A country of origin of asylum applicants is considered safe if it does not, or not generally, produce refugees. Receiving countries may use the concept of safe country of origin as a basis for rejecting summarily (without examination of the merits) particular groups or categories of asylum applicants.
According to Directive 2005/85/EC, a "safe country of origin" is a country where, on the basis of the legal situation, the application of the law within a democratic system and the general political circumstances, it can be shown that there is generally and consistently no persecution as defined in Directive 2004/83/EC, no torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and no threat by reason of indiscriminate violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict. In making this assessment, account is taken, inter alia, of the extent to which protection is provided against persecution or mistreatment by:
- the relevant laws and regulations of the country and the manner in which they are applied,
- observance of the rights and freedoms laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights and/or the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights and/or the Convention against Torture, in particular the rights from which derogation cannot be made under Article 15(2) of the said European Convention,
- respect of the non-refoulement principle according to the Geneva Convention,
- provision for a system of effective remedies against violations of these rights and freedoms.