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).

16 December 2016

EASO publishes a Country of Origin Information (COI) report on national service and illegal exit in Eritrea

​The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) Report entitled 'Eritrea – National service and illegal exit'. The report is an update of the 2015 EASO COI Report Eritrea Country Focus. It provides an overview on aspects related to national service and illegal exit in Eritrea relevant to international protection status determination of Eritrean applicants. In the first ten months of 2016, Eritrea ranked 7th  in the top countries of origin in EU+ countries, with a total of 31 416 applicants.

The EASO COI report at hand updates and further expands the sections of the 2015 EASO COI Report Eritrea Country Focus that related to national service and illegal exit. It is therefore not to be considered as a general overview of the human rights situation in Eritrea, nor as a comprehensive presentation of national service in Eritrea. The main aim of the report is to present the latest findings on the aforementioned topics based on a variety of sources. As the availability of reliable and up to date information on Eritrea is known to be problematic, information from the various categories of sources from within and outside Eritrea (Eritrean government, international observers, reports by third parties) is set out in separate sub-chapters in relation to each topic, in order to ensure full transparency.

Draft evasion, desertion and illegal exit represent major asylum motives for Eritrean applicants for international protection. The report provides a description of the legal context and practices of national service (covering both the military and civilian branch), including the treatment by the Eritrean authorities of draft evaders and deserters. The report also looks into the legal position and treatment in practice of Eritreans who return to their country after having left it illegally, without an exit visa. New information is available regarding the duration of compulsory service and the salary paid while performing national service. In recent years, the Eritrean government has announced comprehensive reforms in these two areas and some changes can be noted, as presented in the last chapter of the report.

As regards the information in those chapters of the 2015 Eritrea Country Focus not updated in the current report, no new information is available indicating changes in the situation described in these chapters. The 2015 information on those chapters therefore remains valid.

The EASO COI report was drafted by the COI unit of the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM). The report was written in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology and presents information until 10 August 2016, stemming from publicly available sources and interviews conducted with experts. The report was reviewed by peers from EU Member States.

The report can be accessed by clicking here

16 November 2016

Western Balkans and Turkey in Focus

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published Country of Origin Information (COI) Reports on Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. These reports, drafted upon request of the European Parliament and the Council, provide factual information on selected topics relevant for safe country designation, more specifically in the framework of the proposal for an EU List of Safe Countries of Origin.

On 9 September 2015, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a European List of safe countries of origin (COM(2015) 452 final), which would include all Western Balkan countries and Turkey. Negotiations on this proposal are still ongoing. On 26 February 2016, EASO received a request from the European Parliament for a contribution on Turkey, which was followed, on 1 April 2016, by a similar request from the Council on Turkey and all Western Balkan countries. In response to these information requests, EASO has drafted COI reports on all seven countries proposed to be included in the EU List of Safe Countries of Origin. The reports can be downloaded here:

All seven reports were co-drafted and reviewed by EASO and researchers from a number of national asylum authorities represented in EASO's COI Network (contributions as drafters or reviewers from Finland, Lithuania, Romania, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, France, Hungary), in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology. In line with this methodology, country information from a wide variety of sources is provided, while refraining from making any assessments or policy conclusions. Thus, the reports aim to support the ongoing negotiations on the EU List of Safe Countries of Origin by offering a factual knowledge base for more informed policy discussions.

For the designation of safe countries of origin, Annex I of the Asylum Procedures Directive foresees that: 'A country is considered as a safe country of origin 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 Article 9 of Directive 2011/95/EU, 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 addition, 'account shall be taken, inter alia, of the extent to which protection is provided against persecution or mistreatment'.

The Country Focus reports at hand cover the most important topics related to the above-mentioned criteria for safe country of origin designation, namely: state structure (Constitution, Executive branch, Legislative Branch, Administration), socio-political landscape (Political parties, Elections, Civil society, Media), rule of law and state protection (Law enforcement, Judiciary), security situation and human rights situation (Legal context, Freedom of expression/religion/assembly, Detention, Situation of specific groups – ethnic or religious minorities, journalists, human rights activists, women, children, LGBTI persons, victims of trafficking, returnees).

Based on feedback received from the institutional actors on the usability of this country information for the purpose of safe country designation, EASO intends to review the terms of reference of these COI reports, as needed, and plans to provide regular updates, taking into account the time-sensitive nature of the information in question.

