Antigua and Barbuda

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

Not Available

Detained children

2017

29,207

International migrants

2019

100,000

Population

2020

Overview

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.’”

Types of facilities used for migration-related detention
Administrative Ad Hoc Criminal Unknown
Last 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/ 

DETENTION, EXPULSION, AND INCARCERATION STATISTICS

Total number of immigration detainees by year
Not Available
2019
Total number of detained minors
Not Available
2017
Criminal prison population
371
2017
361
2014
Percentage of foreign prisoners
30.6
2007
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
399
2017
389
2014

DEMOGRAPHICS AND IMMIGRATION-RELATED STATISTICS

Population
100,000
2020
92,000
2015
International migrants
29,207
2019
28,100
2015
International migrants as a percentage of the population
30.6
2015
Refugees
15
2015
0
2014
Total number of new asylum applications
1
2013
Stateless persons
0
2016

SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)
13,432
2014
Remittances to the country
21
2014
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD)
2.1
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
58 (Very high)
2015

DOMESTIC LAWS AND POLICIES

Legal tradition
Common law
2017
Core pieces of national legislation
Immigration and Passport Act of 1946 (2015) 2015
2015
Does the country provide specific criminal penalties for immigration-related violations?
Yes (Yes)
2015

INTERNATIONAL LAW

Individual complaints procedure
Acceptance Year
CEDAW, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 1999 2006
2006
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted
Observation Date
1/4
1/4
Regional legal instruments
Year 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
1998
Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
Yes 2016
2017
No 2011

INSTITUTIONAL INDICATORS

Custodial authority
Immigration Department (Ministry of National Security) Internal or Public Security
2012
Detention Facility Management
Immigration Department (Governmental)
2012
Police (Governmental)
2012