No to enlisting countries as “safe”! Right of asylum in danger!

Algeria, Factsheet, Migration and Asylum, Morocco / Western Sahara, Tunisia

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To classify a country as a “safe country of origin” – or “safe third country” – means that no risk of persecution exists in principle for nationals of that country or foreign nationals, and that their human rights are effectively respected, including the right of asylum. The  transposition  of  the 2013 Asylum  Procedures  Directive into  national  legislations  resulted in the adoption by several Member States of lists of countries considered “safe” based on their own criteria. Asylum seekers from “safe” countries may be eligible only for “accelerated” procedures for the  examination  of  their  applications.

In the context of measures increasingly resulting in migrants and refugees being pushed away from the European Union (see our Migration & Asylum programme page),

a number of EU Member States have shown growing eagerness to enlarge their existing lists of “safe” countries over the past years. They are encouraged to do so by the European Commission whose project for a common list has not been adopted at EU level.

Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia are particularly targeted as potential countries to be listed despite the concerning human rights situation that prevails in these countries, in addition to the notion of “safe countries” being, per se, detrimental to the full respect of the right of asylum. This factsheet presents, without purporting to be exhaustive, the serious infringements of rights and fundamental freedoms in each of these three countries, recorded by EuroMed Rights, its members and partners.

EuroMed Rights is monitoring with great concern these developments and is advocating against the use of the notion of “safe countries” in the examination of asylum claims as explained in our analysis.