Safe country of origin

Serbia

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

Author

Belgrade Centre for Human Rights Visit Website

A country shall be considered as a safe country of origin where, on the basis of the legal situation, the application of the law, and the general political circumstances, when it is clear that there are no acts of persecution in the sense of Article 1 of the Refugee Convention, nor there is a risk of treatment contrary to absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment.[1] The assessment of safety is conducted in line with the following criteria:

  1. The relevant laws and regulations of the country, and the manner in which they are applied;
  2. Observance of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the ECHR, particularly Article 15(2), the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, and the United Nations Convention against Torture;
  3. Observance of the non-refoulement principle;
  4. Application of effective legal remedies.[2]

The Asylum Act explicitly recognises that the safe country of origin assessment implies the use of information from the sources such as EASO, UNHCR, the Council of Europe, and other relevant international organisations. Also, the fulfilment of the conditions for the application of the safe country of origin concept shall be established on the case by case basis.[3]

However, it is prescribed that the Government shall determine a List of Safe Countries of Origin, on the proposal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which can be revised as needed, taking into account the above enlisted criteria,[4] as well as “the views of the competent authorities specified by this Law.”[5]

A country included in the List of Safe Countries of Origin may be considered a safe country of origin in a specific case only if the applicant holds the nationality of that country or had habitual residence (in case of statelessness) and has failed to explain why the country in question cannot be considered safe in his or her case.[6]

The safe country of origin concept was applied only once in practice so far and in relation to the citizen of Montenegro.[7] This decision was confirmed during the course of 2019 both by the Asylum Commission[8] and the Administrative Court.[9]

 


[1] Article 44 Asylum Act.

[2] Article 44 (1) Asylum Act.

[3] Article 44 (2) and (5) Asylum Act.

[4] Article 44 (3) Asylum Act.

[5] Article 44 (4) Asylum Act.

[6] Article 44 (6) Asylum Act.

[7]Asylum Office, Decision No. 26-1720/18, 21 December 2018.

[8] Asylum Commission, Decision AŽ 2/19, 1 March 2019.

[9] Administrative Court, Judgment U 5037/19, 12 June 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