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.
Join the COI FORUM A free online tool for COI researchers and users of COI working in refugee status determination.
Sudan: Report on Darfur
Prison Conditions in Nigeria
Prison Conditions in Afghanistan
- December 2019
Commentaries on EASO COI products
In collaboration with the Dutch Council for Refugees, ARC Foundation has published commentaries on two EASO products:
These mark our first commentaries on EASO products prepared under its new June 2019 COI Report Methodology.
Some of our comments therefore pertain more generally to the methodological approach in addition to the specific content of the two reports.
- December 2019
COI research webinar
In collaboration with Asylos, ARC Foundation trainers ran a full day webinar on COI research techniques. The workshop covered:
- Introduction to Country of Origin Information (COI): what is it, when can it be used and what are its limits.
- Quality criteria for researching, selecting and presenting COI.
- How to develop a COI research strategy. Common pitfalls and challenges in conducting COI research and how to address these.
- Source assessments, useful sources and practical COI research techniques and how to present COI to decision-makers
The workshop was delivered in partnership with Refugee Action’s Front Line Immigration Advice Project. Future sessions will be open to not-for-profit immigration advisers who are registered with Refugee Action.
To be kept up-to-date about future training opportunities, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- November 2019
ARC Foundation responds to the Home Office archiving of 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 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.