Safe country of origin

Belgium

Country Report: Safe country of origin Last updated: 16/05/24

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The safe country of origin concept was introduced in the Aliens Act in 2012. Applications from safe countries of origin are examined under the Accelerated Procedure.[1]

According to the law, countries can be considered safe if the rule of law in a democratic system and the prevailing political circumstances allow concluding that, in a general and durable manner, there is no persecution or real risk of serious harm, taking into consideration the laws and regulations and the legal practice in that country, the respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the ECHR and the principle of non-refoulement and the availability of an effective remedy against violations of these rights and principles.[2]

After receiving detailed advice from the CGRS, the government approves the list of safe countries of origin upon the proposal of the Secretary of State for Migration and Asylum and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The list must be reviewed annually and can be adjusted.[3] The Royal Decree of 7 April 2023 on Safe Countries of Origin removed Georgia from the former list and lists as safe countries of origin: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern-Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, and India.[4]

Applicants from safe countries of origin face a higher burden of proof to refute the presumption of the safety of their country of origin, they must present serious reasons explaining why their country cannot be considered safe in their situation.

In 2023, a total of 1.890 persons from safe countries of origin applied for asylum. The breakdown per nationality was as follows:

Country 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Kosovo 320 242 194 70 164 160 113
Albania 882 668 680 447 588 595 405
FYROM / North Macedonia 251 194 190 89 177 195 218
India 52 81 46 18 16 31 29
Bosnia-Herzegovina 44 23 45 34 72 104 56
Montenegro 5 8 20 5 9 9 13
Serbia 232 198 220 134 150 203 145
Georgia 468 695 563 266 593 1,026 911[5]
Total 2,722 2,804 2,521 1,329 2,362 2,323 1,890

Source: iBz, Annexe DPI nationalités_Bijlage VIB nationaliteiten_2008-2023, available at: https://bit.ly/4cuWHdz.

 

 

 

[1] Article 57/6/1(1)(b) Aliens Act.

[2] Article 57/6/1(3) Aliens Act.

[3] Article 57/6/1 Aliens Act.

[4] Royal Decree of 7 April 2023, available in French at: https://bit.ly/3Hl3poc.

[5] The following table includes data collected for Georgia, although Georgia is no longer considered a safe country of origin as of April 2023, the data for Georgia in this table covers the period 01/2023-04/2023.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation