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).

01 October 2020

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs translates recently published COI reports on Azerbaijan, China, Libya, Venezuela and Syria

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has facilitated translations from Dutch to English of their recently published Country of Origin Information Reports on Azerbaijan (July 2020), China (July 2020), Libya (June 2020), Venezuela (June 2020), and Syria (May 2020). The reports can be found at the following links:

Country of origin information report Azerbaijan (July 2020): https://coi.easo.europa.eu/administration/netherlands/PLib/2020_07_MinBZ_NLMFA_COI_Report_Azerbaijan_Algemeen_ambtsbericht_Azerbeidzjan.pdf

Country of origin information report China (July 2020): https://coi.easo.europa.eu/administration/netherlands/PLib/2020_07_MinBZ_NLMFA_COI_Report_China_Algemeen_Ambtsbericht_China.pdf

Country of origin information report Libya (June 2020): https://coi.easo.europa.eu/administration/netherlands/PLib/2020_06_MinBZ_NLMFA_COI_Report_Libya_Algemeen_ambtsbericht_Libie.pdf

Country of origin information report Syria (May 2020): https://coi.easo.europa.eu/administration/netherlands/PLib/2020_05_MinBZ_NLMFA_COI_Report_Syria_Algemeen_ambtsbericht_Syrie.pdf

Country of origin information report Venezuela (June 2020): https://coi.easo.europa.eu/administration/netherlands/PLib/2020_06_MinBZ_NLMFA_COI_Report_Venezuela_Algemeen_Ambtsbericht_Venezuela.pdf

28 September 2020

EASO publishes a COI report: Afghanistan, Security Situation (2020 update)

On 28 September 2020, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) report titled 'Afghanistan, Security Situation'

The EASO COI report Afghanistan: Security Situation (2020 update) aims to provide information on the security situation in Afghanistan, which is relevant for the assessment of international protection status determination, including refugee status and subsidiary protection.

The security situation in Afghanistan remained volatile during the reference period (1 March 2019 – 30 June 2020), while the conflict continued to be described as one of the deadliest in the world for civilians. On 29 February 2020, after more than 18 years of conflict, the US and the Taliban signed in Doha an 'agreement for bringing peace' to Afghanistan. Despite significant fluctuations in violence during the peace talks and periods of reduction in violence following the Doha agreement, several sources reported a spike in violence during the first six months of 2020, with an increase in the number of civilian casualties, particularly in the northern and north-eastern regions. After the agreement, the Taliban issued a statement declaring that fighting will continue regardless of the deal with the US; in some areas of the country, the group has reportedly intensified attacks against the Afghan National Security Forces.

The first part of the report provides a general overview of the security situation in Afghanistan, including conflict background and actors involved, main security incidents and their impact on the civilian population. The second part holds a geographic subdivision (Kabul city, plus 34 provinces), focusing in greater detail on the security situation in Kabul city and in each province, including a description of the armed actors active, recent security incidents, data on civilian casualties, and conflict-induced displacements.

This report is produced in line with the EASO COI Report Methodology, and was co-drafted by experts from Belgium, Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons, Cedoca (Centre for Documentation and Research); France, Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless persons (OFPRA), Information, Documentation and Research Division (DIDR); Poland, Department of Refugee and Asylum Proceedings; and researchers from EASO COI sector. In addition, the report was reviewed by Germany, Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF); Slovakia, Migration Office, Department of Documentation and Foreign Cooperation; and by ACCORD, the Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation.

With 2.7 million refugees as of the end of 2019, Afghanistan was the third largest country of origin of refugees in the world. Afghan continued to be the second most common citizenship of asylum applicants in the EU+ as of June 2020.

The EASO COI report Afghanistan – Security Situation, September 2020 is the last one of a series of COI reports on Afghanistan published by EASO between July and September 2020. The other reports of the series can be found at following links:

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23 September 2020

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

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, Basra, and Erbil. This report is a part of a series of Iraq reports that will be produced in 2020. These reports cover the security situation, key socio-economic indicators in Baghdad, Basra, and Erbil, 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 2020 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.

Iraqi applications for international protection in the EU+ have been decreasing since 2016. Nevertheless, Iraqi nationals ranked fifth among the most common citizenships in the EU+ in 2019 with over 30 000 applications. In the first quarter of 2020, Iraqis lodged some 6 100 applications, fewer than in the first quarter of 2019. Subsequently, the number decreased even more as asylum authorities in EU+ countries implemented restrictive measures to halt the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, in the first six months of 2020, Iraqi nationals lodged just under 8 500 applications in EU+ countries, almost half compared to the same period in 2019. Nevertheless, Iraq kept the fifth position among the most common countries of origin. In the first six months of 2020, approximately 11 900 first-instance decisions were issued on Iraqi applicants, with a recognition rate for EU-regulated types of protection at 38 %. The number of pending cases at first instance has gradually decreased over the last six months, so that in the end of June 2020 there were some 15 800 cases awaiting a decision.  Germany has been the main destination country for Iraqi applicants: from April 2019 to March 2020 almost half of all Iraqi applications in the EU+ were lodged in Germany.

The EASO COI report: Iraq – Key socio-economic indicators provides information on key socio-economic indicators in Iraq, focusing on Baghdad, Basra and Erbil. It highlights aspects of demographics, humanitarian context, IDPs/returnees, women, children, support networks, documents, and impact of COVID-19. Relevant indicators include the general economic situation, access to employment and livelihoods, poverty, food and water security, housing and living conditions, access to health care, and access to education.

