German MPs Reject “Safe Countries” Proposal

German MPs Reject “Safe Countries” ProposalGerman MPs Reject “Safe Countries” Proposal

German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered a setback on Friday when the upper house of parliament rejected a proposal to declare three North African states “safe countries of origin” in refugee law. The proposed designation for Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco aimed to make it easier for Germany to deny asylum requests from their citizens on the grounds that they were safe in their home countries, reported. The designation, which presumes a government does not systematically persecute opponents, would also aim to deter citizens of the three Maghreb countries from illegally heading to the EU in future. The “safe countries” plan was rejected by the leftist Greens and Linke parties, which had voiced concerns over the rights records of those countries. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the decision marked “a bad day in our efforts to stop illegal immigration”, charging that “especially the Greens carry the responsibility.” Refugee rights group Pro Asyl welcomed the defeat of the bill, which it said would have paved the way for fast-track asylum denials, saying that each case deserves careful consideration and the possibility of an appeals process.


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