Albania

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

6

Detained children

2017

6,678

New asylum applications

2019

120

Refugees

2019

49,160

International migrants

2019

Overview

(February 2021) Albania has experienced significant flows of migrants and refugees crossing from Greece en route to Western Europe. With membership in the European Union a key national priority, the country cooperates closely with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) to boost its border controls. Albania has operated a migrant detention centre in Karreç since 2010. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture has noted numerous problems at the centre, including lack of access to legal assistance, complaints of mistreatment by detainees, and poor material conditions. The country has also been criticised for not operating separate facilities for unaccompanied minors.

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

15 May 2020

The Gates of the National Centre for Asylum Seekers in Babrru, Tirana, (Vladimir Karaj,
The Gates of the National Centre for Asylum Seekers in Babrru, Tirana, (Vladimir Karaj, "Violence and Hunger Stalk: Refugees and Migrants in Albania," Balkan Insight, 6 May 2020, https://balkaninsight.com/2020/05/06/violence-and-hunger-stalk-refugees-and-migrants-in-albania/)

The numbers of migrants and refugees in Albania have risen in recent years. According to the Department of Border and Migration, 11,344 people were detained at the border between January 2019 and February 2020.

The Euro-Med Monitor called on the government of Albania ‘’to immediately undertake necessary measures to provide adequate housing and sufficient food supplies to refugees and migrants in its custody, in addition to ensuring their safety from gang violence.’’

The imposition of a curfew on 16 March has impacted undocumented migrants across the country. Refugee centres have been closed, and migrants and asylum seekers left outside, looking for food.

There were 876 confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of 13 May in the country.

On 4 March, the Albanian government announced the temporary release of around 600 prisoners for 3 months. This measure concerns inmates held for minor offences, as well as the elderly and individuals suffering from chronic diseases. There is an estimate of 5,500 prisoners in Albania, whose penitentiaries are overcrowded.

On 10 April, a group of more than 30 human rights organisations issued an open letter to the government protesting a plan to imprison individuals who disobey quarantine orders. The penal code was indeed amended on 16 April to impose two to eight years of jail time for rule-breakers.

19 inmates tested positive to Covid-19 on 20 April, and were isolated immediately. The Tirana penitentiary hospital had been dedicated exclusively to inmates who tested positive to the coronavirus.


Last updated: October 2016

ENFORCEMENT DATA

Total Detainees/ Stock & Flow (Year)
Not Available
2019
Total Number of Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
6
2017
16
2016
8
2015
Criminal Prison Population (Year)
5,564
2017
5,201
2013
Percentage of Foreign Prisoners (Year)
1.4
2017
1.5
2012
Prison Population Rate (per 100,000 of National Population)
193
2017
181
2013

POPULATION DATA

Population (Year)
2,900,000
2020
2,873,460
2017
2,897,000
2015
International Migrants (Year)
49,160
2019
52,000
2017
57,600
2015
International Migrants as Percentage of Population (Year)
1.8
2017
2
2015
Refugees (Year)
120
2019
131
2018
119
2017
111
2016
104
2015
104
2014
Ratio of Refugees Per 1000 Inhabitants (Year)
0.05
2016
0.04
2014
New Asylum Applications (Year)
6,678
2019
66
2019
2,161
2016
427
2014
Stateless Persons (Year)
4,160
2018
4,460
2017
4,921
2016
7,443
2015

SOCIO-ECONOMIC DATA & POLLS

Gross Domestic Product per Capita (in USD)
4,537.86
2017
4,564
2014
Remittances to the Country
1,118,000
2015
Unemployment Rate
2017
2014
2013
Unemployment Rate Amongst Migrants
80
2013
Net Official Development Assistance (ODA) (in Millions USD)
168,530,000
2016
280.1
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
68 (High)
2017
85 (High)
2015
World Bank Rule of Law Index
39 (-0.4)
2017

B. Attitudes and Perceptions

MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

LEGAL & REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

Detention-Related Legislation
Law on Asylum in the Republic of Albania. Law No. 8432. 1998. (1998)
1998

GROUNDS FOR MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

Children & Other Vulnerable Groups
Asylum seekers (Provided) Yes
2015
Unaccompanied minors (Provided)
2015

LENGTH OF MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION INSTITUTIONS

Apprehending Authorities
Border Patrol
2015
Police
2014
Types of Detention Facilities Used in Practice
Yes Yes
2015
2015