09 November 2016

EASO publishes a Country of Origin Information report on security situation in Afghanistan

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) has published a Country of Origin Information (COI) Report entitled 'Afghanistan security situation'. The report is a second update of the version first published in February 2015 and provides a comprehensive overview of the security situation in Afghanistan, information relevant for the protection status determination of Afghan asylum seekers. Until the end of September 2016, Afghanistan ranked 2nd in the top countries of origin in EU+ countries, with more than 153,000 applicants. In addition, the Afghan applications constitute the largest backlog of all countries of origin. By the end of September 2016, there were more than 230,000 pending asylum applications from Afghan nationals in the EU+.

This COI report represents a second update on the security situation in Afghanistan. The report was co-drafted by researchers from the national asylum authorities of Austria, Belgium, France, Hungary and Poland in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology. Researchers from Greece and Slovakia did supportive research and the report was reviewed and commented upon by COI researchers from Austria, Canada, EASO, Finland, Ireland and UNHCR.

The 'Afghanistan security situation' report provides a general description of the security situation in Afghanistan, covering the following topics: a brief historic overview; actors in the conflict; security trends and armed confrontations, description of tactics and arms used; state ability to secure law and order; impact of the violence on the civilian population; and the geographical overview of the security situation. The report also provides a description of the security situation for each of the 34 provinces and Kabul City. In these chapters, a general overview of the province is given, followed by a background on the conflict and actors in the province, and recent security trends including data on violent incidents, and qualitative information on the type of violence. Finally, a brief overview of violence-induced displacements is given. The reference period for the security report runs from 1 September 2015 until 31 August 2016.

The report can be accessed by clicking here

19 September 2016

EASO publishes COI report on recruitment by armed groups in Afghanistan

Today, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) Report entitled 'Afghanistan – Recruitment by armed groups'. The report is an update of a previous report published in 2012 and provides an overview of recruitment practices of armed groups in Afghanistan, providing information relevant for protection status determination of Afghan asylum applicants. In the first seven months of 2016, Afghanistan ranked 2nd in the top countries of origin in EU+ countries. with a total of almost 110 239 applicants.
The EASO COI report on recruitment by armed groups in Afghanistan provides a description of the of recruitment practices in Afghanistan, by the insurgent factions of the Afghan Taliban, the Islamic State in Khorasan (IS) and the Hezb-e Islami group led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The report also looks into recruitment by the Afghan Local Police (ALP) and pro-government militias (PGM). In a last chapter, information is presented on the specific issue of under-age or child recruitment. This is a topic of particular concern since a high percentage of the Afghan asylum applicants in Europe concerns Unaccompanied Minors. Depending on the EU+ country, this percentage varies from 0 to 54 % and on average it is over 14 %.
The report was co-drafted by Cedoca, the COI unit of the Belgian Office of the Commissioner-General for Refugees and Stateless persons and EASO. The report was written in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology and presents information until 19 August 2016, stemming from publicly available sources and a series of interviews conducted with experts on the matter, named in the report. The report was reviewed by peers from EU Member States, by UNHCR, and by an expert from the Afghanistan Analysts Network.
The report describes the transition of the Taliban into a more conventional armed force since the withdrawal of foreign troops, as well as the establishment of a new Taliban mobile elite force, called qet'a. Furthermore, opinions of experts are presented on the traditional role of the tribe or family in the recruitment process. The Taliban are still an overwhelmingly Pashtun movement, but some episodes of Hazaras joining the Taliban's ranks have been noted. The report covers the important topic of 'forced recruitment' by Taliban and IS, both insurgent groups but with a different ideology. Regarding recruitment by ALP and PGM, the report highlights the formal role of the local community council (shura) or local strongmen, but also problems related to this. Of particular concern is the recruitment of minors or children by all parties in the conflict. The report discusses the economic incentives, the role of schools or madrassas, the mechanisms to prevent underage recruitment in the Afghan National security forces, including age-verifications procedures, and how these mechanisms can fail.

The report can be accessed by clicking here

02 September 2016

Sudan : Situation of Persons from Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile in Khartoum

This report is the product of joint missions conducted by the Country Policy and Information Team, UK Home Office, and the Country of Origin Information Division, Danish Immigration Service (DIS) to Kampala, Uganda, from 1-4 February 2016; Khartoum, Sudan (by members of the DIS only); and Nairobi, Kenya, from 18 February to 2 March 2016. The FFM delegation also conducted an interview in London with a UK-based NGO on 25 January 2016. The purpose of the missions was to collect up-to-date information on issues recurring in cases regarding Sudanese asylum seekers in Denmark and the UK.
The report focuses on the situation of persons from Darfur and the Two Areas (Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile State)2 in Khartoum, including treatment of such persons upon arrival at Khartoum International Airport, treatment by the authorities in Khartoum, prevalence of societal discrimination, living conditions in Khartoum as well as access to Khartoum by road and air from Darfur and the Two Areas. It is available for download here.