Saturday, July 14, 2012

Excerpt: UNHCR comments on the European Commission’s Amended Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection status (Recast) COM (2011) 319 final

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR comments on the European Commission’s Amended Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection status (Recast) COM (2011) 319 final, January 2012, available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4f3281762.html [accessed 14 July 2012]

Under the current Directive, an effective illustration of the divergences in asylum practice allowed by the optional provisions of the APD (some of which are maintained in the Amended Proposal) is the application of the safe country of origin concept. The generic formulation of Article 30 (5) APD (and of Article 37 (3) of the Amended Proposal) permits wide divergences in the information sources used by Member States to determine safe countries of origin. This fact, combined with major differences in the designation criteria applied, will inevitably result in inconsistency in the designation of safe countries of origin. The absence of harmonisation is evident from UNHCR’s 2010 research on the application of the APD, which made a comparison among the three states which currently have in place a public national list of safe country of origin. At the time of UNHCR’s research, France had designated 15 countries as safe, Germany 29 and the UK 24. Given that the purpose of the Directive is to establish harmonized minimum standards16 between Member States’ asylum systems, one would expect substantial correlation between the lists. However, only one country (Ghana) appeared on the list of all three States – although in the UK, Ghana was considered a safe country of origin for male applicants only.[17] (page 4)

[FN 17: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Improving Asylum Procedures: Comparative Analysis and Recommendations for Law and Practice - Detailed Research on Key Asylum Procedures Directive Provisions, March 2010, page 336, at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4c63e52d2.html]

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