The notion of a safe country was introduced in France by the December 10, 2003 law (article 5). The first definition in the French Law came into effect on March 1, 2005:
A country is considered as safe if it “ensures the respect of principles of freedom, democracy and the rule of law, as well as human rights and fundamental freedoms. Taking into account the safe character of the country of origin cannot be an obstacle to the individual examination of each demand” (CESEDA°, art. L741-4, 2e al).
This definition was modified by the July 29, 2015 law:
“A country is considered to be a safe country of origin when, based on the legal situation and the application of right in a democratic state and in general political circumstances, it can be proven that, in general and equally for men and women, there is never recourse to persecution, torture, inhuman or degrading treatments or sentences and there is no threat resulting from violence which can spread to people regardless of their personal situation in international or internal armed conflicts situations” (CESEDA°, art. 722-1).
While women are mentioned as well as men, the new definition does not mention the respect of liberties and human rights anymore… It is limited to the most serious violations of those rights, which it must be demonstrated in a general manner, it is never occurring
The OFPRA (the French Office for Refugees and Stateless Persons) Board of Directors decides of the list of safe countries. It is therefore Judge and Defendant. On October 9, 2015, it decided to reinstate Kosovo in the list and to remove Tanzania.
There are 16 countries that are deemed safe: Albania, Armenia, Benin, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Georgia, Ghana, India, Kosovo, Macedonia, Mauritius, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Senegal, Serbia.
In this case, the procedure is accelerated: the request is examined within 15 days by the OFPRA, and, at the National Court of Asylum Right, by a unique Judge in five weeks.
° CESEDA :Code de l’Entrée et du Séjour des Etrangers et du Droit d’Asile