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).

20 September 2021

EASO publishes three COI reports on Somalia: Targeted profiles, Key socio-economic indicators and Security situation

Today, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published three Country of Origin Information (COI) reports. The first report is titled Somalia: Targeted profiles, the second one Somalia: Key socio-economic indicators and the third one Somalia: Security situation. These reports are part of a series of four COI reports on Somalia that have been produced in 2021. They build upon the preceding EASO COI report on Somalia: Actors (July 2021).  They should be read in conjunction with one another. This series of COI reports provide relevant information on international protection status determination for Somali asylum seekers and will be used in the development of EASO country guidance note on Somalia.

After peaking in 2015, with 21 600 applications for international protection, Somali asylum applications have fluctuated in recent years. So far in 2021 (January-June), Somalis have lodged over 6 900 asylum applications in the EU+, according to data from the Early Warning and Preparedness System (EPS). This makes Somalia the seventh top country of origin of applicants in the EU+ (in 2020 Somalia was the 10th top country of origin). So far in 2021, the EU+ recognition rate for EU-regulated types of protection (at first instance) for Somalis was 58 %, which is in line with that of the previous year. At the end of June 2021, some 11 400 Somali applications were pending at first instance.

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The EASO COI report on Somalia: Targeted profiles provides in-depth information about following potentially targeted profiles: people recruited by and deserters from Al-Shabaab; women and girls; individual perceived as contravening religious laws/tenets; minorities and non-minority clans; individuals involved in blood feuds/clan disputes; individuals supporting or perceived as supporting the government, the international community, and/or as opposing Al-Shabaab; journalists; LGBTIQ.
This report was drafted by the Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation (ACCORD) in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology. It was peer-reviewed internally, and externally by Norway, Landinfo, Norwegian Country of Origin Information Centre; and by international Somalia expert, scholar and author, Joakim Gundel.
The report can be downloaded from the EASO COI Portal.

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The EASO COI report on Somalia: Key socio-economic indicators provides background information and details on key socio-economic indicators in three Somali cities, namely Mogadishu, Garowe, and Hargeisa. These represent the main urban centres in Somalia, including Puntland and Somaliland. The reference period of the report is January 2020 – 30 June 2021.
This report was drafted by the Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation (ACCORD) in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology. It was peer-reviewed internally, and externally by Denmark, Ministry of Immigration and Integration, Danish Immigration Service (DIS), COI Unit; and Greece, General Secretariat for Migration Policy, Greek Asylum Service, Asylum Processes and Training Department.
The report can be downloaded from the EASO COI Portal.

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The EASO COI report on Somalia: Security situation provides an overview of the main security trends and incidents at national level in the period January 2020 – 30 June 2021, as well as details on conflict dynamics, territorial control/influence, and armed actors at regional level. Finally, the report provides regional details about incidents, their impact on civilian life, internal displacement, and conflict related humanitarian issues.
This report was jointly written by the COI Sector of EASO, together with contributions from ACCORD (Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation) in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology. It was peer-reviewed internally, and externally by The Netherlands, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINBUZA), Country of Origin Information Unit; and by international Somalia expert, Ken Menkhaus, Professor of Political Science at Davidson College, North Carolina (US).
The report can be downloaded from the EASO COI Portal.


09 September 2021

EASO updates COI report on security situation in Afghanistan

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) has published an updated Country of Origin Information (COI)[1] Report on the security situation Afghanistan. As with all EASO COI Reports, the publication offers an objective resource for use by EU Member State asylum officials when reviewing individual applications for international protection – in this case by Afghan nationals. It also offers the basis for the development of Country Guidance Notes aimed at harmonising asylum decision practices across the EU. 

The current report covers the overall security situation in Afghanistan from 1 March to 31 August 2021 and contains information on clashes and other security related events on provincial and district level during the reference period. The report also describes the Taliban's take-over of Afghanistan as international forces withdrew, beginning with the increased number of districts falling under Taliban control between March and July, followed by the capture of provincial capitals between 6 and 14 August, including the 'heavily defended' northern city of Mazar-e Sharif, and the final take-over of the capital Kabul on 15 August 2021. 

While the report focuses primarily on conflict-related security incidents, which rapidly decreased as the Taliban take-over neared completion, it also covers general events following the fall of Kabul. This includes the Taliban's declaration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, reports on the government formation process and first statements made by the Taliban on its intentions regarding the respect of some fundamental human rights. It also addresses initial indications of threats against certain profiles such as journalists, persons with links to the previous administration or foreign forces, and human rights activists. 

The report does not cover events after 31 August, and it must be noted that by the time of publication several sources have reported on the Taliban claiming to have captured Panjsher province, while the resistance front's leader, Ahmad Massoud, claims that the resistance force is still present in Panjshir and continue to fight the Taliban. There were also announcements about the formation of a Taliban government on 7 September, and reports on the Taliban breaking up demonstrations, as well as on the impact of the new Taliban regime on fundamental rights of the civilian population, in particular of women.

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 not only for the individual assessment of protection needs of asylum applicants, but also for the ongoing development of EASO Country Guidance on Afghanistan which is expected in the coming months. 

By developing such Country Guidance[2], 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. Such national decision practices have long been widely diverging in the case of Afghanistan, as reflected in varying recognition rates, possibly resulting in secondary movements within the EU[3].  

 

Acknowledgments
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This COI report was co-drafted by Country of Origin Information (COI) external expert, Ms Elizabeth Williams, together with the EASO COI Sector in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology, and was reviewed by Belgium, Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons, Cedoca (Centre for Documentation and Research) and France, Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless persons (OFPRA), Information, Documentation and Research Division (DIDR).


