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4.12.3. The focus of COI content

COI units continued to focus on the most common countries of origin of asylum applicants in Europe, namely Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and Iraq.European Union Agency for Asylum. (October 2022). Latest Asylum Trends: Countries of origin. In addition, geopolitical instability in 2022 led COI units to research new countries of origin of asylum applicants. For instance, Burundi was a new country of interest for Slovenia and Switzerland.

Examples of reports released in 2022 by COI national teams and by UNHCR:

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COI teams closely followed the evolving security situation in Türkiye and Ethiopia, in particular in the Tigray region. They also collected information on Angola, Jordan, Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan. For instance, Sweden released new COI reports on Tigrayans and their situation outside of Tigray,Swedish Migration Agency | Migrationsverket. (2022, September 1). Landinformation: Etiopien. Tigreaner och deras situation utanför Tigray [Country information: Ethiopia. Tigreans and their situation outside Tigray ]. Dokument - Lifos extern ( Sudan,Swedish Migration Agency | Migrationsverket. (2022, June 21). Sudan.…  and South Sudan and the area of Abyei.Swedish Migration Agency | Migrationsverket. (2022, August 24). Sudan, Sydsudan och särskilt om området Abyei [Sudan, South Sudan and in particular the Abyei region].

EU+ countries followed the situation in Latin America, especially in Chile, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela. For example, Sweden published a report on Chile in April 2022.Swedish Migration Agency | Migrationsverket. (2022, April 29) Chile Underlag till bedömning av säkra ursprungländer [Chile. Basis for the assessment of safe countries of origin]. India and Pakistan were also highlighted in various national COI publications.

Some COI units relied on desk research, while others, for example France and Norway, organised fact-finding missions. Many countries, however, faced challenges in accessing specific countries due to fewer flights. There was also a lack of experts to interview in Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, Syria and Ukraine. Croatia reported difficulties in verifying specific information with sources in certain countries.

Box 8. COI on Russia and Ukraine

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Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, COI units received many requests for information on the security situation in Ukraine and Russia. In response, the EUAA, national administrations and civil society organisations published daily information, articles, fact sheets and analytical reports on these two countries.

The EUAA published a report on Medical Country of Origin Information (MedCOI):European Union Agency for Asylum. (2022, April 21). Medical Country of Origin Information Report : Nigeria.… Russia  in September 2022, and two COI reports on military serviceEuropean Union Agency for Asylum. (2022, December 16). The Russian Federation - Military service: Country of Origin Information.… and political oppositionEuropean Union Agency for Asylum. (2022, December 16). The Russian Federation - Political opposition: Country of Origin Information.… in December 2022. These reports helped national case officers in individually assessing applications for international protection lodged by Russian nationals. 

The COI unit in Norway published a report on military service and mobilisation in RussiaNorwegian Country of Origin Information Centre (Landinfo) | Utlendingsforvaltningens fagenhet for landinformasjon (Landinfo). (2022, November 22). Russland Militærtjeneste og mobilisering [Russia Military service and mobilisation].…  and the COI team in Sweden published different types of Ukrainian residence permits.Swedish Migration Agency | Migrationsverket. (2022, March 30). Ukraina: Olika typer av ukrainska uppehållstillstånd [Ukraine. Different types of Ukrainian residence permits]. Landinformation: Ukraina. Olika typer av ukrainska uppehållstillstånd (version 2.0) - Lifos extern ( Romanian National Council for Refugees released a report on the human rights situation in Russia.Romanian National Council for Refugees. (March 2022). General report Russian Federation: Human rights situation. Country of Origin Information. The COI team in France produced a weekly watch on military mobilisation in Russia, and regular, management-level reporting in Germany focused on recent developments in Ukraine.

It became evident that the situation in Russia and Ukraine became a main area of focus at the expense of other geographical regions. Norway noted that unsettled situations in several countries will generate a need for information, such as projections of future outcomes, that may be difficult to meet.


Civil society organisations play a key role in producing COI from the ground. Their annual reports often contribute to a better understanding of the situation in countries of origin. For instance, the World Report 2023 by Human Rights Watch summarised human rights conditions in over 100 countries worldwide in 2022.Human Rights Watch et al. (2023, January 12). World Report 2023. Amnesty International also publishes a yearly report on the state of the world’s human rights. In 2022, COI publications from civil society organisations also focused on the situation of LGBTIQ individuals in their country of origin, for example the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)’s annual report on the human rights situation of LGBTIQ people.

The ACCORD department of the Austrian Red Cross manages a COI system,, with information on political, humanitarian and human rights topics in countries of origin. As in previous years, in 2022 they continued with a query service for asylum lawyers, refugee counsels and officers deciding on claims for asylum.Austrian Red Cross. (2022). - Our publications.  The organisation also publishes reports, which in 2022 focused on Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan and Russia. They also produce Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (ACLED) overviews, which highlighted Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. Regular country briefings were also published on Afghanistan and Iran.