PROCEDURAL STANDARDS & SAFEGUARDS

DETENTION MONITORS

Types of Authorised Detention Monitoring Institutions
Office of the People's Advocate (Avokati i Popullit) (National Human Rights Institution (or Ombudsperson) (NHRI))
2016
Office of the People's Advocate (Avokati i Popullit) (OPCAT National Preventive Mechanism (NPM))
2016
Is the NHRI Recognised as Independent by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions?
Yes
2016
Does NHRI Visit Immigration Detention Centres?
Yes
2016
Does NHRI Receive Complaints?
Yes
2016
Does NHRI Release Reports on Immigration Detention?
Yes
2015
Does the NPM Visit Immigration Detention Centres?
Yes
2015
Does NPM Release Reports on Immigration Detention?
Yes
2015

TRANSPARENCY

READMISSION/RETURN/EXTRADITION AGREEMENTS

Bilateral/Multilateral Readmission Agreements
Austria (2007)
2017
Germany (2003)
2017
Belgium (2008)
2017
Bulgaria (2003)
2017
Denmark (2008)
2017
Greece (1995)
2017
Italy (2008)
2017
Hungary (2010)
2017
Luxembourg (2008)
2017
Malta (2011)
2017
Romania (2005)
2017
Spain (2011)
2017
Norway (2009)
2017
Slovakia (2010)
2017
Slovenia (2011)
2017
Netherlands (2008)
2017
United Kingdom (2005)
2017
Iceland (2010)
2017
Switzerland (2003)
2017
Bosnia and Herzegovina (2010)
2017
Croatia (2005)
2017
Macedonia (2005)
2017
Kosovo (2010)
2017
Moldova (2013)
2017
Montenegro (2011)
2017
Serbia (2011)
2017
Albania (EU agreement) (2006)
2006

COVID-19

HEALTH CARE

COVID-19 DATA

INTERNATIONAL TREATIES

International Treaties Ratified
Ratification Year
Observation Date
OP CRC Communications Procedure
2013
2018
CRPD, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
2013
2013
ICRMW, International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
2007
2007
ICPED, International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
2007
2007
OPCAT, Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
2003
2003
CRSSP, Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
2003
2003
CTOCTP, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children
2002
2002
CTOCSP, Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
2002
2002
ICERD, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
1994
1994
CEDAW, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
1994
1994
CAT, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
1994
1994
CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child
1992
1992
CRSR, Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
1992
1992
PCRSR, Protocol to the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
1992
1992
ICCPR, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1991
1991
ICESCR, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
1991
1991
VCCR, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
1991
1991
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Ratio: 17/19
Individual Complaints Procedures
Acceptance Year
Observation Date
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 2007
2007
2017
CEDAW, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 1999 2003
2003
2017
ICPED, International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, declaration under article 31 2007
2007
2017
CRC, [Third] Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child establishing a communications procedure, 2011 2013
2013
2017
Ratio of Complaints Procedures Accepted
Observation Date
4/9
2017
Relevant Recommendations Issued by Treaty Bodies
Recommendation Year
Observation Date
Human Rights Committee 13. The Committee is concerned that the automatic detention until deportation of all persons entering the country irregularly, including minors, and the lack of adequate information and referral of asylum seekers among such persons to the asylum procedure, exposes persons in need of international protection to a high risk of refoulement. The Committee is also concerned at the poor living conditions in transit reception facilities for asylum seekers and refugees (arts. 6, 7, 9 and 10). The State party should ensure proper implementation of pre-screening procedures at the border and inside the country in order to ensure that persons in need of international protection are identified and referred to the asylum procedure, regardless of whether or not they entered the country in an irregular manner. It should refrain from detaining asylum seekers on the basis of the manner of entry into the country. It should improve living conditions in transit reception facilities. 2013
2013
2013
Committee on the Rights of the Child §30. "The Committee urges the State party to: (a) Strengthen its efforts in order to ensure that the principle of the best interests of the child is appropriately integrated and consistently applied in all legislative, administrative and judicial proceedings as well as in all policies, programmes and projects relevant to and with an impact on children; (b) Provide judges with clear instructions on the application of the best interests principle in adoption procedures and ensure that decisions are effectively taken in a timely manner so that children do no longer remain for long period s of time in institutions; and (c) Develop procedures and criteria to provide guidance for determining the best interests of the child in every area, and disseminate them to the public and private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities and legislative bodies. The legal reasoning of all judicial and administrative judgments and decisions should also be based on this principle." 2012
2012
Committee on the Rights of the Child § 73. "The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that children are properly identified and registered during pre-screening procedures at border points and no longer detained and that best interest s determination procedures are initiated to define how to best address the child’s immediate and long - term needs. This should include the appointment of legal custodians and the provision of comprehensive information to minors on their return prospects. The Committee encourages the State p arty to ensure that the Border Police do not detain unaccompanied minors and, in this regard , seek technical assistance from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. It also urges the State party to ensure that asylum-seeking and refugee children have access to education. It further recommends that the State party takes into account its general comment No. 6 (CRC/GC/2005/6)."... 75. "The Committee recommends that the State party study the impact of migration on children as previously recommended by the Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW/C/ALB/CO/1, para. 38, 2010) and to provide children with all the necessary social services for them to fully enjoy their rights under the Convention." 2012
2012
Committee on the Rights of the Child §85. "The Committee recommends that the State party bring the juvenile justice system fully in to line with the Convention, in particular articles 37, 39 and 40, and with other relevant standards, including the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules), the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (the Riyadh Guidelines), the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (the Havana Rules), the Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System and the Committee’s general comment No. 10 (CRC/C/GC/10 , 2007 ) . In particular, the Committee urges the State party to: (a) Establish specialized juvenile courts with adequate human, technical and financial resources throughout the country , introduce specialized judges for children in all the regions and ensure that such specialized judges receive appropriate education and training; (b) Ensure that children are no longer detained in police stations together with adults and without access to a lawyer and that all cases of mistreatment are properly investigated and punished; (c) Organize regular training for law enforcement personnel, including police and prison administration staff, in order to ensure that they all have a thorough understanding of provisions of the Convention and are aware that violations are not acceptable and will be investigated, and that perpetrators are liable to prosecution; (d) Provide children, both victims and accused, with effective and adequate legal and other assistance at an early stage of the procedure and throughout the legal proceedings in conformity with the Code of Penal Procedure; (e) Ensure that detention is a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible period of time, and that it is reviewed on a regular basis with a view to withdrawing it; (f) Promote alternative measures to detention, such as diversion, probation, counselling, community service or suspended sentences, wherever possible; (g) Take urgent measures to address the conditions of detention in pretrial detention centres for juveniles; (h) Ensure that all children deprived of liberty have effective access to education and health services, including mental health care; and (i) Make use, if relevant, of the technical assistance tools developed by the Interagency Panel on Juvenile Justice and its members, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime , the United Nations Children’s Fund ( UNICEF ), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and NGOs, and seek technical assistance in the area of juvenile justice from members of the Panel." 2012
2012

