Did you know what the term "safe third country" means?

So far in recent years, ordinary people are increasingly locked in the migratory discourse given the changing political and socio-economic situation in the world. Little by little we have learned to differentiate the words "migrants" and "refugees." Now we have to know the term "safe third country", which is in the mouth of politicians.

It is a situation in which a person abandons his or her country and requests asylum in another and, when this second country refuses to grant it, it refers this person to a third State that is considered safe. Image: Pixabay
It is a situation in which a person abandons his or her country and requests asylum in another and, when this second country refuses to grant it, it refers this person to a third State that is considered safe. Image: Pixabay

Thus, during the meeting held by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, with his US counterpart, Mike Pompeo, the Mexican Foreign Minister stressed that he does not consider it necessary to initiate any type of negotiation with respect to a possible third country agreement between Mexico and the USA

On another occasion the media reported, citing US sources, that Washington is moving forward in the safe third country agreement with Guatemala.

What does this term really mean?

Although the concept is currently used to talk about the immigration situation in Central and North America, it was enshrined by the UN in the principles of the Convention on the Status of Refugees in 1951. It is a situation in which a person abandons his or her country and requests asylum in another and, when this second country refuses to grant it, it refers this person to a third State that is considered safe. In our case, if I signed the agreement, Central Americans who migrate north would first have to ask for asylum in Mexico or in Guatemala.

However, becoming the third safe country is not just a matter of signing an agreement, but, as established by the Geneva Convention, of meeting the minimum conditions for obtaining this statute. The main thing is that the third safe country must ensure that asylum seekers are not returned to their country of origin. This condition also got the name of no refund.

In addition, the receiving State ensures that the rights to housing and family reunification are fulfilled, as well as ensuring access to medical services, education, employment, social security, etc. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in turn, states that the responsibility for the reception is transferred between two countries only when the asylum systems of both meet the same requirements.

Among other conditions it is mentioned that the third safe country can:

Grant the person access to a fair and efficient procedure for determining refugee status and other international protection needs.

Allow the person to remain while the determination is made.

Grant the person standards of treatment in accordance with the 1951 Convention and with international human rights standards, including but not limited to, protection against return.

When it is determined that the person is a refugee, the State should be recognized as such and granted a legal stay.

This principle was previously applied generally in the EU when it came to the future of migrants from Libya, Syria, and Iraq and has now become a recurring term for US President Donald Trump, whose anti-immigration speeches have been known since the pre-election time of 2016.

Among the last steps of the US Government is the new order published in the Federal Register, according to which migrants who pass through a third country on their way to the United States. and do not apply for asylum in that State, they will not be "fit for asylum."

The intention of the US Government to sign an agreement with Mexico and Guatemala is framed in this logic. However, none of the countries have been willing to adopt this role, Sputnik Mundo reported.

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