COI News

Important news from EASO and the world of COI

Our approach to COI news

The News section aims to inform users about recent COI publications or upcoming workshops/conferences. EASO selects information provided in the News section according to its relevance to the COI and asylum fields. EASO welcomes suggestions to insert a particular news (event, publication).

07 January 2022

EASO publishes a COI report on Afghanistan: Country Focus

Today, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) Report on Afghanistan. The report is titled 'EASO COI Report Afghanistan: Country focus' and covers initial developments since the Taliban takeover on 15 August 2021, namely the Taliban's government formation, policy making and policy implementation, as well as the situation under Taliban rule for the general population and for some specific groups or profiles. Security incidents and violence related to resistance, insurgent groups, terrorism and similar elements have also been included, as well as information on the general humanitarian situation. The report does not cover events after 8 December 2021.

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has manifested itself with high degrees of variability across the country. Although an interim government has been announced, the implementation of formal policy and sharia law seems to differ. For instance, there are regional differences in girls' access to secondary education, and there have been reports on local Taliban leaders, as well as Taliban fighters, imposing their own perception of sharia law related to areas such as dress codes, cutting beards, women's freedom of movement, and women's access to work. Such variability was also reported in Taliban fighters' adherence to the issued amnesty for persons affiliated with the former government, and in their response to demonstrations. There was also a reported uncertainty among the general population of which laws being in effect, making many conform with what they perceived as being in line with Taliban norms, such as wearing traditional clothing or women staying indoors, although such official regulations had not been issued. 

The general security situation as regards conflict-related violence has changed in the country as the former government collapsed in mid-August 2021. There are reported pockets of resistance in some areas, and also reported clashes between the Taliban and the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP). ISKP have also been attributed severe attacks against Shia Mosques, hospitals and other targets. 

The humanitarian situation in the country has deteriorated since the Taliban takeover. Drought, international sanctions and the financial crisis have severely impacted the levels of food insecurity, children's access to education, and the access to medical care. The health care system is under pressure with shortages in funding, staff and medicines. 

As the situation in Afghanistan evolves, EASO will continue to conduct COI research and publish on topics that are of particular relevance to international protection status determination for Afghan asylum seekers. Such information is crucial for the individual assessment of protection needs of asylum applicants, and for the ongoing development of a EASO country guidance note on Afghanistan. By developing such guidance, based on a common analysis of COI together with senior policy experts from Member States, EASO aims to foster higher levels of convergence in Member States' asylum decision practices.

In January – October 2021, Afghans lodged over 73 900 applications for international protection in the EU+, up by 91 % compared to the same period in 2020. In September, there was a peak – the highest since September 2016 – partly related to the evacuations from Afghanistan. In October, the number of applications declined from the September peak, but still remained high. Since August, Afghans have been the largest group of applicants in the EU+. The upward trend in applications has triggered a rise in decisions issued at first instance. Nevertheless, the number of decisions issued to Afghans was far lower than the number of Afghan applications lodged in the last few months. This resulted in an increase of Afghan cases awaiting a decision at first instance (especially recently lodged), which exceeded 61 700 at the end of October, the most since October 2017. Recent events in Afghanistan have had an impact on the EU+ recognition rate at first instance. After fluctuating between 45 % and 60 % earlier in 2021 and rising to 86 % in September, in October, the recognition rate for Afghans reached 91 %. Almost 80 % of all positive decisions in October granted refugee status and the remainder granted subsidiary protection, while the corresponding percentage was 46 % in the first 10 months in 2021. For more information see EASO's Latest Asylum Trends page.

The report was drafted by EASO in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology, and was reviewed by the COI Units of the Belgian Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons, the Dutch Ministry of Justice, the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum, the Slovak Migration Office of the Ministry of Interior, the Swedish Migration Agency, as well as Landinfo – the Norwegian Country of Origin Information Centre.

