Refugee Action, Clifford Chance, the Asylum Research Centre (ARC) Foundation and Asylos are working together to increase understanding of and access to Country of Origin Information (COI) reports.
It is great working so closely with Clifford Chance for their country information reports, because we can tailor a report to the individual client. When a client gives us information about what has happened to them, we can use some bits of that information and ask for Clifford Chance to research it for us.
For example, they traced a general who had been working for the government in Ivory Coast and found a lot of evidence to show that he was rounding up suspected opposition members and killing them. This corroborated what our client [seeking asylum from Ivory Coast] had told the Home Office. This same report was then also used to corroborate what another client had told the Home Office about what had happened to him. It was used in his appeal which he won.
We have asked Clifford Chance to look for clients by name when they have been prominent political party members and the Home Office has not believed them. This was also submitted at appeal and won.
The quality of the research is always really comprehensive, thorough and useful. It is really helpful to be able to tailor a piece of research to an individual client, because that helps to prove that the client has been telling the truth about what has happened to them.
Clifford Chance have also made a number of general topic guides for us based on gender issues or religion in various countries, again these are really comprehensive, and can also be used alongside the individual research to corroborate what a client has told the Home Office.