Monday, 4 April 2016

EASO Expands Access to Country of Origin Information





EASO have recently announced that its COI Portal will now be made accessible to the general public. Rendering the Portal available for practitioners and civil society organisations allows for greater transparency within the field and specifically for the work of EASO and of MS as they process and decide on asylum applications. 

It seems that the Portal’s technology will be improved and updated: the Beta version aims to have a better search facility with a more interactive and easy to use page. It will be compatible with different sources and will cater for the use of different languages. It aims to also provide more English language abstracts for documents which are not in English, allowing more users to easily identify document content.

 

You can access the Portal here and you may also register. Registration should eventually lead to personal notifications related to your specific area of interest.

We welcome the news that the Portal will be open to practitioners and actors operating outside the MS context. Together with many colleagues active in providing legal support to asylum-seekers, we have often insisted with EASO that principles of natural justice, particularly the right to an effective remedy - enshrined in EU law - require applicants (and their legal representatives) to have access to those elements on which decisions in their regard are taken. This includes COI. It is only with such access can applicants understand and, where relevant, challenge the basis of their asylum decisions.

We also believe in the value of a transparent Portal that allows individuals or organisations to examine the content and accuracy of the information used by MS in assessing asylum applications.  

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