Safe country of origin

Belgium

Country Report: Safe country of origin Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen Visit Website

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 general political circumstances allow to conclude 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 for the principle of non-refoulement and the availability of an effective remedy against violations of these rights and principles.[2]

After having received a detailed advice of 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 15 December 2019 on Safe Countries of Origin reconfirmed the list of safe countries of origin that was adopted in 2017: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern- Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, India and Georgia.[4]

To refute the presumption of safety of his or her country of origin, the applicant has to present serious reasons explaining why the country cannot be considered safe in his or her individual situation. It remains unclear in how far this burden of proof is any different than the one resting on asylum seekers in general throughout the procedure.

In 2019, a total of 1,958 persons from safe countries of origin applied for asylum. The breakdown per nationality is as follows:

 

Country

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Kosovo

842

737

331

320

242

194

Albania

732

827

817

882

668

680

FYROM / North Macedonia

403

335

165

251

194

190

India

84

79

50

52

81

46

Bosnia-Herzegovina

150

58

56

44

23

45

Montenegro

19

15

14

5

8

20

Serbia

502

374

203

232

198

220

Georgia

:

:

:

468

695

563

Total

2,732

2,425

1,636

2,254

2,109

1,958

Source: CGRS



[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 17 December 2017, available at: http://bit.ly/2pi7CR2.

 

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