- Refugee status is recognised in Belgium based on the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951.
The Geneva Convention defines a refugee as any person ‘who […] owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country […]. ’
- The asylum procedure and the competences of the asylum authorities are regulated by the Act of 15 December 1980 relating to access to the territory, residence, establishment and removal of foreigners. This Act was amended by the Act of 15 September 2006.
The latter introduced the current asylum procedure, which came into effect on 1 June 2007.
The Act also contains provisions relating to subsidiary protection, which came into effect on 10 October 2006.
‘Subsidiary protection status is granted to foreigners who are not eligible for refugee status and who are not entitled to a humanitarian stay for medical reasons, and for whom there are serious grounds to believe that if he/she returned to his/her country of origin […], he/she would run a real risk of serious harm […].
Serious harm comprises:
- the death penalty or execution, or
- torture or inhumane or humiliating treatment or punishment of an applicant in his/her country of origin, or
- a serious threat to a citizen’s life or person as a result of random violence in case of an international or national armed conflict.’