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).

29 April 2019

Afghanistan in Focus

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) Report entitled 'Afghanistan Key socio-economic indicators. Focus on Kabul City, Mazar-e Sharif and Herat City'. In 2018, Afghanistan ranked second in the top countries of origin in EU+ countries, with 45 300 applicants.

The report is an update of a similar EASO COI report published in 2017. It provides a general description of the socio-economic situation in Afghanistan, for the country as a whole, and where available for the three cities – Kabul, Mazar-e Sharif and Herat – separately covering the following topics: economic growth; employment; poverty; food security; access to education; health care; housing. Travel into these three cities has been also researched by looking into travel restrictions or requirements in Afghanistan and ways of travelling by domestic air traffic. Additional attention is paid to specific groups such as IDPs, returnees, women and children.

The report was co-drafted by COI researchers from the national asylum authorities of Finland and Romania in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology. The report was reviewed by COI researchers from Denmark, Luxemburg and the Netherlands, EASO, and UNHCR. In addition, a review of the report was carried out by Fabrizio Foschini, analyst from the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

The terms of reference of this report were defined by EASO based information needs identified by asylum policy experts in EU+ countries and UNHCR. 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/EASO_COI_Afghanistan_KSEI_April_2019.pdf

14 March 2019

EASO publishes a COI report: Iraq – Security situation and information on civilians killed in Iraq in 2017-2018 (by Iraq Body Count)

​The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) Report titled Iraq: Security situation. This report is part of a series of Iraq reports produced in 2018-2019. These reports cover actors of protection, internal mobility, key socio-economic indicators, and targeting of individuals. The reports provide information relevant for international protection status determination for Iraqi asylum seekers and will be used in the development of a country guidance note on Iraq.

Despite a decrease in asylum applications lodged by Iraqi nationals in EU+ countries in 2018, Iraq was the third most common country of origin with more than 42,000 applicants. In January 2019, Iraqi nationals remained the third largest group of applicants in EU+ countries after Syrian and Afghan nationals. At the end of January 2019, about 26,000 cases awaited a first-instance decision.

The report, EASO COI Report: Iraq – Security situation provides a general overview of the security situation in Iraq, covering the following topics: a general background of recent conflicts in Iraq; the current political situation; information on the main armed actors and their territorial presence and role; an overview of recent security trends; the impact of the violence on the civilian population; and the impact of the violence on the state ability to secure law and order.

The second part of the report provides a governorate-level description of the security situation. Each governorate chapter includes a map, brief description of the governorate, background conflict dynamics and armed actors present in the area, followed by a description of security trends in 2018, and the impact of the violence on the population.

The report was drafted by Country of Origin Information (COI) specialists on Iraq from Belgium, France, and Sweden, together with EASO COI sector, in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology, and was reviewed by COI experts from the Norway (Landinfo), Austria, and Greece. Additionally, an external expert review was carried out by ACCORD, and also by Dr. Fanar Haddad, a Senior Research Fellow at the Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore who specialises in sectarian issues and politics in Iraq.

In addition to the security situation report, EASO published a country of origin information document produced by Iraq Body Count (IBC), which provides data and trends with regard to civilian deaths during the conflict in 2017-2018: Iraq Body Count Data and Analysis on Civilians Killed in Iraq, 2012, 2017-2018.

Additional information to complement this report can be found in the following EASO reports:

You can download the report at: https://coi.easo.europa.eu/administration/easo/PLib/Iraq_security_situation.pdf

07 March 2019

EASO publishes a COI report: Iraq – Targeting of individuals

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) Report titled Iraq: Targeting of individuals. This report is part of a series of Iraq reports produced in 2018-2019. These reports cover actors of protection, internal mobility, and targeting of individuals. A security situation report will also be published in March 2019. The reports provide information relevant for international protection status determination for Iraqi asylum seekers and will be used in the development of a country guidance note on Iraq.

Despite a decrease in asylum applications lodged by Iraqi nationals in EU+ countries in 2018, Iraq was the third most common country of origin with more than 42,000 applicants. In January 2019, Iraqi nationals remained the third largest group of applicants in EU+ countries after Syrian and Afghan nationals. At the end of January 2019, about 26,000 cases awaited a first-instance decision.

The EASO COI report, Iraq – Targeting of individuals, aims to provide information on topics related to the targeting of individuals by armed actors in Iraq, as well as by sectors of society. The report deals with the modus operandi, methods and targeting strategies used by armed actors, both on the side of the insurgents as on the side of state armed actors and affiliated armed groups, in the context of the conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Society-based targeting on issues such as transgression of social norms, gender, crime, or on the basis of particular identities, is also discussed in a separate chapter.

The report was drafted by COI researchers from Cedoca, the Belgian COI unit in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology. The report was reviewed by EASO and COI researchers from national asylum authorities represented in EASO's Iraq COI Network: The Netherlands - Office for Country Information and Language Analysis, Ministry of Justice and Denmark - Danish Immigration Service.