Notes 
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[1] COI: Further information on EASO Country of Origin Information activities, including on Afghanistan, can be found on the EASO website

[2] Country Guidance: Further information on EASO Country Guidance activities, including on Afghanistan, can be found on the EASO website.

[3] Statistical background: In recent years, Afghans have typically been the second largest group of asylum applicants in the EU after Syrians. In June 2021, Afghans lodged just over 6 000 asylum applications. In recent months, Afghans have lodged increasingly more applications, growing by 55 % since the beginning of the year. In June 2021, Afghan (self-claimed) unaccompanied minors made up half of all unaccompanied minors in the EU. In June there was a backlog of about 41 700 pending Afghan cases at first instance in the EU. Of the first instance decisions issued to Afghans in June, 56 % were granted an EU-regulated status (two thirds subsidiary protection, one third refugee status). Available data seems to indicate that Afghan nationals are strongly involved in secondary movements within the EU. For more information see EASO's Latest Asylum Trends page. 


30 August 2021

Update: EASO MedCOI report on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

​ After publication of the EASO COI Report: MedCOI report on the Democratic Republic of Congo (December 2020) a minor update of this report was needed for the following reasons: 

  • to adjust some inconsistencies found and avoid confusion (about specific treatments and medicines that are available and unavailable) with the MedCOI availability service. The following was changed: the term ‘available’ in the medication and treatment price tables has been eliminated. Availability of treatment and medication is collected within the MedCOI service following a strict methodology. In the context of this report, only the cost of the treatments and medication has been investigated. When no treatment price was found (for whatever reason), a dash marks the absence of data. When no prices were found for a line of entry, the row was removed in order to improve the readability of the tables.

  • to adjust and add extra information related to information about haemodialysis which was received from sources after the publication of the report.

On the first point, the adjustments related to the tables with treatment and medication prices are mentioned in the separate chapters 9-18 about accessibility information on specific disease groups and in annex 1. 

On the second point, the adjustments and extra information related to haemodialysis are mentioned in separate chapter 14: Nephrology. 


Readers should consult this updated report for current information rather than the original published in December 2020. 

14 July 2021

EASO publishes a COI report: Syria – Security situation

Today, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) report titled "Syria: Security situation".

This report is part of a series of Syria COI reports produced in 2021. The reports provide information relevant for international protection status determination for Syrian applicants, and in particular for use in updating EASO's country guidance development on Syria.

The report, EASO COI Report: Syria – Security situation, analyses the security situation in Syria, focusing in particular on the situation of the civilian population. It provides an overview of the armed conflicts in Syria, information on the main parties to the conflict and a governorate-level description of the security situation. The reference period is 2020 and the first three months of 2021. The report is an update of the EASO COI Report: Syria – Security situation (May 2020).

The report was drafted by the EASO COI Sector together with researchers from the Finish Immigration Service, in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology. The report was reviewed by the Netherlands, Office for Country Information and Language Analysis. Additionally, ACCORD, the Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation and the Asylum Research Centre (ARC) conducted external reviews.

Syria remains the top country of origin of asylum applicants in the EU+. In April and May 2021, Syrians lodged some 6 500 and 6 300 applications[i] for international protection in the EU+, respectively. While this was about in line with pre-pandemic levels, it represented a decrease from early 2021. In particular, it was more than a third below the over 10 000 monthly applications lodged in the first two months of the year. However, this decrease was driven by considerably fewer repeated applications in the same country: from almost 5 000 in January and February 2021 down to below 300 in May 2021. In fact, the number of first-time applications in April and May actually exceeded those of January and February 2021. The level of Syrian first-time applications has actually remained relatively stable since July 2020, fluctuating between some 5 100 and 6 500. The overall number of Syrian pending cases at first instance, some 45 100 at the end of May 2021, decreased by almost a fifth from the peak in February 2021, but was still clearly above the numbers recorded between April and December of last year.

The EU+ recognition rate for Syrians so far in 2021 was unusually low, at only 55 %, compared to 85 % in the previous five months (August – December 2020). This was due to the extraordinarily high number of decisions taken on repeated applications in March and April 2021, almost all of which were rejected.



[i] Based on provisional EASO Early warning and Preparedness System (EPS) data.

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13 July 2021

In June 2021, Belgium's Cedoca-CGRS published COI reports on Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, DRC, Somalia, and Sudan

In June 2021, the Documentation and Research Department (Cedoca) of the Belgian Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS) had published several COI reports in Dutch, French, and English, on: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and Sudan,

The reports can be downloaded on the links below:

COI Focus – Afghanistan – security situation in Kabul city (in English, covering the reporting period from 1 April 2020 to 15 May 2021)

COI Focus - Afghanistan - Security situation in Jalalabad, Behsud and Surkhrod districts (Nangarhar province) (in English, covering the reporting period from 1 February 2020 to 31 May 2021)

COI Focus – Burkina Faso – security situation – addendum (in French, an update of April 2021 COI Focus report, covering the reporting period from 31 March 2021 to 16 June 2021)

COI Focus – Democratic Republic of Congo – the treatment by national authorities of their nationals returning to the country of origin (in French, covering the reporting period from 1 January 2020 to 7 June 2021)

COI Focus – Democratic Republic of Congo - homosexuality (in French, an update of the same title from 31 July 2017 to 10 June 2021)

COI Focus – Somalia – security situation on Mogadishu (in Dutch, covering the reporting period from 1 December 2020 to 6 June 2021)

COI Focus - Sudan – the situation of Darfuri and Nuba outside of their region of origin (in Dutch, covering the reporting period from April 2019 to March 2021)