France - Council of State, 23 July 2010, Amnesty International France and others, n° 336034

Country of Decision:
Date of Decision:
03-07-2010
Citation:
CE, 23 juillet 2010, Amnesty International section française et autres, n° 336034
Additional Citation:
Conseil d’Etat, 23 juillet 2010, Amnesty International section française et autres, n° 336034
Court Name:
Council of State/Conseil d’Etat
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
TFEU
TFEU - Art 63
France - Ceseda (Code of the Entry and Stay of Foreigners and Asylum Law) - Art L.722-1
France - Ceseda (Code of the Entry and Stay of Foreigners and Asylum Law) - Art L.723-1
France - Ceseda (Code of the Entry and Stay of Foreigners and Asylum Law) - Art L.741-4
France - Ceseda (Code of the Entry and Stay of Foreigners and Asylum Law) - Art R.722-3
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Headnote: 

Partial quashing of the list of safe countries of origin: Armenia, Madagascar, Turkey and Mali (women only) removed from the list

Facts: 

Several voluntary organisations argued before the Council of State that the decision of the board of the Ofpra dating from 20 November 2009 revising the list of safe countries of origin should be quashed.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Council of State did not call into question the internal legality of the list of safe countries of origin as a whole (including in the light of the provisions of the Asylum Procedures Directive), but briefly reviewed each of the countries included in this list. The Council of State concluded that four countries should be removed from the list:

  • Armenia because of the violence against political opponents to the regime;
  • Turkey because of the violence often faced by the Kurdish Turks and breaches of the right to freedom of expression;
  • Madagascar because of great political instability since 2009 and violence and persecution faced by political opponents of the regime;
  • Mali because of the high prevalence  of female genital mutilation (FGM) ( Mali remained on the list of safe countries of origin as far as men were concerned).

However, regarding the other countries already included in the list or recently added to it, the Council of State considered that:

  • Serbia has ratified international human rights instruments and committed itself over recent years to important reforms of its political and judicial system in order to consolidate the rule of law;
  • The mere fact that the death penalty still exists in Benin, Ghana, India, Mongolia, and Tanzania does not prevent these countries from being considered s as safe countries of origin, as long as an individual examination of each case allows for  refugee status or subsidiary protection to be granted to the applicant if it is established that he/she would be exposed to death penalty in his/her country;
  • The recognition rate of refugee status to nationals of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Senegal does not call into question the fact that these countries are still included in the list; * The number of cases pending before the European Court of Human Rights regarding Bosnia-Herzegovina does not demonstrate that the nationals from this country would be generally exposed to persecution or inhuman and degrading treatments;
  • The same reasoning applies to nationals from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in spite of a report from the Human Rights Committee of the Council of Europe;
  • The fact that some practices of the Indian police would be considered reprehensible is not sufficient to demonstrate that India is not a “safe” country.
Outcome: 

The decision of the board of the Ofpra dating from 20 November 2009 is quashed as far as it includes Armenia, Madagascar, Turkey and Mali (women only) on the list of safe countries of origin.

Observations/Comments: 

French provisions regarding safe countries of origin:

According to Article L.722-1 Ceseda, the board of the Ofpra [...] designates the list of countries considered at the national level as safe countries of origin, as mentioned in Article L. 741-4-2° Ceseda.

According to Article L.741-4-2° Ceseda, a country is considered as a safe country of origin if it makes sure that the principles of freedom, democracy and the rule of law, as well as human rights and fundamental freedoms are fulfilled. The taking into account of the safe nature of the country of origin can not hinder the individual examination of each application.

It should also be noted that this list is only a procedural tool which enables the Prefecture to channel an asylum application into the accelerated procedure.

The French list of safe countries of origin (as of 15 May 2011): Albania, Benin, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Croatia, Ghana, India, Kosovo, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mali (for men only), Ile Maurice, Mongolia, Senegal, Serbia, Tanzania, and Ukraine.