Asylum Research Centre (ARC), formerly Asylum Research Consultancy, was set up by Liz Williams and Stephanie Huber in 2010. Between October 2016 and July 2022 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, ultimately ensuring that those in need of protection are recognised as such.
ARC undertakes research, advocacy and training to improve the quality of refugee status determination
- January 2023
ARC is pleased to announce the publication of its latest COI report. Commissioned by UNHCR this report looks at the situation in Burundi between May 2020 and November 2022 and focuses on the political, humanitarian and human rights situation, particularly for specific at risk profiles and vulnerable groups.
- October 2022
Commissioned by UNHCR this report looks at the situation in Zimbabwe between January 2020 and August 2022 and focuses on the political, humanitarian and human rights situation, particularly for specific at risk profiles and vulnerable groups.
- July 2022
ARC Foundation has just published its Annual Report 2021/2022 outlining its outputs and achievements since its inception in 2016. Following five intense, interesting, challenging and exciting years, ARC Foundation will officially close down this month. However, ARC, the consultancy, will continue so do get in touch if you are interested in collaborations or require assistance in research, training or project management. We would love to hear from you: email@example.com
- June 2022
ARC is pleased to announce the publication of its updated query response on Khartoum and Omdurman, covering the period January 2020 to April 2022. Commissioned by UNHCR, the report specifically looks at the situation and treatment of the following profile groups:
- Black Africans (incl. Darfuri and Nuba)
- Political activists
- (Perceived) political opposition/association with opposition groups, participating in demonstrations/protests, involvement in political groups incl. student unions
- Persons who have participated in protests
- Persons who have shown or are perceived to have shown opposition
- Human rights activists
- Health care workers
- Individuals of diverse sexual orientation or gender identity
The report also provides an overview of the political and security situation, as well as touches upon the issue of racism and hate speech in Sudan.
To complement the desk-based research and identified gaps in reporting on specific profiles, conversations were held with representatives of Waging Peace and an international organization based in Sudan. In addition, the transcription notes of a podcast deemed useful for the purpose of this report was also sought and included in this report: Asylum Speakers, Episode 37: What’s happening in Sudan? Everything you need to know and what you can do about it, with Waging Peace of 17th January 2022.
- January 2022
Announcement: ARC Foundation winding down and transferring key projects to Asylos
ARC Foundation’s Board of Trustees have agreed that ARC Foundation’s charitable purpose can best be realised if its cooperation with Asylos be increased. To this end Asylos will take forward key projects that have up to now been run by ARC Foundation or were jointly delivered by both organisations. Consequently, ARC Foundation will wind up its activities by March 2022 and dissolve as a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) by July 2022. To get in touch with Asylos’ new Programme Manager email Emily Wilbourn and Fatima Ali, and to find out more about the transfer visit here.
ARC will continue to operate as a consultancy, offering research, project management and training services. For further information contact Stephanie Huber.
- January 2022
ARC Foundation and the Dutch Council on Refugees (VluchtelingenWerk Nederland) are pleased to announce its Commentary on EASO COI Queries on the DRC, Iran and Iraq: LGBT persons.
The thematic review focused on three query responses produced by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO)/European Union Asylum Agency (EUAA) on the situation of LGBT persons in the DRC, Iran and Iraq.
The Commentary includes general observations on the methodology and specific recommendation on how these query responses focusing on LGBT persons may be improved, taking into consideration EASO’s recently published ‘Research Guide on the situation of LGBTIQ persons’. It also makes country-specific comments and proposes additional relevant COI, which may be of assistance to legal practitioners and decision-makers in respect of the treatment of LGBTQI+ persons in those three countries.
- December 2021
ARC Foundation has just published two commentaries, which identify main inconsistencies and omissions between the currently available COI on China (Muslims, incl. Uyghurs in Xinjiang) and Sri Lanka (Religious Minorities) and the conclusions reached in the respective Country Policy and Information Notes (CPINs) issued by the UK Home Office:
- A Commentary on the Country Policy and Information Note (CPIN) issued on China: Muslims (including Uyghurs in Xingjiang)
- A Commentary on the Country Policy and Information Note (CPIN) issued on Sri Lanka (Religious Minorities)
These commentaries are intended as a guide for legal representatives and decision-makers in respect of observed inconsistencies, gaps and omissions, as well as providing additional relevant COI on the issues identified.
- November 2021
In collaboration with Dr Christel Querton from the University of the West of England (UWE), ARC Foundation has published its latest commentary on the UK Home Office’s Country Policy and Information Notes (CPINs).
This commentary focuses on the use of quantitative assessments through the increased reliance on statistics and prevalence rates, or in the absence of COI, the reliance on general assessments that question the severity or extensiveness of human rights violations.
The commentary concludes with a number of recommendations, amongst others that “The assessment of protection needs should not be conducted predominantly through the use of quantitative data as it may obscure the impact of harm on individual applicants and the risks that arise from laws that systemically discriminate against particular sections of society”
The commentary can be accessed here.
- November 2021
ARC is pleased to announce the publication of its COI report on Ethiopia, which focuses on the situation in Tigray. The report covers:
- Background and parties to the conflict
- Security Situation in Tigray
- Overview of the human rights situation in Tigray, including extrajudicial killings, torture and ill-treatment, forced recruitment, sexual and gender-based violence, restrictions on freedom of expression and violence against journalists and media workers, destruction of civilian infrastructure etc.
- Humanitarian situation for the local population in Tigray, as well as IDPs fleeing Tigray
- September 2021
ARC Foundation updated the finding of its project Comparative Analysis of U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (2016-2020).
The research compared the U.S. Department of State’s reports of the human rights situation in Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Sudan in 2016, the last year of President Obama’s administration, which the subsequent reports produced by President Trump’s administration, covering events in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
As the findings from our previous review showed (published in October 2020), covering events in 2017, 2018 and 2019, notable content changes identified then persisted also in 2020 and continued to be inconsistent with the situation on the ground as documented by other sources. This has the effect of downplaying the seriousness of the human rights situation in these countries. The principle changes continued to relate to women’s rights, civil and political rights, and issues relating to LGBTI persons.
The Summary of ARC’s review, together with the five country chapters and the full Introduction and Methodology were first published as separate reports in October 2020 covering findings from reviewing the 2017, 2018 and 2019 U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices reports. An updated version of ARC’s reports incorporating findings from the review of the 2020 U.S. Department of State’s reports have now been published:
As common themes were observed across the years and across the reports in relation to how they addressed specific human rights violations and profiles of people, this year ARC also compiled a Thematic Review focusing on torture, women including their reproductive rights, children, persons with disabilities, LGBTI persons, and statelessness:
The reports covering ARC’s original findings covering events in 2017, 2018 and 2019, have been covered by The Guardian, Trump administration alters and downplays human rights abuses in reports, 21 October 2020 and Pink News, The Trump administration is covering up homophobic torture and persecution in ‘gold standard’ international human rights reports, 22 October 2020. Open Democracy published ARC Director Liz Williams’ piece Trump administration excludes key human rights issues from its reports.
- September 2021
ARC Foundation updated its Thematic COI Sources toolkit, which can be downloaded for free here.
COI Report on Burundi
COI Report on Zimbabwe
Commentary on EASO COI Queries on LGBT persons (DRC, Iran & Iraq)