13 June 2014

The updated AIDA report on Belgium, compiled by ECRE member organisation Belgian Refugee Council, highlights the recent changes to the appeal procedures in asylum cases contained in the Aliens Act. The amending law, which entered into force on 1 June, introduces a full review of the merits against inadmissibility decisions concerning applications from countries deemed to be safe and subsequent applications. These applicants will be provided with an appeal that will examine not only the legality of the decision not to further examine an asylum application, but also the merits of the admissibility of the application itself, including new elements.

The new law follows a decision of the Belgian Constitutional Court of 16 January 2014 and several decisions of the ECtHR in which Belgium was condemned for a violation of Article 13 ECHR (Right to an effective remedy) due to its appeals system in asylum cases, which according to the Court did not provide for an ‘effective remedy’.

The report also shows that in 2013, there was a 26% decrease in asylum applications registered, compared to 2012. 21,463 applications were introduced in 2012, while only 15,840 in 2013. At the same time, the rate of positive decisions has risen from 22% to 27%, with a consequent rise in the absolute number of positive decisions: 4,419 in 2012 compared to 4,932 in 2013. Main countries of origin include Afghanistan (1,327 applications), Guinea (1,247), DR Congo (1,225) and Russia (1,166).

This report is part of the Asylum Information Database (AIDA), a project of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), in partnership with Forum Refugiés-Cosi, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Irish Refugee Council. AIDA focuses on asylum procedures, reception conditions and detention of asylum seekers in EU Member States.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 13 June 2014.
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