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.
ARC Foundation 2019 Annual Report
EASO Newsletters 2019: Key COI-related points
Report on Khartoum & Omdurman
Sudan: Report on Darfur
- May 2020
ARC Foundation and Asylos are currently scoping for suggestions for research topics on young people (up to 30 years old) for our next strategic COI report. We are interested in identifying what you think the most pressing COI gaps currently are for young UK asylum applicants and therefore which topics have the potential to benefit both a large number of these applicants and those most vulnerable to poor decision-making. For this round we are particularly keen to hear suggestions related to disability issues and the countries of origin these are most relevant for.
We would be extremely grateful if you could either fill out this short survey or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org listing up to three topics in order of preference by 1st June 2020. Please also indicate:
- Why this topic would benefit from further research e.g. point to patterns in Reason for Refusal Letters where profiles of applicants are being refused on the basis of a lack of COI, or a Home Office Country Policy and Information Note (CPIN) that relies on outdated or uncorroborated COI;
- How many people you think would benefit from the research.
Topics will be selected by the project review committee on the basis of greatest potential impact. We may choose topics for more than one report at a time.
- May 2020
We are pleased to announce the publication of the report Vietnam: Returned victims of trafficking: Issues affecting the likelihood of re-trafficking, produced jointly by Asylos and Asylum Research Centre (ARC) Foundation and kindly funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
Our report combines relevant and timely publicly available material with new information generated by interviewing six individuals with authoritative knowledge on the situation of returned victims of trafficking to Vietnam. We hope that the report will help fill the gap in the COI literature and thus to contribute to a more transparent and informed debate about the topic.
UK legal representatives using this report are advised to read it alongside this legal note by Legal Researcher David Neale of Garden Court Chambers. The note analyses our reports’ main findings and provides practical guidance to apply its findings to your case.
- May 2020
ARC Foundation is pleased to announce the publication of its 2019 Annual Report outlining the organisation’s main streams of work aiming to drive up standards in the quality and use of Country of Origin Information (COI) in the refugee status determination process.
- February 2020
COI research webinars
We are delighted to have been awarded funding with our project partner Asylos to deliver more COI research training sessions to OISC case workers, law centres and other beneficiaries in the UK.
The interactive COI research training course covers:
- 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
These webinars are currently open to not for profit immigration advisers who are registered with Refugee Action in partnership with their Front Line Immigration Advice Project.
Future free training webinars and face-to-face workshops are planned later in the year for a range of stakeholders supporting asylum seekers. For notification of future free COI trainings, join our mailing list. If you are UK based and you would like to discuss setting up an in-house training, email us at email@example.com.
- 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.
- 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.