What is particular about the situation of women (affected by violence) from so-called safe countries of origin?
In the case of refugees from so-called safe countries of countries and, by implication, female refugees who have been affected by violence, it should be noted that, based on an assessment of the situation in the respective country, the Federal Republic will assume that no political persecution or human rights abuses occur in these countries.
The so-called safe countries of origin appear in a list contained in the annex to the Asylum Act. The list is reviewed every two years. Currently (as of September 2017), the following countries are included: the member states of the EU, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, Kosovo, Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Montenegro, Senegal, Serbia (Asylum Act, annex II ad section 29a). Consequently, it will be presumed for any person from one of these countries that they do not have to fear being persecuted, so that their asylum application will be routinely rejected as “manifestly unfounded”. In this case, refugees will have to provide facts and evidence in a fast-track procedure and prove that, contrary to the statutory presumption, they have to fear persecution after all. This implies in particular that their account of such persecution shall be very precise and detailed and that, even less than in a regular procedure, it cannot be restricted to the generally difficult situation in their country of origin.
If “fast-track procedures” (Asylum Act, section 30a) apply, the Federal Office shall decide on requests for protection filed by persons from so-called safe countries of origin within one week.
There are further restrictions pertaining to the accommodation of persons from so-called safe countries of origin. There exist, among other things, special reception centres where they are obliged to reside for the duration of the asylum procedure and possibly until deportation. If the persons concerned file an appeal against the rejection of their asylum applications, they can be deprived of their mobility rights by imposing a residence obligation on them. Also, they will often be banned from taking up employment, just as it is possible to cut their benefits. How quickly and strictly authorities will resort to such sanctions varies from one federal state to the other. Not all federal states have implemented these legal provisions, so that these regulations still do not always apply practically. The cases in which women from so-called safe countries of origin can assert gender-specific violence as a reason for seeking asylum will be addressed here.