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.
This means that, as a rule, it is be presumed that any person from these countries does not have to fear persecution. Their asylum applications are thus routinely turned down as “manifestly unfounded”. The displaced person then enters into a much shorter procedure, in which they have to provide facts and evidence that – contrary to the abovementioned presumption – they actually have to fear persecution in their country of origin. This procedure includes giving a very specific and detailed account of the persecution, which must not be not limited to the generally difficult situation in the country of origin. When persons from so-called safe third countries apply for asylum, the Federal Office shall decide on their asylum application in a “fast-track procedure” (section 30a, Asylum Act) within one week of the application being filed.
The so-called safe third countries are listed in an annex to the Asylum Act. The list is reviewed every two years. Currently (as of August 2020), the list includes the following countries: the EU member states, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, Kosovo, Macedonia, Former Yugoslav Republic Montenegro, Senegal, Serbia (German Basic Law, section 16a; Asylum Act, Annex II to section 29).
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.