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Afghan refugees denied asylum more often in Belgium than elsewhere in EU

15:04 03/12/2023

The refusal rate for Afghan asylum seekers in Belgium is higher than the EU average, according to an annual report by Myria, the federal migration centre.

In 2022, 5,700 Afghans made a first application for asylum in Belgium, constituting 18% of all applications.

This is the most numerous nationality among asylum seekers for several years, according to the report. Of the 32,219 people who applied for asylum in Belgium last year, the second and third largest groups were Syrians and Burundians.

But the refusal rate for asylum seekers from Afghanistan in 2022 is higher in Belgium (56%) than the average for EU countries (47%), which Myria said was worrying, as the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate.

“Some Afghan asylum seekers could risk degrading or even inhumane treatment - prohibited by Article 3 of the European Court of Human Rights - if they returned, given the current situation in Afghanistan,” the organisation said.

According to Myria, the risk analysis done by the immigration authorities when reviewing an application for asylum is not always carried out adequately.

It is calling for “legal and procedural safeguards to ensure that this examination is carried out systematically and on an individual basis”.

Written by Helen Lyons