Belgium grants ‘Safe Country of Origin’ status to Georgia

Georgia was the only country in 2016 to be added to Belgium’s ‘Safe Country of Origin’ list. Photo by N.Alavidze/, 05 Sep 2016 - 14:46, Tbilisi,Georgia

Belgium has reviewed its asylum system and for the first time awarded Georgia the status of ‘Safe Country of Origin’, meaning Georgia is now regarded as a safe country and it meets top international standards of law and judicial requirements.

The safe country of origin concept was introduced by Belgium in 2012 and determines the countries of origin that are considered to be safe. 

The Safe Country of Origin status is one of Belgium’s key tools in the process of grating asylums to foreign nationals. 

Each year Belgium reviews its list of safe countries and this year Georgia was the only nation added to the list.

Belgium’s 2016 list of countries considered safe are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, India and Georgia.

Several criteria determine a Safe Country of Origin status:

  • The legal situation in the country of origin;
  • The application of the law;
  • The general political circumstances; and
  • The extent to which protection is provided against persecution and abuse.

The list was updated on August 29, 2016 and came into force that same day.

Belgium’s official European Migration Network website states asylum seekers who originate from a ‘safe country of origin’ does not automatically mean his/her application will not be taken into consideration. However the asylum applicant will have to put forward substantial arguments to demonstrate that his/her country of origin cannot be considered as safe due to specific personal circumstances.