study on the Belgian asylum processing policy – ​​CIRÉ asbl

After more than twenty years of occupation by international armed forces, Afghanistan underwent a new upheaval on August 15, 2021: the takeover of the country by the Taliban. This had very important consequences for the local population, whether in terms of their security, their freedom and their living conditions. Everything has changed, for the worse.

In Belgium too, this had important consequences. On the one hand, the flight of a good number of Afghans to Pakistan, Iran, but also Europe has increased the reception needs of this population, just as it has pushed people already present in our territory to submit a new asylum application. In February 2022, we had already carried out an initial analysis of access to territory, asylum and residence for Afghans. Here we will go into more detail about international protection and its interpretation by the Belgian asylum authorities.
On August 16, 2021, the day after the Taliban took power in Kabul, the CGRS communicated on its website, saying that it was suspending “partially and temporarily the notification of the decisions of Afghan applicants”. This suspension, initially planned until September, will have lasted much longer. While it is necessary to have an examination of asylum applications based on factual and objective elements, this wait has significant consequences for the people who undergo them and who wait for months – sometimes years – in the asylum centers. welcome from Belgium. The first part of this analysis will be devoted to the analysis of this partial freezing of the examination of asylum applications.

Refugee status, which has continued to be recognized without interruption, has since March become the first route to international protection for Afghans. While in 2017, of all the decisions of recognition of a need for international protection issued with regard to Afghans, 57% were subsidiary protection statuses, for 43% refugee statuses. Through this analysis, we will explain the reasons for this reversal and analyze what now constitutes the new asylum policy of the CGRS.

Finally, we will dwell on the fate reserved for the hundreds of Afghan protection seekers who have been refused asylum, who nevertheless cannot return to their country of origin without risking their lives; we will approach inemovability. Faced with what appears at first sight to be an inconsistency in the asylum system – the non-recognition of a need for protection accompanied by the recognition of a risk of inhuman and degrading treatment in the event of return to the country of origin – , we will offer a simple and life-saving solution for those who fled the Taliban dictatorship.

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