Safe country of origin

Belgium

Country Report: Safe country of origin Last updated: 01/04/21

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Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen Visit Website

Safe country of origin

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 14 December 2020 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 2020, a total of 1,063 persons from safe countries of origin applied for asylum. The breakdown per nationality is as follows:

Country 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Kosovo 331 320 242 194 70
Albania 817 882 668 680 447
FYROM / North Macedonia 165 251 194 190 89
India 50 52 81 46 18
Bosnia-Herzegovina 56 44 23 45 34
Montenegro 14 5 8 20 5
Serbia 203 232 198 220 134
Georgia : 468 695 563 266
Total 1,636 2,254 2,109 1,958 1,063

 

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