The European Union’s lists of “safe countries”: a denial of the right of asylum

26 May 2016 – On 30 May 2016, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament will discuss the proposed amendments to the proposal for a regulation by the European Commission in September 2015 for the purpose of establishing an EU common list of “safe countries of origin”. It would imply that there should be, in principle no risk of persecution for asylum seekers and that the rule of law is respected in those countries.

So far, 12 of the 28 Member States have a national list of “safe countries”, but the lists are far from homogeneous. The Commission’s proposal aims to remedy these disparities, involving also other “safe countries”: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.

The AEDH, EuroMed Rights and the FIDH have always opposed the use of the concept of “safe country of origin” in the application of asylum law. No country can be presumed safe for all its citizens, whether they are countries referred to by the European Commission, or countries listed by certain Member States. They oppose a notion which, they believe, is contrary to the principle of non-discrimination on the grounds of nationality enshrined in international law. Accordingly, they call on the European Parliament and the Council to reject the adoption of this regulation.

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