Differential treatment of specific nationalities in the procedure


Country Report: Differential treatment of specific nationalities in the procedure Last updated: 08/04/22


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There is no explicit policy of considering specific nationalities as manifestly well-founded. At most, some nationalities obtain higher rates of protection than the average rate e.g. Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan. These countries had first instance recognition rates of 95.2%, 84.2% and 83.1% respectively in 2017.[1] In 2018, rates for Afghanistan dropped to 67.4%, for Syria to 85.6% and for Iraq to 73.1% according to Eurostat. Similarly in 2019, rates for Afghanistan dropped to 62.5%, for Syria to 71.5% and 66.8% for Iraq according to Eurostat. In 2020, the first instance recognition rate was for 75.9% for Syrians, 39.4% for Iraqis and 63.2% for Afghans. The data for 2021 was not available at the time of writing.

Since a CNDA judgment of March 2018, Afghan nationals widely benefitted from protection. The CNDA held that the situation of indiscriminate violence in Kabul is of such degree for Article 15(c) to be triggered by a person’s mere presence.[2] However, in a Grand chamber decision of 19 November 2020, the CNDA changed its position, now considering that the level of violence in Kabul is not high enough to justify a protection for all people arriving at airports.[3]This means that individual circumstances need to be assessed again and puts Afghan nationals at risk of return. It is also likely to have important consequences in practice given that Afghans have been the first nationality of applicants in France since 2018 and recent Eurostat statistics indicate that a total of 17,520 applications for international protection of Afghan nationals were pending as of the end of December 2020.[4] The new CNDA ruling is thus likely to impact their situation in the future. Yet, in its recent country of origin report on the Security situation in Afghanistan of 28 September 2020, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) – now European Union Asylum Agency (EUAA) -confirmed that the conflict in the country continued to be described as one of the deadliest in the world for civilians and adds that “several sources reported a spike in violence during the first six months of 2020, with an increase in the number of civilian casualties, particularly in the northern and north-eastern regions”.[5]

The situation in Afghanistan changed in 2021 with the Taliban taking over the power in mid-August. Following these events, France evacuated more than 2,600 Afghans who entered the asylum system and obtained protection. All these people were channelled to the usual asylum procedure. At the time of writing this report, almost all of them have received a decision from OFPRA, which is always positive (subsidiary protection or refugee status depending on the situation – no detailed data available). However, this development of the situation has also changed the case-law of the CNDA. In September 2021, CNDA decided that subsidiary protection based on the existence of a generalised conflict was no longer applicable because the takeover of the Taliban had put an end to this conflict.[6] Protection under the Geneva Convention is of course still possible, but more difficult to obtain.[7] Subsequently, the CNDA took another more nuanced decision: it granted subsidiary protection, for the risk of inhuman and degrading treatment, for a vulnerable young Afghan for whom the risks in the event of return are significant.[8] However at the end of the year, CNDA specified that the mere stay in Europe was not sufficient to justify fears in the event of return and to obtain protection.[9]

In addition, the case law that prevented Dublin transfers of Afghan nationals to countries where their asylum applications have been rejected (because of the risk of chain refoulement), have been reviewed in 2021 by the Council of State which considers these transfers are possible  (see Dublin: Suspension of Transfers).

Furthermore, differential treatment of specific nationalities seems to be applied in the framework of ad hoc relocation schemes implemented since June 2018. Following “boat-by-boat” agreements following disembarkation in Italy, Malta and Spain, over 280 persons have been relocated to France in 2018.[10] In October 2019, a member of the government stated that more than 600 people have been admitted in France through relocation within a year. At the end of 2019 France offered assistance to return rejected January 2022, 366 asylum seekers and 491 unaccompanied minors have been transferred from Greece to France as part of the ‘voluntary relocation scheme from Greece to other European countries’ that started in March 2020.[11]

All relocated persons have previously undergone interviews with OFPRA, for the Office to assess their need for protection and potential threats to public order. No official data are available about this mechanism or the nationality of selected persons. However, it appears through communication on arrival in France from OFII and the Ministry of Interior that relocated persons are mainly from Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia. Following their arrival, these persons have been quickly received by OFII and granted refugee status by OFPRA.

Asylum seekers that are nationals of countries listed as safe are dealt with most of the time under an accelerated procedure (see Safe Country of Origin). Their access to asylum from detention is also more circumscribed compared to other nationalities (see Registration). The average protection rate for such nationalities was 10.8% in 2018, at first and second instance combined, but there are important variations from one country to another. For example, in 2019, Kosovo had a general rate of 24.7%, Senegal had a rate of 22.8%, while Albania had 10.7%.



[1]   OFPRA, ‘Les données de l’asile 2017 à l’OFPRA, 8 January 2018, available at:http://bit.ly/2EVQB5y.

[2]  CNDA, M. H., Decision No 17045561, 9 March 2018.

[3] CNDA, Decision N° 19009476 R, 19 November 2020 available in French at : https://bit.ly/2KCsYXX; CNDA, Decision N° 18054661 R, 19 November 2020, available in French at: https://bit.ly/3d5uJsB.

[4]  Eurostat, [migr_asypenctzm]

[5] EASO, Afghanistan Security situation – COI Report, September 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3aixrJL

[6] CNDA 21 September 2021 M. A. n° 18037855 C+, available in French at: https://bit.ly/35msMGA.

[7]  See for example : CNDA, 5 November 2021 M. S. n°20025121 C, available in French at : https://bit.ly/3sVOhpI; CNDA, 8 December 2021 Mme M. n° 21022972 C, available in French at : https://bit.ly/3se858s.

[8] CNDA, 21 September 2021, N° 18037855, available in French at: https://bit.ly/3LRJaiV.

[9]  CNDA 29 November 2021 M. A. n°21025924 C+, available in French at: https://bit.ly/3IjihCn.

[10]  Senate, Reply to written question n. 05842, 24 January 2019, available in French at: https://bit.ly/2GRdMlI.

[11]   IOM, ‘Voluntary relocation scheme from Greece to other European countries’, Factsheet, 10 January 2022. https://bit.ly/3t3CeGO.

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