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Most Georgians will not receive asylum in Belgium

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Tuesday, September 20
Citizens of Georgia seeking asylum in Belgium will be refused on the grounds that Georgia has been taken as a “safe country” by Belgian authorities.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has stated that citizens of Georgia needed to be informed about Georgia’s performance worldwide and news related to the country.

The IOM explained its recognition of Georgia as a safe country meant that people do not face a substantial risk that they will be persecuted due to their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

“Accordingly, citizens who may demand political asylum in Belgium, in most cases, will get a negative response,” stated the IOM’s mission to Georgia.

The IOM added that France, Bulgaria and Austria also recognized Georgia as a safe country.

The safe country of origin concept was introduced by Belgium in 2012 and determines countries of origin that are considered to be safe.

The Safe Country of Origin status is one of Belgium’s,major levers in the process of granting asylum to foreign nationals.

Each year, Belgium reviews its list of safe countries, and this year Georgia was the only nation added to the list.

Belgium’s 2016 list of countries considered safe are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, India and Georgia.

Several criteria determine a Safe Country of Origin status:
The legal situation in the country of origin;
The application of the law;
The general political circumstances; and

The extent to which protection is provided against persecution and abuse.
The list was updated in early September.