Belgium: the government will not add *** Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco *** to the list of safe countries

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By decree of 3 August 2016, Belgium adopted a list of safe countries of origin: Albania; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Kosovo; Serbia; Montenegro; former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; India; Georgia. For several months, the Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken, had decided to extend this list, in particular, by the addition of three Maghreb countries (Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria). He maintained his project despite the negative (but not binding) opinion of the General Commission on Refugees and Stateless persons (CGRA).

The Belgian government eventually refused to add these new countries on the list of safe countries of “origin” on the grounds that such a decision should not be politically motivated but based on an objective examination. In this respect, the Government mentioned that, as an independent body, CGRA’s opinion, though advisory, should have been followed.

AEDH welcomes this decision. Together with the Belgian League and EuroMed Rights, AEDH had campaigned towards members of the government and the parliament against this attempt to lengthen a list, already controversial, with countries that no one can describe as totally “safe”.