Asylos, an NGO working on increasing the accessibility and importance of high-quality COI in the asylum procedure, started quarterly informal meetings in June 2022 with COI experts from civil society organisations. The aim is to exchange information on best practices, challenges and new publications, conduct peer reviews and explore opportunities for collaboration. The group also offers commentaries on COI produced by governmental and intergovernmental COI units, as well as by the EUAA. In line with its overall mission, Asylos implemented a project which addressed gaps in COI on stateless people and produced a COI report on stateless Palestinians. Under the initiative “Emergency COI Repositories”, Asylos created repositories for Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Türkiye and Ukraine.Asylos. (2023). Input to the Asylum Report 2023.

Civil society organisations continued to produce material on the Middle East region, in particular on Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Asylos and Clifford Chance published monthly COI on Afghanistan.Asylos, & Clifford Chance. (2022, October 31). Afghanistan: COI Repository 1sept 2021-31 Oct 2022.… The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) analysed the situation of vulnerable groups since the transition of power in Afghanistan.Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU). (November 2022). Vulnerability in Afghanistan before and during the shift in power. The Norwegian Refugee Council issued a report on the impact of housing, land and property rights on returns to Sinjar in Iraq,Norwegian Refugee Council. (May 2022). “Your house is your homeland” How Housing, Land, and Property Rights Impact Returns to Sinjar, Iraq.… and the International Crisis Group (ICG) published a paper on governance and security in the Sinjar district.International Crisis Group. (2022, May 31). Iraq: Stabilising the Contested District of Sinjar: Middle East Report N°235.

Many COI reports by civil society organisations also concentrated on the African continent in 2022. The Romanian National Council for Refugees (CNRR) depicted the human rights situation in Cameroon.Romanian National Council for Refugees. (February 2022). General Report Cameroon Human Rights Situation: Updated February 2022. Political participation, rule of law, the stability of democratic institutions and other fundamental rights in Sierra Leone were discussed in a Bertelsmann Stiftung publication. Bertelsmann Stiftung. (2022, February 23). BTI 2022 Country Report - Sierra Leone. The International Crisis Group continued its ongoing field research in Sudan and the Tigray region in Ethiopia and published analytical reports and briefings on the political, security and human rights situation, such as security-related developments in the Tigray conflict.International Crisis Group. (2022, October 20). A Call to Action: Averting Atrocities in Ethiopia’s Tigray War.

For the Asian region, reports were published by civil society organisations on Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. For example, in May 2022 Amnesty International published a report on the impact of the economic crisis on the Sri Lanka’s population and on their social rights).Amnesty International. (May 2022). FROM BAD TO WORSE: From bad to worse : rights under attack during Sri Lanka's during Sri Lanka's economic crisis. In addition, Equal Ground and the Centre for International Human Rights of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law submitted a report on the Violations by Sri Lanka of the Civil and Political Rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning/Queer (LGBTIQ) at the 135th Session of the Human Rights Committee.Equal Ground, & Center for International Human Rights (CIHR) of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. (May 2022). Violations by Sri Lanka of the Civil and Political Rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning/Queer (LGBTIQ) Community.…

A challenge that seems to persist, as highlighted by civil society organisations, relates to the lack of accessibility and user-friendliness of COI databases and the lack of multilinguistic information, as COI material is mostly available in English. In addition, there seems to be an imbalance between countries of origin for which a high number of COI reports are available and countries for which no or limited information exists.Convive-Fundación Cepaim (2023). Input to the Asylum Report 2023.… To mitigate this, UNHCR continued sharing monthly COI bulletins in Spain.United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (2023). ACNUR Boletín COI [UNHCR COI Bulletin].…§or=&date_from=&date_to=&uploader=&country_json=%7B%220%22:%22729%22%7D§or_json=%7B%220%22:%22%22%7D&apply=&so

There also seems to be a lack of data on intersex applicants and their situation in countries of origin.Organisation Intersex International Europe. (2023). Input to the Asylum Report 2023.… Concerns were raised by an NGO about whether authorities regularly use accurate and up-to-date COI in the assessment of asylum applications,AIDA Greece. (2023). Country Report: Greece - 2022 Update. Edited by ECRE. Written by the Greek Council for Refugees. (link to be inserted once published). Now available at:… and it alerted about the possibility of bias in the use of COI by authorities.Organisation for Aid to Refugees (OPU). (2023). Input to the Asylum Report 2023.… In addition, civil society organisations noted that applicants may be at times poorly informed about the importance of COI in the assessment of their application and about their right to suggest further documents to support their application.Organisation for Aid to Refugees (OPU). (2023). Input to the Asylum Report 2023.…

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Box 9. COI reports by the EUAA in 2022