Safe country of origin

Bulgaria

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

Author

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee Visit Website

The LAR defines “safe country of origin” as a “state where the established rule of law and compliance therewith within the framework of a democratic system of public order do not allow any persecution or acts of persecution, and there is no danger of violence in a situation of domestic or international armed conflict.”[1] This concept is a ground for rejecting an application as manifestly unfounded in the Accelerated Procedure.[2]

National legislation allows for the use of a safe country of origin and safe third country concept in the asylum procedure.[3]

Prior to EU accession, national lists of safe countries of origin and third safe countries were adopted annually by the SAR and applied extensively to substantiate negative first instance decisions. The national courts adopted a practice that the concepts can only be applied as a rebuttable presumption that could be contested by the asylum seeker in every individual case.[4] In 2007, the national law was amended to regulate the adoption of national lists on the basis of EU common lists under Article 29 of the 2005 Asylum Procedures Directive. As a result, ever since the adoption of this amendment, the safe country of origin concept became inapplicable in practice insofar as such a common EU list has never been adopted.

The law allows the SAR to propose to the government national lists of safe countries of origin and third safe countries, which are considered to establish a rebuttable presumption.[5] When approving the lists, the government has to consider information sources from other Member States, EASO, UNHCR, the Council of Europe and other international organisations in order to take into account the degree of protection against persecution and ill-treatment ensured by the relevant state by means of:

  • The respective laws and regulations adopted in this field and the way they are enforced;
  • The observance of the rights and freedoms laid down in the ECHR or the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, or the Convention against Torture;
  • The observance of the non-refoulement principle in accordance with the Refugee Convention;
  • The existence of a system of effective remedies against violations of these rights and freedoms.

Notwithstanding, the SAR has not made use of this opportunity so far, hence, no national safe countries of origin or safe third countries lists are adopted and applied.

 

 

[1]           Additional Provision §1(8) LAR.

[2]           Article 13(1)(13) LAR.

[3]           Article 13(1)(13)(14) LAR.

[4]           See e.g. Supreme Administrative Court, Decision No 4854, 21 May 2002.

[5]           Articles 98-99 LAR.

Table of contents

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