Safe country of origin

Greece

Country Report: Safe country of origin Last updated: 10/06/21

Author

Greek Council for Refugees Visit Website

According to Article 87(1) IPA, in force since January 2020, safe countries of origin are:

  1.  Those included in the common list of safe countries of origin by the Council of the EU; and
  2. Third countries, in addition to those of case (a), which are included in the national list of safe countries of origin and which shall be established and apply for the examination of applications for international protection and published in accordance with Article 87 paragraph 5, issued by a Joint Ministerial Decision by the Ministers of Citizen Protection and Foreign Affairs, following a recommendation of the Director of the Asylum Service.[1]

A country shall be considered as a “safe country of origin” if, on the basis of legislation in force and of its application within the framework of a democratic system and the general political circumstances, it can be clearly demonstrated that persons in these countries do not suffer persecution, generally and permanently, nor torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, nor a threat resulting from the use of generalised violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict.[2]

To designate a country as a “safe country of origin”, the authorities must take into account inter alia the extent to which protection is provided against persecution or ill-treatment through:[3]

  • The relevant legal and regulatory provisions of the country and the manner of their application;
  • Compliance with the ECHR, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), namely as regards non-derogable rights as defined in Article 15(2) ECHR, the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
  • Respect of the non-refoulement principle in line with the Refugee Convention; and
  • Provision of a system of effective remedies against the violation of these rights.

A country may be designated as a “safe country of origin” for a particular applicant only if, after an individual examination of the application, it is demonstrated that the applicant (a) has the nationality of that country or is a stateless person and was previously a habitual resident of that country; and (b) has not submitted any serious grounds for considering the country not to be a safe country of origin in his or her particular circumstances and in terms of his or her qualification as a beneficiary of international protection.[4] The “safe country of origin” concept is a ground for applying the Accelerated Procedure.

Until the implementation of IPA, there was no national or EU common list of safe countries. Therefore, the rules relating to safe countries of origin in Greek law had not been applied in practice and there had been no reference or interpretation of the abovementioned provisions in decision-making practice.

However, following a joint Ministerial Decision issued on 31 December 2019,[5] 12 countries have been designated as safe countries of origin. These are Ghana, Senegal, Togo, Gambia, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Albania, Georgia, Ukraine, India and Armenia.

According to Art. 86(8) IPA, the asylum applications by applicants for international protection, coming from “safe countries of origin”, are examined under the Accelerated Procedure.

 


[1]           Article 87(5) IPA

[2]           Article 87(3) IPA.

[3]           Article 87(4) IPA.

[4]           Article 87(2) IPA.

[5]       Joint Ministerial Decision No 1302/20.12.2019, Gov. Gazette 4907/B/31.12.2019. 

 

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