Additional information to complement this report can be found in the following EASO COI reports:

You can download the report at

https://coi.easo.europa.eu/administration/easo/PLib/Iraq_targeting_of_individuals.pdf

19 February 2019

Lifos report: Afghans in Iran

The Islamic Republic of Iran has for decades been a host country for an Afghan refugee population. Today, Iran is hosting approximately 950 000 Afghan refugees with assistance from UNHCR. These refugees are holders of amayesh-cards, granting them legal residency and basic social services in Iran. In addition to this registered group, there is a significant number of Afghan citizens residing and working illegally in the country. Furthermore, there are also around 620 000 Afghan citizens in Iran holding temporary permits, like work or student visas, for their stay in the country.

The main focus of the Iranian government has for many years been the voluntary return of the registered Afghans, but in recent years there has been a shift in their practical stance. There have been new progressive developments for the Afghan population living in Iran enabling them to become better prepared for future repatriation as well as better equipped for contribution to the Iranian society while living there.

This practical shift has partly been brought about by realities on the ground in Afghanistan as the precarious security situation there means that there is currently no sustainable return for all the Afghans from Iran. The positive developments for Afghans in Iran does not only include the amayeshregistered population but also Afghans residing illegally in the country. Since an educational decree was issued by the Supreme Leader in Iran in 2015 all Afghan children in the country have the right to free basic education. Furthermore, in 2017 the government initiated a headcount exercise that by mid-September had covered around 800 000 illegal residents in the country, most of them Afghans. Participating in the headcount implies the possibility of being protected from deportation for the time being. No one knows the end state yet of this headcount exercise, but it may eventually open up for the headcounted to get their stay in Iran regularized through temporary visas, as was the case with a previous programme launched in 2010 called the Comprehensive Regularization Plan.

Even though there have been progressive developments for Afghans in Iran during recent years, there are still plenty of hardships faced by many of the Afghans living in the country. Afghans are still subjected to a number of restrictions in areas like work, higher education, ownership of property and freedom of movement. It also remains a fact, that in spite of the headcount and other positive developments for the unregistered Afghans, a huge number of Afghans are still being deported from Iran every year.

These hardships faced by Afghans in Iran as well as the uncertainty regarding the future both in Iran and in the homeland still generates secondary movements of Afghans towards Europe, especially among the least integrated Afghans in Iran, although the number has decreased since the great migration wave in 2015.

The report is in Swedish and can be downloaded at https://coi.easo.europa.eu/administration/sweden/PLib/190218201.pdf

05 February 2019

EASO publishes two COI reports on Iraq: Key socio-economic indicators (Baghdad, Basrah, Erbil) and Internal mobility

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published two Country of Origin Information (COI) Reports on Iraq. One report is titled Key socio-economic indicators (Baghdad, Basrah, Erbil), and the second one Internal Mobility. These reports are part of a series of Iraq reports produced in 2018-2019. They cover actors of protection, key socio-economic indicators in Baghdad, Basrah, and Erbil, and targeting of individuals. A security situation report will also be published in early 2019. The reports provide information relevant for international protection status determination for Iraqi asylum seekers, and will be used in the development of a country guidance note on Iraq.

Both reports, EASO COI Report: Iraq – Internal mobility and EASO COI Report – Iraq: Key socio-economic indicators, should be read in conjunction with each other.

In 2017Iraq ranked second among the most common countries of origin with more than 52 500 persons applying for international protection in the EU+ countries. In 2018, fewer asylum applications were lodged by Iraqi nationals in EU+ countries. Despite this decrease, Iraq was the third most common country of origin of applicants in the EU+, with close to 42 000 applicants recorded from January to October 2018. At the end of October 2018, around 26 000 cases awaited a first-instance decision.

The EASO COI Report: Iraq – Internal mobility aims to provide information on legal and practical aspects of mobility in Iraq. The report was drafted by the EASO COI Sector in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology, and was reviewed by the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board and the Hungarian Immigration and Asylum Office’s Centre for Documentation. In addition, the report was reviewed by the external expert Dr Geraldine Chatelard, social anthropologist and historian of contemporary Middle Eastern studies.

The EASO COI report: Iraq – Key socio-economic indicators aims to provide information on key socio-economic indicators in Iraq focusing on Basrah, Erbil, and Baghdad, and highlighting aspects of the situation of IDPs in those areas, as well as women and children. 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, access to education, access to support and assistance, and the role of support networks. The report was co-drafted by the Migration Office of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic (Department of Documentation and Foreign Cooperation) together with the EASO COI Sector in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology. It was also reviewed by the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, the Hungarian Immigration and Asylum Office’s Centre for Documentation, and Dr Geraldine Chatelard.