The report can be downloaded from the EASO COI Portal on the following link. Further information on EASO COI and Country Guidance activities, including on Afghanistan, can be found on the EASO website.


25 November 2021

EASO publishes a COI report on Iraq: Key socio-economic indicators for Baghdad, Basrah and Sulaymaniyah

​Today, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) Report on Iraq. The report is titled Key socio-economic indicators for Baghdad, Basrah, and Sulaymaniyah. This report is a part of a series of Iraq reports that will be produced in 2021-2022. These reports cover the security situation, key socio-economic indicators in Baghdad, Basrah, and Sulaymaniyah, and targeting of individuals. The reports provide information relevant for international protection status determination for Iraqi asylum seekers and will be used to inform the update of the chapter on Internal Protection Alternative within the EASO Country Guidance on Iraq 2022 update.

The report, EASO COI Report – Iraq: Key socio-economic indicators should be read in conjunction with the other reports that will be published later.

Since June 2021, Iraqis have lodged increasingly more applications for international protection in the EU+. After their monthly applications had fluctuated between 1 300 and 1 700 from August 2020 to May 2021, Iraqis lodged around 1 800 applications in both June and July 2020, rising to some 2 300 in August and then 2 900 in September.[1] Over this period, Iraqis were consistently one of the 10 largest groups of applicants in the EU+. EU+ countries issued approximately 21 500 decisions at first instance on Iraqi applications between August 2020 and September 2021, and 41 % of the decisions granted refugee status or subsidiary protection (the recognition rate). The number of cases pending at first instance exhibited a decreasing tendency until May 2021 but has tended to increase in recent months and approached 15 700 cases at the end of September. The main receiving country for Iraqis has been Germany (accounting for more than half of all Iraqi applications from August 2020 to August 2021) followed by Greece, Austria and Belgium[2], but recently Iraqi applications have risen quickly also in Lithuania and Latvia as a result of the surge in irregular border crossings from Belarus.

The report, EASO COI Report – Iraq: Key socio-economic indicators provides information on key socio-economic indicators in Iraq focusing on the cities of Baghdad, Basrah, and Sulaymaniyah and highlights aspects of the legal and administrative requirements for Iraqis to enter and settle in the respective city, ID documents and access to basic services, the situation of IDPs and returnees, and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report was drafted by the Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation (ACCORD) and was reviewed by the Country of Origin (COI) Unit of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The report can be downloaded from the EASO COI Portal on the following link.

[1] EASO Early warning and Preparedness System data, 15 November 2020. Recent data were missing for two EU+ countries.

[2] Eurostat [migr_asyappctzm], last update on 11 November 2021.

12 November 2021

EASO publishes new updated COI research guide: COI Research Guide on LGBTIQ (2021)

Today, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a new COI research guide titled COI Research Guide on LGBTIQ. The guide should serve the needs of both experienced and less experienced COI researchers, as well as asylum caseworkers conducting COI research on the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer persons in countries of origin. Additionally, it may assist lawyers, legal aid providers and judges working in the asylum procedure.

Researching the situation of LGBTIQ persons in countries of origin can be challenging for several reasons, such as the variety of search terms, scarce sources, and lack of detailed/specific information for particular profiles. To address such research challenges, EASO's 2015 research guide on the situation of LGB persons was published[1], which initially focused on the main profiles of lesbian, gay and bisexual persons. Since 2015, more EU+ countries have indicated to the Agency an increase in applications from transgender and intersex persons, demonstrating a need to expand the Research Guide to additional profiles.

Differences with the 2015 COI Research Guide are: inclusion of gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics; an update of the terminology and glossary; an update of possible research questions to include different aspects of the situation of LGBTIQ persons, and an update of the sources in Annex II.

In April 2020, a working group of COI researchers from Denmark, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands, coordinated by EASO, updated the Annexed list of sources, while EASO COI sector staff updated the relevant content in the six chapters of the guide. The COI Research Guide was reviewed by COI researchers from France and Belgium and an external organisation, the European region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe). Finally, a round of consultations with COI stakeholders gathered comments from ACCORD, ARC, UNHCR, and France.

