1st of June 2012: adoption of a list of safe countries of origin

date: 12 June 2012

The new article 57/6/1 of the Aliens Act of 1980 has introduced the notion of safe country of origin in the Belgian law. The royal decree implementing this article came into force on the 1st of June 2012.

Main elements of the new procedure

  • From now on, the CGRS will have the possibility not to consider the asylum applications filed by nationals originating from the countries which are on this list, if their declarations do not clearly indicate a well-founded fear of persecution or a real risk of suffering serious harm.
  • The new procedure still guarantees an individual treatment of the application.
  • A heavier burden of proof rests with the asylum seeker.
  • The CGRS has to take a decision within 15 working days.
  • It is only possible to file an appeal for annulment with the Council for Alien Law Litigation, without an automatic suspensive effect.
  • The Council for Alien Law Litigation has to pronounce judgement within 2 months (the period for appeal still being 30 days).
  • Since the appeal filed with the Council for Alien Law Litigation does not have an automatic suspensive effect, the reception of asylum seekers can cease when the period (30 days) for implementing the order to leave the territory has expired.

The countries of origin which are currently on this list

The new specific procedure applies to the following seven countries:

  • Albania
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • FYROM (Macedonia)
  • Kosovo
  • Montenegro
  • Serbia
  • India

The law provides that the list of safe countries of origin must be revised at least once a year, while the royal decree provides for a re-evaluation in six months. As a result, it is possible that, because of the situation in the countries on the list, some countries are removed from the list and other countries are added.