France removes Ukraine from the list of ‘safe countries of origin’

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

By a decision of 26 March 2014, the Management Board of the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) removed Ukraine from the list of safe countries of origin, reducing their number to 17 (Albania, Armenia, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Georgia, Ghana, Mauritius, India, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Senegal, Serbia and Tanzania).

On 5 March 2014, UNHCR had called states to remove Ukraine from their safe countries of origin (SCO) list. Shortly after and prior to the official withdrawal of Ukraine from the French SCO list, the French Ministry of Interior had asked prefects to treat Ukrainian asylum applications through the regular procedure, and no longer through the accelerated one.

This change of procedure enables Ukrainian asylum seekers to obtain a residence permit, to seek accommodation in a regular reception centre for asylum seekers (CADA) and to have an effective remedy before the National Court of Asylum without fear of being expelled from the territory during the examination of the appeal.

Forum Réfugiés-Cosi notes that the existing mechanism to remove a country from the SCO list (which requires a meeting of the OFPRA Management Board) does not enable a swift response to sudden developments that may occur in countries of origin. In a report on the upcoming asylum reform, released in November 2013, MPs Valérie Létard and Jean- Louis Touraine suggested to improve this system. They proposed to establish a mechanism for urgent suspension or withdrawal of countries in light of sudden developments, and the possibility for OFPRA, when individual circumstances so require, to “transfer” applications channeled in the accelerated procedure to the regular procedure.

Read the article in Liberation (French only) announcing the change, and CFDA’s letter to OFPRA (French only).

This article originally featured in the Asylum Information Database.

04 April 2014

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update supported by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Funding Programme and distributed by email. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE, the IRC or its partners.

Safe country of origin