Safe country of origin

Germany

Author

Informationsverbund Asyl und Migration

The Constitution defines as safe countries of origin the countries “in which, on the basis of their laws, enforcement practices and general political conditions, it can be safely concluded that neither political persecution nor inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment exists”.1

 

List of safe countries of origin

Member states of the European Union are by definition considered to be safe countries of origin.2 The list of safe countries of origin is an addendum to the law and has to be adopted by both chambers of the Parliament. If the situation in a safe country of origin changes and it can no longer be considered to be safe within the meaning of the law, the Federal Government may issue a decree to remove this country from the list for a period of 6 months.

At present, the list of safe countries consists of:

  • Ghana;


  • Senegal;


  • Serbia;


  • FYROM;


  • Bosnia-Herzegovina;


  • Albania;


  • Kosovo;


  • Montenegro.

Serbia, FYROM and Bosnia-Herzegovina were added to the list following the entry into force of a law on 6 November 2014.3 Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro were added with another law which took effect on 24 October 2015.4

A draft law was introduced by the government in April 2016 with the aim of adding the so-called Maghreb states (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) to the list of safe countries of origin.5 However, the law required the approval of the second chamber of parliament (Bundesrat) which rejected the designation of the three countries on 10 March 2017.6

 

Procedural consequences

Applications of asylum seekers from safe countries of origin shall be considered as manifestly unfounded, unless the applicant presents facts or evidence which justify the conclusion that he or she might be persecuted in spite of the general situation in the country of origin.

Since March 2016, accelerated procedures can be carried out for applicants from safe countries of origin (see Accelerated Procedure). However, this is only possible in branch offices of the BAMF to which a “special reception centre” has been assigned. Only two of these centres were established in 2016 (in Bamberg and Manching/Ingolstadt) and in both locations, both accelerated and regular procedures can be carried out. No figures were provided as to how many accelerated procedures had actually taken place in 2016. Therefore, it can be concluded that the introduction of accelerated procedures has only had a minimal impact on procedures in general so far. Most procedures from applicants from safe countries of origin were still examined in regular procedures in 2016.

Numbers of applications from asylum seekers from safe countries of origin decreased dramatically in 2016 (with the exception of Ghana). The following table shows statistics for asylum applications by relevant nationalities:











Asylum applications by nationals of “safe countries of origin”

 

2016

2015

Albania

17,236

54,762

Serbia

10,273

26,945

FYROM

7,015

14,131

Kosovo

6,490

37,095

Bosnia and Herzegovina

3,109

7,473

Ghana

2,645

1,152

Montenegro

1,630

3,635

Senegal

767

1,205

Source: BAMF, Antrags-, Entscheidungs- und Bestandsstatistik, 2015 and 2016.

To illustrate the developments of protection rates in the years before and after several countries were included in the list of “safe countries of origin”, the following table includes decisions on first applications from Albania, Serbia and FYROM. Only in the case of Albania, a decrease in the protection rate is discernible, whereas in the other cases protection rates remained on similar levels compared to the years before the countries were listed as “safe countries of origin”:






Recognition rates for nationals of selected “safe countries of origin”

 

2016

2015

2014

Albania

0.4%

0.2%

2.2%

FYROM

0.4%

0.6%

0.2%

Serbia

0.4%

0.2%

0.3%

Source: BAMF, Antrags-, Entscheidungs- und Bestandsstatistik, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

  • 1. Article 16a(3) Basic Law.
  • 2. Section 29a(2) Asylum Act.
  • 3. Gesetz zur Einstufung weiterer Staaten als sichere Herkunftsstaaten und zur Erleichterung des Arbeitsmarktzugangs für Asylbewerber und geduldete Ausländer (Law on classification of further states as safe countries of origin and on the facilitation of access to the labour market for asylum seekers and tolerated foreigners), BGBl. I, No. 49, 5 November 2014, 1649.
  • 4. Asylverfahrensbeschleunigungsgesetz (Law for an acceleration of asylum procedures), BGBl. I, 23 October 2015, 1722.
  • 5. Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Einstufung der Demokratischen Volksrepublik Algerien, des Königreichs Marokko und der Tunesischen Republik als sichere Herkunftsstaaten, 68/16, available in German at: http://bit.ly/2kSi5CO.
  • 6. Bundesrat, ‘Keine Zustimmung: Gesetz zu sicheren Herkunftsstaaten’, 10 March 2017, available at: http://bit.ly/1owVXpm.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti