Reject of appeals against the deliberation of the Board of OFPRA fixing the list of "safe countries of origin"
By a decision adopted on October 9th 2015, the Board of the French Agency for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) has determined, pursuant to Article L. 722-1 of the Code on the entry and stay of foreign persons and on asylum (CESEDA), the list of countries of origin regarded as safe (“pays d’origine sûr”). The inclusion of a country on this list makes it possible for French authorities to refuse granting right of residence to asylum seekers originating from such a State, and accordingly to handle such asylum requests through a simplified procedure.
° Several NGOs (“associations”), acting in defence of human rights and asylum seekers had introduced a claim, requesting the Conseil d’Etat to quash this decision. They argued, in particular, that Kosovo, Armenia, Albania, Georgia, Serbia and Senegal should not be regarded as “safe countries of origin”.
° With today’s ruling, the Conseil d’Etat has dismissed all the claims that had been brought before it. The Conseil d’Etat is of the view that, since its ruling dated October 10th 2014 in which it had opposed the inclusion of Kosovo on the list of safe countries of origin in the OFPRA’s prior decision, the situation in this country has undergone positive developments and that the other five countries now fulfil the criteria set out by EU law, also incorporated in the CESEDA.
With regard to Kosovo, it underlines that, when the Board of the OFPRA adopted its decision on October 9th 2015, Kosovo was about to become a party to a Stabilisation and Association Agreement signed with the European Union. It further notes that the normal functioning of this country’s democratic institutions has been re-established since the parliamentary elections of June 2014 and that relations with Serbia have improved.
Concerning Armenia, Albania, Georgia, Serbia and Senegal, the Conseil d’Etat rules that these States are now endowed with democratic institutions and undertake to designate their political leaders on the basis of free and pluralistic elections. Additionally Armenia, Albania, Georgia and Serbia are parties to the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Conseil d’Etat rules that all the aforementioned countries fulfil the criteria determined by EU law and incorporated in CESEDA with a view to warranting designation as “safe countries of origin”.