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.

Accurate, reliable, relevant, current, objective, traceable and transparent Country of Origin Information (COI) is central to refugee status determination in order to inform decision makers about conditions in the countries of origin of asylum applicants and to assist them in establishing objective criteria as to whether an asylum claim is well founded.

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.

ARC Foundation is a member of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), the European Network on Statelessness and the European Asylum Support Office’s (EASO) Consultative Forum offering its expertise on COI-related issues, has endorsed Asylum Aid’s Women’s Asylum Charter, and is a SOGICA Project Friend.

Stephanie Huber

Founder and Director of ARC and ARC Foundation

Stephanie has provided research and advocacy on human rights and refugee issues since 2003. Prior to founding ARC she worked in a variety of roles for the Immigration Advisory Service, the European Council on Refugees and Exiles and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Warsaw. She also volunteered at Migrant Helpline, Student Action for Refugees and Anti-Slavery International.

Stephanie has provided administrative support to the Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA) and research, policy and training support to Freedom from Torture, the Hungarian Helsinki Foundation, the Independent Advisory Group on Country Information (IAGCI), the Still Human Still Here Coalition, the Solicitors Regulatory Authority/Legal Ombudsman/Unbound Philanthropy and UNHCR.

She holds an MA in the Theory and Practice of Human Rights from the University of Essex, a MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies and an BA (Hons) in Contemporary History with Social Sciences from the University of Sussex.

Liz Williams

Founder and former Director of ARC and ARC Foundation (Oct. 2010 – Feb. 2021). Trustee of ARC Foundation since March 2021.

For more information see the Trustees page.

Bogdan Ghenea

ARC Foundation Associate

Bogdan has 9 years of experience working as a researcher on migration/asylum and human rights issues. Before joining ARC he was a COI Researcher at the Romanian National Council for Refugees and was commissioned as a research consultant by the European Network against Racism (ENAR) and UNHCR on topics such as racism, discrimination, and employment.

Dastan Salehi

ARC Foundation Associate

Dastan works for the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), the world’s largest membership-based organisation working on the health-based rehabilitation of survivors of torture. He has worked extensively on advocating for the rights of survivors of torture during the reform of the Common European Asylum System as well as globally on the implementation of the right to rehabilitation. Dastan holds a BA (Hons) in International Relations and Politics from the University of Dundee and an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from the University of Oxford.

Lizzy Galliver

ARC Foundation Associate

Lizzy works in advocacy, policy, and social research in Beirut. She holds an MSc in the Politics of Conflict, Rights and Justice from SOAS, London. She has worked for a variety of NGOs and research institutes in the Middle East and Europe, mostly concerning refugee rights and displacement. Her interests lie in transitional justice, conflict analysis and human/refugee rights, particularly in the MENA region. She has worked with ARC as a Research Associate in COI since early 2019.  

Jo Pettitt

ARC Foundation Associate & Project Lead

With an academic and professional background in the social sciences (anthropology) and social work, Jo has fifteen years of experience of conducting and publishing applied research for non-government organisations in the human rights and refugee/asylum fields. At Freedom from Torture since 2010, Jo has researched and authored a number of reports, including on the treatment of expert medical evidence by asylum decision-makers in the UK, poverty as a barrier to rehabilitation for survivors of torture and on torture practices in the DRC, Sri Lanka and Iran. As Lead Researcher in the Policy and Advocacy Directorate she was closely involved in the development of research at the organisation and co-chaired the Research and Ethics Committee. Jo also worked closely with the Survivors Speak Out network over number of years to develop participatory approaches to the organisation’s research and advocacy programmes. In her most recent role at Freedom from Torture, as Head of Research and Survivor Activism in the Policy and Advocacy Directorate, she was responsible for providing oversight, leadership and guidance to research and survivor activism teams to ensure delivery of high impact programmes of strategic work.

Jo is currently a freelance research consultant and working with ARC Foundation as Project Lead for the strategic COI project on disability.

Natasha Tsangarides

ARC Foundation Associate

Natasha has spent the past 13 years working in the asylum and refugee sector. She has been commissioned to conduct policy, research and advocacy work on UK asylum issues. She has conducted research for and/or authored publications for Medical Justice, Women for Refugee Women, Amnesty, UNHCR, the Immigration Advisory Service, Freedom from Torture and others.

Natasha has three years’ experience managing projects across Europe working with vulnerable refugees and unaccompanied minors.

She holds an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development and an MA in Investigative Journalism.

Rachel Gasowski

ARC Foundation Associate

Rachel has over 18 years’ experience of working in the field of human rights. In the early 1990s, Rachel worked for the French humanitarian organization “EquiLibre” in Moscow, setting up a social support programme for refugees, before joining the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) as project coordinator for Eastern Europe. During her eleven years at ECRE, Rachel ran a capacity-building programme for refugee assisting NGOs in Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.  She worked for over five years at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International first as a Campaigner (Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan) and later as Researcher (Turkmenistan, Tajikistan). She has researched and written reports on a range of human rights issues including refugee rights, extradition and forcible returns, the death penalty, fundamental rights and torture and undertook related international advocacy and media work.

Since 2015, Rachel has also been a member of the Editorial Board at the International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) where she conducts research on human rights in Central Asia and the former Soviet Union.

Rachel holds a Russian degree from Bristol University and speaks fluent French and Russian.