the Council of State rejects the controversial list of “safe” countries

the Council of State rejects the controversial list of “safe” countries
the Council of State rejects the controversial list of “safe” countries

The decision was motivated mainly by the protection of LGBT people.

The Council of State has removed three African countries from the French list of so-called immigration countries “sure”, In a decision motivated mainly by the protection of LGBT people and which offers their nationals the hope of a more lenient asylum procedure in France.

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The controversial list of 16 countries established by Ofpra (French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons) is the subject of a legal battle that began at the end of 2019, after the entry into force of the asylum-immigration law which exposes the nationals of these countries to an expulsion procedure as soon as their asylum application is rejected at first instance, even before a possible appeal.

Several associations then turned to the highest administrative court, after Ofpra decided on November 5, 2019 not to modify this list, unchanged since 2015. “The deliberation of the Board of Directors of Ofpra of November 5, 2019 is canceled“And”the Republics of Benin, Senegal and Ghana“Must be removed from this list, ruled the Council of State in its decision issued Friday. Nationals of these three countries will therefore no longer be subject to accelerated procedures for their asylum applications, another consequence of placing a country on the list. Regarding Benin, Ofpra had already decided in September 2020 to suspend its status as “safe country of originFor twelve months, without removing it from this list.

For Senegal and Ghana, these are the risks associated with “sexual orientationOf their nationals who motivated the decision. “Given the existence of legislative provisions penalizing homosexual relations in Senegal and Ghana and the persistence of behaviors, encouraged, favored or simply tolerated by the authorities of these countries, leading to people being able to actually fear there be exposed to (risks), Ofpra could not, without committing an error of assessment, consider these States to be safe countries of origin in the examination of the requests presented by their nationals», We can read in the text.

«Halftone victory»

«It’s a half-hearted victory», Reacted to AFP Aude Le Mouellec-Rieu, president of Ardhis (Association for the recognition of the rights of homosexual and trans people to immigration and residence), at the forefront in this file. “We are delighted that the Council of State has respected the spirit of the law by having removed from this list the countries which penalize homosexuality. Nevertheless, he makes a limited interpretation of this problem, since LGBT people suffer from intra-family and societal persecution, which is not only legal.“, Judges the association manager, considering that”entire list should have been repealed».

Refugee Forum-Cosi, another association involved in the case, “congratulates himself“Also a decision”which improves procedural guarantees and reception conditions for nationals of these countries», Representing less than 2,000 asylum seekers in France in 2020, including 1,600 for Senegal alone. Especially since this removal from the list is retroactive, “which means that asylum seekers from these countries must have their application reclassified under the normal procedure”And no longer accelerated, considers Forum refugees-Cosi.

Another consequence: “The expulsion decisions taken against them while they are still in the process of appealing to the CNDA (National Court of Asylum) are also no longer founded, as is the withdrawal of material reception conditions (in particular financial, editor’s note), which must therefore be re-established», Rejoices the association. For its part, the body responsible for granting refugee status “takes note“, To AFP, a decision which”has no impact on the requirement of an individual examination by Ofpra of asylum applications from nationals of these countries and on the possibility for these nationals to benefit from refugee status (…) when this examination shows a need for protection».

«In this regard“, Continues the Ofpra, requests based on sexual orientation or gender identity”are the subject of special attention“From agents”specifically trained in these intimate issues».

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Several associations, in particular for the defense of LGBT people, then turned to the highest administrative court, after Ofpra, responsible for granting refugee status, decided on November 5, 2019 not to modify this list, unchanged since 2015. “The deliberation of the Board of Directors of Ofpra of November 5, 2019 is canceled“And”the Republics of Benin, Senegal and GhanaMust be removed from this list, ruled the Council of State in its decision.

Nationals of these three countries will therefore no longer be subject to accelerated procedures for their asylum applications, another consequence of placing a country on the list. Regarding Benin, Ofpra had already decided in September 2020 to suspend its status as “safe country of originFor twelve months, without removing it from this list. Concerning Senegal and Ghana, these are the risks associated with “sexual orientationOf their nationals who motivated the decision.

«Given the existence of legislative provisions penalizing homosexual relations in Senegal and Ghana and the persistence of behaviors, encouraged, favored or simply tolerated by the authorities of these countries, leading to people being able to actually fear there be exposed to such risks, Ofpra could not, without committing an error of assessment, consider these States to be safe countries of origin in examining the requests presented by their nationals.», We can read in the text.

 
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