NON-TREATY-BASED INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Visits by Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council
Year of Visit
Observation Date
Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants 2011
2011
2011
Relevant Recommendations from the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2010
2017
Yes 2014
2017

REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Regional Legal Instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
Observation Date
CATHB, Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings 2007
2007
2017
CPCSE, Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse 2009
2009
2017
ECHRP7, Protocol 7 to the European Convention on Human Rights (amended by protocol 11) 1996
1996
2017
ECHRP12, Protocol 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights 2004
2004
2017
ECPT, European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment 1996
1996
2017
ECHR, Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (commonly known as the European Convention on Human Rights 1996
1996
2017
ECHRP1, Protocol 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights (amended by protocol 11) 1996
1996
2017

GOVERNANCE SYSTEM

Legal Tradition(s)
Civil law
2017

DETENTION COSTS

OUTSOURCING

FOREIGN SOURCES OF FUNDING FOR DETENTION OPERATIONS

Foreign Financial Support for Detention Operations
Yes
2010
Description of Foreign Assistance
According to a EU Parliament question to the EU Commission (March 2013): During his visit to Albania in December 2011, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants expressed his concern about the closed detention centre in Kareç. The Kareç closed detention centre, which opened in 2010, was constructed primarily with funding from the European Union. The issues of accessibility, detention conditions, legal safeguards in law and practice and the treatment of detainees, which are explicitly mentioned in the UN Special Rapporteur’s report, are therefore particularly worrying. The report mentions, in particular: the ‘bad road conditions, which seriously obstruct the enjoyment of detainees’ right to legal defence and independent monitoring by national and international bodies’; the centre’s infrastructure and organisation; the poor living and hygienic conditions, such as cold and humidity and the lack of outdoor facilities or activities, which recall those of ‘a mid‐ to high-security prison’; the internal regulations, which contain provisions allowing the presence of ‘minors’ in the centre; and the lack of adequate information in a language commonly spoken by detainees about their rights and the reasons for their detention. Taking into account the readmission agreement between Albania and the EU, which entered into force on 1 May 2006 and presupposes full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, on what basis was this detention centre funded by the EU? Did the Commission have any say in the architectural planning and internal regulation of the centre? Is the Commission aware of the situation described above? If so, what steps has it taken to remedy the situation? If not, what concrete steps will it take now?
2013