The guide should be consulted in conjunction with EASO's 2019 Country of Origin Information Report Methodology[2] which provides the general framework for COI methodology and quality standards.


Download the 2021 EASO Practical Guide COI Research Guide on LGBTIQ at the following link.

[1] EASO, Researching the situation of lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons (LGB) in countries of origin, April 2015, url

[2] EASO, COI Report Methodology, 2019, url


04 November 2021

In September and October 2021, Belgium's Cedoca-CGRS and the Danish Immigration Service (DIS) published COI reports on Morocco, Palestine and West Bank, Syria, Turkey and Yemen

​In September and October 2021, the Documentation and Research Department (Cedoca) of the Belgian Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS), and the Danish Immigration Service (DIS) had published COI reports in Dutch, French and English, on: Morocco, Palestinian territory and West Bank, Syria, Turkey and Yemen.

Cedoca-CGRS reports in French and Dutch can be downloaded on the following links:

COI Focus – Morocco – homosexuality (in French, covering the reporting period from 1 January 2019 to 31 July 2021)

COI Focus – Palestinian territory and West Bank (in French, covering the reporting period from 1 January to 30 September 2021)

COI Focus – Turkey – security situation (in French, covering the reporting period from 1 March to 21 October 2021)

COI Focus – Yemen – security situation (in Dutch, an update of the same title from 14 July 2020)

The Danish Immigration Service reports in English can be downloaded on the following links:

Syria – issues regarding return (in English, covering the reporting period from January 2020 to October 2021)

Syria – Palestinians in Damascus and Rural Damascus governorates (in English)

Syria – security and socio-economic situation in Tartous and Latakia governorates (in English, covering the reporting period from December 2020 to September 2021)

27 October 2021

EASO publishes a COI report on Pakistan: Security situation

Today, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) Report titled "Pakistan security situation report (October 2021)". This report is an update to the previous EASO COI Report "Pakistan – Security Situation" published in October 2020.

In 2020 and during the first seven months of 2021, several armed militant groups, including Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, Al-Qaeda, Islamic State Khorasan Province and Haqqani Network have been reportedly present in Pakistan and continued to carry out attacks in the country. The groups frequently used targeted killings, different types of IEDs, suicide attacks, kidnappings, grenade blasts, rocket attacks and sabotage acts.

During the reporting period, there has been a significant increase in targeted killings, blasphemy cases, forced conversions, and hate speech targeting religious minorities including Ahmadis, Shi'a Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Sikhs in Pakistan. Militant groups continued to attack religious minorities in the country.

Pakistani security forces carried out 47 operations and raids against militants in 2020. During the same period, security operations and armed clashes were reported in all four provinces (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh). These operations resulted in the killing of 146 people including 129 militants and 17 security forces personnel. 

In 2020 and during the first half of 2021, 344 civilians were reportedly killed as a result of violence in Pakistan. 

Amid the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan in July 2021, Pakistan has sent army troops to replace the paramilitary forces alongside the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to secure the situation and avoid a new influx of Afghan refugees. Following the takeover by the Taliban of the capital Kabul on 15 August 2021, Pakistani officials have carefully expressed that they support a peaceful resolution in Afghanistan. At the beginning of September 2021, a Pakistani delegation led by Faiz Hameed, former director of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) visited Kabul and held a meeting with the Taliban.

The COI report was drafted by a Country of Origin Information (COI) specialist from Cedoca, the Belgian COI unit, in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology, and was reviewed by EASO together with ACCORD - Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation, the BAMF - Germany - Federal Office for Migration and Refugees and The Netherlands, Office for Country Information and Language Analysis, Ministry of Justice.

Further information on EASO Country of Origin Information activities, including on Pakistan, can be found on the EASO website.