Asylum Research Centre (ARC), formerly Asylum Research Consultancy, was set up by Liz Williams and Stephanie Huber in 2010. In 2016 ARC Foundation was incorporated as a charitable incorporated organisation. Our aim is to raise standards in the production and use of COI and the refugee status determination process as a whole, to improve the realisation of asylum seekers’ and refugees’ rights and entitlements and to ensure that those in need of protection are recognised as such.
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Prison Conditions in Nigeria
Prison Conditions in Afghanistan
EASO Newsletters: Key COI-related points
- November 2019
The Home Office archives its Country Policy and Information Notes on Prison Conditions
ARC Foundation has been keeping track of the dwindling number of Home Office Country Policy and Information Notes (CPIN) on Prison Conditions. By summer 2019, there were only two in existence; Afghanistan, published in September 2015 and Nigeria, dated November 2016.
As they contained country information that was over three years old and both argued that prisons conditions were unlikely to violate the threshold of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, we researched whether the country information contained in these CPINs was reflective of the current situation in Afghanistan and Nigeria, as reflected by publicly available sources. David Neale, Legal Researcher at Garden Court Chambers, kindly drafted legal notes to accompany our research.
Our reports on Prison Conditions in Afghanistan (September 2019) and Prison Conditions in Nigeria (November 2019) present country information on issues of relevance as identified by UK and European Court of Human Rights case law, the UN Istanbul Protocol and the Nelson Mandela Rules.
During the course of our research, both CPINs were archived and removed from the Home Office’s website, meaning that no CPINs existed on Prison Conditions, until the recently published edition on Pakistan, dated November 2019.
In the absence of any Home Office guidance on prison conditions in Afghanistan or Nigeria, the reports are intended as a tool to assist legal practitioners and to help ensure that all relevant material is considered by decision-makers. We would hugely appreciate any comments and feedback as to how the reports have been used in refugee status determination processes, or beyond.
We are extremely grateful to Paul Hamlyn Foundation for its support of this project.
- September 2019
ARC Foundation and Garden Court Chambers have published a new report ‘Prison Conditions in Afghanistan: A commentary‘.
This report presents country information published between 1 January 2018 and 31 July 2019 on issues of relevance to an assessment of whether prison conditions violate the threshold of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The COI research is accompanied by legal notes.
In the absence of any Country Policy and Information Note on Afghanistan’s prison conditions, the commentary is intended as a tool to assist legal practitioners and to help ensure that all relevant material is considered by decision-makers.
- September 2019
ARC Foundation updated its Thematic COI Sources toolkit, which can be downloaded for free here.
- August 2019
Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust has awarded us 3 years of project funding to undertake a comparative analysis of the full content of ten of the 2016 U.S. Department of State’s annual human rights reports compared to subsequent editions produced by the current U.S. administration’s first term in office. Omissions and improvements in the human rights situations will be analysed with respect to whether they are reflective of the situation on the ground.
- May 2019
We are pleased to announce the publication of our PHF-funded report Albania: Trafficked Boys and Young Men, produced in collaboration with Asylos today.The critical need to prioritise country of origin information production on children and young people’s risk profiles has become increasingly apparent as lawyers are consistently raising concerns to us about the scarcity of available information in relation to child-specific persecution and harm acting as a barrier to proper consideration of young people’s protection claims.This is especially stark in the UK as Albanian children regularly form one of the top five largest groups of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, yet not one was granted asylum or humanitarian protection in 2018 despite Albania being the third-most prominent foreign country of origin for trafficked children identified in the UK in 2018.Our report combines relevant and timely publicly available material with new information generated by interviewing ten individuals with authoritative knowledge on the topic. It helps fill the gap in the COI literature and to contribute to a more transparent and informed debate about the topic.
UK Legal representatives using this report are advised to also read Garden Court Chambers paper analysing the reports’ main findings and providing practical guidance of how to apply them to your cases. The paper can be found here.
- January 2019
ARC Foundation is thrilled to have been awarded a three year grant by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to review country information published by the UK Home Office and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and to advocate for improvements in the quality of these products in order to raise refugee determination standards at the UK and European level.