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Europe

No Agreement on List of 'Safe Countries'

Efforts to produce a list of "safe countries" from which asylum claims will be presumed to be unfounded are running into difficulty.

The EU plan to create a list of safe countries is running into trouble as no consensus emerges on which countries to include on the list. The current list, which includes Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, Ghana, Mali, Mauritius, Senegal and Uruguay, has drawn fire from both member states and the European Commission. According to documents obtained by human rights group Statewatch, the European Commission has opposed all of the African countries being put on the list. Member states have also raised objections. Human rights groups are also strongly opposing the plan. "On the one hand the member states have highlighted a catalogue of human rights concerns in countries on the proposed list. On the other they are declaring these countries safe because their legal systems theoretically prevent those abuses," Statewatch’s Tony Bunyan said. The list has to be approved by the European Parliament and then member states have to approve the list unanimously in a vote scheduled for December. (EUobserver.com)

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