Belgium includes India in list of ‘safe countries’

Brussels, April 6: The Belgian government has approved a list of so-called “safe-countries”, that incudes India, for this year.

Apart from India, the list includes Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia, according to Belgian media reports Saturday.

The list has been compiled on the advice of the General-Commission for Refugees and the Stateless.

A country is considered safe if over a period of time there has been no repression as defined in the Geneva Convention and there is no question of genuine risk if an individual was sent back to the country in question.

The asylum process is speeded up for citizens of these seven countries who wish to claim asylum in Belgium.

Since the list of safe countries was introduced two years ago in Belgium the number of asylum requests from the seven countries have fallen by 57 percent.

In 2011, there were 4,687 asylum requests from “safe countries of origin”. This fell to 2,998 in 2012 and 2,005 in 2013.

Decisions on asylum applications from safe countries are made within 15 working days, instead of the normal three months.

IANS