ‘something is better than nothing.’”[1]

The country relies heavily on tourism and the financial sector. While it has experienced low levels of migration during much of its history, Antigua and Barbuda recently experienced a modest upsurge in its migrant population.[2] This could be the result of the diversification of the national economy and the significant influx of Central American migrants.

The Immigration and Passport Act of 1946 regulates entry of persons to the country. The law has provisions concerning the treatment of non-citizens who violate the law.[3] Although administrative detention is only vaguely implied in the law, section 40 lists a number offences and accompanying penalties. Thus, for instance, it provides that “any prohibited immigrant who knowingly lands” on the territory may be sentenced to a maximum six month imprisonment.[4]

The law also provides sharp restrictions on vessels and empowers masters of vessels to hold suspected prohibited persons on board. Section 26 of the act states: "The master of a vessel may use all reasonable and proper means (including force if necessary) to prevent any person landing in Antigua and Barbuda contrary to the provisions of this Act.”[5] Masters and owners of vessels are also liable for repatriation expenses under the Act.

Observers have noted that Antigua and Barbuda, like many of its neighbouring island nations, lacks a developed civil society sector that can provide independent oversight and monitoring of immigration detention operations.[6]


[1] Government of Antigua and Barbuda. 2012. Press Release: New Immigration Detention Center Opens." 10 July 2012. http://www.ab.gov.ag/article_details.php?id=3307&category=38

[2] Index Mundi. 2012. Antigua and Barbuda Net Migration Rate per Year Chart. Index Mundi. http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?v=27&c=ac&l=en

[3] Government of Antigua and Barbuda. 1946. Antigua and Barbuda Immigration and Passport Act of 1946. Government of Antigua and Barbuda.  http://www.laws.gov.ag/acts/chapters/cap-208.pdf

[4] Government of Antigua and Barbuda. 1946. Antigua and Barbuda Immigration and Passport Act of 1946. Government of Antigua and Barbuda.  http://www.laws.gov.ag/acts/chapters/cap-208.pdf

[5] Government of Antigua and Barbuda. 1946. Antigua and Barbuda Immigration and Passport Act of 1946. Government of Antigua and Barbuda.  http://www.laws.gov.ag/acts/chapters/cap-208.pdf

[6] Aragón, Veronica (International Human Rights Clinic of Loyola Law School of Los Angeles). 2015. “Shining a spotlight on the Caribbean: Seeking Support for First Comprehensive Report on Caribbean Migration Detention.” http://idcoalition.org/news/shining-spotlight-caribbean/ 

Centres List

No detention centres data available

Statistics Expand all



371

Criminal prison population

2017

  • Criminal prison population
NumberObservation Date
3712017
3612014


30.6

Percentage of foreign prisoners

2007

  • Percentage of foreign prisoners
PercentageObservation Date
30.62007


399

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

2017

  • Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
NumberObservation Date
3992017
3892014



92,000

Population

2015

  • Population
NumberObservation Date
92,0002015


28,100

International migrants

2015

  • International migrants
NumberObservation Date
28,1002015


30.6

International migrants as a percentage of the population

2015

  • International migrants as a percentage of the population
PercentageObservation Date
30.62015


15

Refugees

2015

  • Refugees
NumberObservation Date
152015
02014


1

Total number of new asylum applications

2013

  • Total number of new asylum applications
NumberObservation Date
12013


0

Stateless persons

2016

  • Stateless persons
NumberObservation Date
02016

Domestic Law Expand all

Legal tradition Show sources
NameObservation Date
Common law2017

Core pieces of national legislation
NameYear AdoptedLast Year Amended
Immigration and Passport Act of 1946 20152015

Does the country provide specific criminal penalties for immigration-related violations? Show sources
FinesIncarcerationObservation Date
YesYes2015

International Law Expand all

Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
  10/19
Individual complaints procedure Show sources
NameAcceptance Year
CEDAW, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 19992006
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted Show sources
NumberObservation Date
1/4
1/4

Regional legal instruments Show sources
NameYear of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
CBDP, Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belem do Para)1998

Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review Show sources
Recomendation IssuedYear IssuedObservation Date
Yes20162017
No2011

Institutions Expand all

Custodial authority Show sources
AgencyMinistryMinistry TypologyObservation Date
Immigration Department Ministry of National SecurityInternal or Public Security2012
Detention Facility Management Show sources
Entity NameEntity TypeObservation Date
Immigration Department Governmental2012
PoliceGovernmental2012

Socio Economic Data Expand all

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD) Show sources
Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)Observation Date
13,4322014
Remittances to the country Show sources
Remittances to the country (in millions USD)Observation Date
212014
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD) Show sources
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in USD)Observation Date
2.12014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP) Show sources
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)UNDP four-tiered rankingObservation Date
58Very high2015

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