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).

30 September 2019

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

Today, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) report on Eritrea. The report provides updated information on selected topics (National Service, Exit from Eritrea, and Treatment of Returnees), relevant for international protection status determination. Between August 2018 and July 2019, more than 14 475 Eritrean applications were registered in the EU+ countries.[1]

This EASO COI report on Eritrea was drafted by the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), Division Analysis. The report updates and expands on the EASO COI report on National Service and Illegal Exit (in Eritrea) from 2016. It provides a brief overview of Eritrea's latest political developments, in the period 2016-2019, including the rapprochement with Ethiopia, the legal framework in force, and the relevant human rights issues. For the same reference period, the report then focuses on three main topics: (1) structure and functioning of the National Service; (2) legal and illegal exit from the country; (3) voluntary and forced return. Transversally to the above mentioned subjects, the reports details forms of punishment and treatment of deserters, draft evaders, persons illegally exiting the country, and returnees. Besides relevant public and governmental sources, the report relies extensively on interviews with key informants and experts, which were mostly carried out in the period May-July 2019.

The report was peer reviewed by EASO and other COI researchers from the following national asylum authorities: Germany, Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), Country Analysis; and Sweden, Swedish Migration Agency, Section for Information Analysis. The report was drafted and reviewed in accordance with EASO's COI Report Methodology.

The report can be downloaded from the EASO COI portal.

[1] EASO EPS Data from EU Member States plus Norway and Switzerland, data from Malta are missing.

27 June 2019

BAMF: Human rights situation, Vulnerable persons in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia

The report researches the situation of vulnerable persons in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia focusing the criminalization of same sex practices. Since the Arab Revolution in 2011 the three Maghreb Countries Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia experienced different political, economic and traditional changes. All three administrations took a few steps to democratization and started some improvements in human rights issues. Nevertheless, people face a lack of freedom of expression, criminalization of same sex practices or gender discrimination not only due to political situation but also due to the traditional attitude of the society.

The report is in German and can be downloaded at https://coi.easo.europa.eu/administration/germany/PLib/DE_BAMF_Laenderreport_11_AlgerienMarokkoTunesien_Jun-2019.pdf

14 June 2019

EASO COI Report Methodology and Writing and Referencing Guide

EASO publishes the updated Country of Origin Information (COI) Report Methodology and Writing and Referencing Guide for EASO COI reports

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published an updated version of the 2012 EASO COI Report Methodology. This methodology was developed for the purpose of producing and publishing different types of EASO COI reports. The use of this methodology is binding for the production of EASO COI reports.

EASO aims to cooperate with EU+ countries in order to meet target users' needs and share the burden through joint efforts to produce COI. The EASO COI Report Methodology constitutes a code of conduct for participants in each phase of the COI production process.

The methodology explains the guiding principles for COI in the first chapter, which are: Neutrality and Objectivity, Relevance and Usability, Transparency and Publicity, Validity and Quality. After a chapter on the initiation and production process of EASO COI reports, the methodology focuses on researching and drafting COI. Here, quality standards for sources and information are explained and elaborated, as well as the selection and validation of sources. The third chapter discusses the phase of researching and presenting information, focusing on drafting methods such as summarising and synthesising, and on referencing sources. The final chapters discuss quality control, editing and proofreading, publication and follow up of a COI product. Finally, annexes on review and a glossary of the used terms are presented.

The first version of this COI report methodology was published in June 2012. Since then, EASO has developed a portfolio of distinct types of COI reports, depending on specific user needs and available resources. As a result, EASO identified the need to clarify certain concepts and revise the methodology. A working group was formed by EASO composed of COI experts from seven EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Slovak Republic, Sweden), who discussed the key issues and provided input for the revision.

The new draft of the methodology was sent for comments to EASO's COI Strategic Network, UNHCR and civil society organisations specialised in producing COI. Finally, EASO organised a COI methodology conference in Brussels on 15-16 November 2017 with COI practitioners from the EU+ countries, international organisations, and civil society. At the conference, EASO facilitated discussions and sought feedback from participants on aspects of the new methodology. Taking into account the results of these consultations, the revised methodology was finalised and endorsed by the EASO Management Board on 29 May 2019.

The EASO COI Report Methodology can be downloaded from the EASO COI portal via the following link: https://coi.easo.europa.eu/administration/easo/PLib/2019_EASO_COI_Report_Methodology.pdf

Simultaneously and accompanying the EASO COI Report Methodology, the EASO COI Writing and Referencing Guide was published. The guide is aimed at COI researchers who (co-)draft EASO COI reports written in English. The guide is intended to be a clear, useable, and practical desk companion for researchers/drafters. The purpose of this guide is also to support a diverse community of EU+ COI drafters, harmonise approaches to EASO writing/referencing, and work consistently across EASO COI publications.

The Writing and Referencing Guide was created after researching best practices and elements of existing COI style guidelines from EASO, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Sweden, UNHCR, ACCORD, Canada, and others. A wide range of professional referencing and citation systems were also consulted. The European Commission English Style Guide and the EU Interinstitutional Style Guide were also used in the development of this Guide, among others.  

In 2017 and 2018, a working group composed of COI experts from seven EU+ countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Slovak Republic, Sweden) discussed and provided input to the content of this Guide. It was reviewed for internal consistency by a COI expert from Estonia. The EASO COI team and management also provided feedback.

The Writing and Referencing Guide can be downloaded from the EASO COI portal via the following link: https://coi.easo.europa.eu/administration/easo/PLib/2019_EASO_COI_Writing_and_Referencing_Guide.pdf

12 June 2019

Afghanistan security situation

​The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) Report entitled 'Afghanistan – security situation'. The report is a fifth update of the version first published in February 2015 and provides a comprehensive overview of the security situation in Afghanistan. 

In 2018, Afghanistan ranked second in the top countries of origin in EU+ countries, with 45 300 applicants. Overall, some 32 735 cases were pending at first-instance for Afghan applicants at the end of March 2019.

The 'Afghanistan security situation' report provides a general description of the security situation in Afghanistan, covering the following topics: a brief context of the situation; actors in the conflict; security trends and armed confrontations; 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 in 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 civilian casualties. Finally, a brief overview of conflict-induced displacement is provided. 

The report was co-drafted by COI researchers from the national asylum authorities of Austria, Belgium, France and EASO in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology. The report was reviewed by COI researchers from Norway and Slovakia and EASO. In addition, a review of the report was carried out by the Austrian Red Cross/ACCORD and Asylum Research Centre (ARC).

The terms of reference of this report were defined by EASO based information needs identified by asylum policy experts in EU+ countries and UNHCR. The report presents information until 28 February 2019.

It is EASO's intention to continue to produce such reports on important countries of origin and to 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/Afghanistan_security_situation_2019.pdf