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).

05 June 2017

EASO publishes a Country of Origin Information (COI) report on Nigeria

The report provides an overview of selected topics in Nigeria, relevant for the international protection status determination of Nigerian applicants.

This is the second COI report on Nigeria published by EASO. In October 2014, EASO published a COI report on Sex Trafficking of women.

In 2016, Nigeria ranked 5th in the top countries of origin in the EU+ countries, with a total of 48,705 applicants. This is a 46 % increase compared to 2015. In April 2017, Nigeria was the third-ranked country of origin in Europe.

In this report EASO provides information focusing on 'selected topics' of particular relevance for international protection status determination (Refugee Status and Subsidiary Protection) for Nigerian applicants. It is not meant to be a general description of the human rights situation in the country, nor a comprehensive overview of all topics at stake in international protection status determination.

Input from EU+ countries suggests that a majority of Nigerian applicants for international protection originate from the southern part of the country, and a large part of them from Edo state, a relatively small state representing a similarly small fraction of the Nigerian population. Therefore, information related to the south of Nigeria and in particular Edo State, is given particular attention in this country focus report.

Key topics

The first chapter of the report provides background information about the legal and administrative system, ethnic groups and political situation in Nigeria. This chapter also discusses the general human rights situation, covering issues related to Boko Haram, vigilantism, ethnic-religious violence, corruption, and abuse of power by security forces. The second chapter presents the security situation in the country's six regions and thematic security issues such as conflicts between 'indigenes' and 'settlers' and between nomads and farmers. The third chapter covers the judiciary, sources of Nigerian legislation and the functioning of law enforcement. Chapter 4 is devoted to gender-related issues, such as the widespread domestic violence of which mainly women are victims, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) the prevalence of which is steadily decreasing, and child and forced marriages largely occurring in northern Nigeria. Trafficking of Human Beings (THB) is discussed only briefly as this topic is covered comprehensively in the abovementioned Sex Trafficking of Women report. Chapter 5 is dedicated to the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) persons, and their treatment by society and authorities, and discusses the impact of the recent legislation prohibiting same sex marriages. The sixth chapter gives an overview of the main religions in Nigeria, and highlights several types of violence and conflicts linked to religion. Finally, Chapter 7 focuses on human rights issues related to secret societies (such as the Ogboni), university cults (violence, recruitment and the possible consequences of refusing such a cult), the occurrence of ritual killings, and chieftaincy succession issues.

Background

This report was written in the framework of the EASO Operating Plan to Italy, Measure ITA 5: "Professional development activities and study visits". Two COI specialists from Norway and The Netherlands were deployed to an EASO Asylum Support Team, to support the Italian COI unit in drafting a report on selected topics in Nigeria. The report was written in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology. It was reviewed by COI experts from Denmark, Portugal, the Republic of Slovenia and Switzerland in order to ensure the highest quality. The drafting of this report was finalised on 8 May 2017.

EASO will continue to produce such reports on important countries of origin and update them regularly in order to raise and harmonise COI standards in the EU and to further support the practical implementation of the Common European Asylum System.

The report can be downloaded at: https://coi.easo.europa.eu/administration/easo/PLib/EASO_Country_Focus_Nigeria_June2017.pdf

17 March 2017

EASO publishes a Country of Origin Information (COI) report on state actors of protection in the Russian Federation

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) Report entitled ‘Russian Federation – State Actors of Protection’. The report provides an overview on aspects related to the state protection functions identified as central from a citizen’s perspective – the official institutions that constitute the guarantee for the individual’s possibility to exercise his or her rights. In 2016, the Russian Federation ranked 9th in the top countries of origin in EU+ countries, with a total of 26,550 applicants.

The EASO COI report on state actors of protection in the Russian Federation aims at providing an overview of the justice and security sectors in the country, in their role as State actors of protection.

To that purpose, the COI report identifies and provides general information of each actor of protection in the Russian Federation, together with their capacity and integrity in performing their tasks. The first part of the reports delivers an insight on the Russian Federation Constitution and state structure, and the second part identifies the relevant state actors of protection for the purpose of this report: the Ministry of Internal Affairs – MVD, the Prosecutor’s Office, Courts, the State Investigative Committee – SK, and the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation.

Given the specific status of Chechnya, a separate chapter was drafted, containing background information on the republic, its structure and recent developments. State protection available in the republic is described by identifying the individual actors of protection, the impact of traditional and religious law, and protection accessible for women.

The Russian Federation – State Actors of Protection report was 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 Belgium, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Switzerland). A further review and content update was carried out by ACCORD (Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation) in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology and EASO Mandate. In line with this methodology, country information from a wide variety of sources is provided, while refraining from making any assessments or policy conclusions.

The report can downloaded here

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