Belgium has approved a new list of safe countries of origin. This has some specific consequences for the procedure at the CGRS and for the appeal procedure at the Council for Alien Law Litigation.
A country of origin can be considered as safe if there is generally and consistently no persecution or risk of suffering serious harm.
In order to determine if a country is safe, the legal situation, the application of the law and the general political conditions in the country are taken into account.
Belgium has updated this list on 15 February 2019 (published in Belgium’s Official Journal on 1 March 2019).
At present, the following countries are considered as safe countries of origin: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYROM (since 12 February 2019 officially renamed into “Republic of North Macedonia”), Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, India and Georgia. These are the same countries as the ones mentioned in the Royal Decree of 17 December 2017.
This list is revised at least once a year and can be updated on the basis of the most recent situation in the country.
To citizens of a country that figures on the list of safe countries of origin, the presumption applies that international protection is not necessary. Therefore, asylum seekers from those countries must submit elements that clearly show that in their case, their country cannot be considered as safe. As a result, the burden of proof rests with the asylum seeker.