The report was drafted by the EASO COI Sector in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology, and was reviewed by the Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation (ACCORD), the Polish Office for Foreigners' COI Unit, and the Dutch Ministry of Justice's Office for Country Information and Language Analysis.

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

26 August 2020

EASO publishes a COI report: Afghanistan, State Structure and Security Forces

Today, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) report titled 'Afghanistan, State Structure and Security Forces'.

The focus of this report is on state structure, security institutions and state judiciary in Afghanistan. It is divided into three parts. The first part focuses on presenting an overview of the state structure in Afghanistan, including governance, corruption, and the latest developments on the 2019 elections. The second part focuses on the state security institutions, their mandate and structure, integrity, and the main reported cases of violations perpetrated by these security forces. The third part of the report provides a general overview of the state judiciary, focusing on its capacity, integrity, effectiveness in prosecution, as well as prison conditions.

The Afghan government continues to be involved in multiple and overlapping non-international armed conflicts between government forces and Anti-Government Elements (AGEs), mainly against the Taliban and Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), among others. Governance in Afghanistan continues to be weak, mainly due to corruption within the government, insecurity, unemployment, violation of human rights, lack of rule of law, illiteracy and lack of capacity into administrative reforms.

The report was drafted by EASO COI Sector and produced in line with the EASO COI Report Methodology; it was reviewed by experts from The Netherlands, Office for Country Information and Language Analysis, Ministry of Justice.

With 2.7 million refugees as of the end of 2019, Afghanistan was the third largest country of origin of refugees in the world. Afghan continued to be the second most common citizenship of asylum applicants in the EU+ as of June 2020.

The 'Afghanistan, State Structure and Security Forces' report is part of a series of EASO COI reports on Afghanistan due to be published in 2020.

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21 August 2020

EASO publishes a COI report: Venezuela Country Focus

On 20 August 2020, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) report titled 'Venezuela Country Focus'.

This COI report is a joint initiative of EASO and the Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees (IGC)[1].

The report addresses the main topics and questions raised by international protection authorities, decision-makers, and COI researchers. It covers recent developments in the economy, political and security situation, and the humanitarian situation. The report also discusses the most recurring targeted profiles by the government and its security forces. It describes activities of armed pro-government civilian groups (colectivos), including targeted profiles, modus operandi, relation with the government and security forces, and state response for victims of colectivos. Final chapters describe identity and courts documents, entry and exit procedures, and the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans (LGBT) persons.

Some findings of the report include:

  • The mass emigration of Venezuelans constitutes one of the largest in recent Latin American history. While the number of Syrians who left their country reached 6.5 million in seven years (2011-2017), the number of Venezuelans who left their country reached 4 million in four years (2015-June 2019).
  • Venezuela has one of the highest homicide rates in Latin America, despite a decrease in 2019. Armed groups, both domestic and foreign, operate in Venezuela, with distinct objectives, modus operandi, political loyalties and relations with the state.
  • Colectivos exert political and social control in neighbourhoods where they operate, and have become instrumental in the use of coercive control over protests through the use of violence and often in coordination with security forces.
  • The nature of protests changed in the first months of 2019, with more targeted demonstrations emerging to protest the deterioration of living standards and the humanitarian situation. Security forces allegedly subjected persons who participated in protests to 'serious abuse and ill-treatment' while in detention in order to punish them, force confessions, or incriminating others.
  • Authorities allegedly engaged in forced disappearances, including for political reasons, to impede the defence of the person while the detention is carried out. Security forces have also allegedly been involved in extrajudicial executions.
  • Venezuela has established a complex system to eavesdrop, harass, and digitally and physically monitor the population, including through the CLAP food boxes and the Homeland Card (Carnet de la Patria). Social control has intensified during the pandemic.
  • A systematic and widespread policy of repression in Venezuela for those who are critical of the government was identified by sources. The government and security forces target journalists to silence on what is occurring in the country. Human rights advocates and members of civil society organisations are prosecuted under both the criminal justice system and the military penal jurisdiction, as an 'exemplary punishment' to block the work of other human rights organisations. The 'Law Against Hate' has been one of the legal instruments used for these prosecutions.

The report was drafted by an independent COI expert, James Restrepo, in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology. The report draws on information from 14 oral sources interviewed for this report, apart from a large variety of publicly available sources. It was reviewed by experts from: Canada - Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) of Canada, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC); Norway -Norwegian Country of Origin Information Centre, Landinfo; Switzerland - State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), Division Analysis (Länderanalyse SEM), and United States - Refugee Asylum and International Operations (RAIO), US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Venezuelan applications for international protection in the EU+ increased considerably since early 2019 and peaked between November 2019 and February 2020. In 2019, Venezuelans launched twice as many applications, over 45 000, as in 2018. In the first quarter of 2020, the number remained similar to the last quarter of 2019 (over 13 000) but already in late March applications began to decrease in the context of restrictive measures to halt the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Spain has remained the main destination country: in the period January 2019 – March 2020 about nine in 10 applications in the EU+ were lodged in Spain.

The report can be downloaded from the EASO COI portal.

 

[1] IGC participating states are: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.