Cuba

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

Not Available

Detained children

2017

46

New asylum applications

2019

233

Refugees

2019

4,886

International migrants

2019

Overview

(February 2021) Cuba hosts comparatively small numbers of international migrants and refugees. Although historically it has been a destination for some Haitian asylum seekers, during 2012-2019 the country received only 430 asylum applicants, most of whom were from Syria and Iran. The government grants temporary residence status and offers educational scholarships and free health services to all refugees and asylum seekers. Authorities do not detain non-citizens who are seeking international protection, however there may be exceptions if a person does not follow procedures. A reception facility reportedly operates in Punta de Maisí. While immigration detention does not appear to be used in Cuba, the country has long been criticised for imposing lengthy pretrial detention measures, as well as for overcrowding, poor hygiene, and lack of access to medical care and food in prisons.

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

Related Reading

20 October 2020

A Street Vendor Wearing a Mask as a Precaution Against the Spread of Coronavirus, (Associated Press,
A Street Vendor Wearing a Mask as a Precaution Against the Spread of Coronavirus, (Associated Press, "Cuba Closes Off Havana to Stamp Out Spread of Coronavirus," 1 September 2020, https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/cuba-closes-off-havana-stamp-spread-coronavirus-72753238)

The Cuban government responded swiftly to the COVID-19 crisis, implementing several restrictions early on in the pandemic including a ban on tourist arrivals and a lockdown for vulnerable people. By August 2020, however, cases began to increase and by mid-October there were a total of 6,220 cases and 125 deaths related to the virus.

The GDP has been unable to establish the extent to which detention facilities are currently used in Cuba as part of immigration enforcement procedures or obtain details on COVID-19 related measures taken to safeguard people in immigration custody.

In its submission to the Universal Periodic Review regarding Cuba in 2018, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that “as a matter of practice, Cuban immigration authorities do not detain asylum seekers. When a non-citizen in detention contacts UNHCR to submit an application for the refugee status, UNHCR is granted access to the person, who is subsequently released.” UNHCR underscored the possibility that “people in need of international protection could be detained and deported without having the opportunity to seek international protection, as immigration authorities do not have mechanisms or regulations to identify asylum-seekers and they do not refer cases to UNHCR.” UNHCR recommended that the country: “(a) accede to the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees; (c) establish official identification and referral mechanisms for persons in need of international protection, with the assistance of UNHCR; and (d) grant temporary residency status to mandate refugees recognised after arriving in the country with tourist visas, under the sub-classification of refugees set forth in the national legislation on migration.” The agency reports that in 2017 there were 343 refugees and 15 asylum seekers; in 2019, there were 233 refugees and 31 asylum-seekers.

As regards the country’s prisons, on 30 April, the government ordered the release of 6,579 prisoners as part of its pandemic response: 421 prisoners were released to their homes awaiting their trials and others were given conditional release. By 6 April, the prison authority had published a prevention plan for detainees, guards, and any other persons intervening in detention. The measures include a hygiene and disinfection protocol, access to medical care, and the creation of isolation quarters.

As of 19 October, there were no reports of COVID-19 cases within the country’s prisons. On the other hand, in February 2020, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights highlighted in a report on the situation of human rights in Cuba the persistence of deplorable conditions of detention in the country’s prisons, including overcrowding, insufficiency of medicines, food and drinking water, inadequate hygiene and sanitation and poor medical assistance.


Last updated:

ENFORCEMENT DATA

Total Detainees/ Stock & Flow (Year)
Not Available
2019
Total Number of Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
Not Available
2017
Criminal Prison Population (Year)
57,337
2012
Prison Population Rate (per 100,000 of National Population)
510
2012

POPULATION DATA

Population (Year)
11,300,000
2020
11,390,000
2015
International Migrants (Year)
4,886
2019
13,300
2015
International Migrants as Percentage of Population (Year)
0.1
2015
Refugees (Year)
233
2019
287
2018
342
2017
312
2016
303
2015
280
2014
Ratio of Refugees Per 1000 Inhabitants (Year)
0.03
2016
0.02
2014
New Asylum Applications (Year)
46
2019
75
2016
1
2014
Refugee Recognition Rate (Year)
92.9
2014
Stateless Persons (Year)
0
2016
0
2015

SOCIO-ECONOMIC DATA & POLLS

Gross Domestic Product per Capita (in USD)
6,789
2013
Unemployment Rate
2014
Net Official Development Assistance (ODA) (in Millions USD)
261.7
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
67 (High)
2015

B. Attitudes and Perceptions

MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

LEGAL & REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

GROUNDS FOR MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

LENGTH OF MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION INSTITUTIONS

PROCEDURAL STANDARDS & SAFEGUARDS

DETENTION MONITORS

TRANSPARENCY

READMISSION/RETURN/EXTRADITION AGREEMENTS

COVID-19

HEALTH CARE

COVID-19 DATA

INTERNATIONAL TREATIES

International Treaties Ratified
Ratification Year
Observation Date
CTOCSP, Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
2013
2013
CTOCTP, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children
2013
2013
ICPED, International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
2009
2009
CRPD, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
2007
2007
CAT, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
1995
1995
CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child
1991
1991
CEDAW, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
1980
1980
ICERD, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
1972
1972
VCCR, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
1965
1965
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Ratio: 9/19
Ratio of Complaints Procedures Accepted
Observation Date
0/6
0/6

NON-TREATY-BASED INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Relevant Recommendations from the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2009
2017
No 2013

REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

GOVERNANCE SYSTEM

Legal Tradition(s)
Civil law
2017

DETENTION COSTS

OUTSOURCING

FOREIGN SOURCES OF FUNDING FOR DETENTION OPERATIONS