Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) was set up by Liz Williams and Stephanie Huber in 2010 in order to raise standards in the refugee status determination (RSD) process, improve the realisation of asylum seekers’ and refugees’ rights and entitlements and to ensure that those in need of protection are recognised as such. It is staffed by human rights researchers and COI specialists.
Accurate, reliable and relevant Country of Origin Information (COI) is central to RSD 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. Whilst the Home Office has a dedicated Country of Origin Information Service, in the current legal aid climate, asylum seekers and their legal representatives may lack time and resources to research the political, legal, human rights and humanitarian situations that force people to flee their countries of origin and to seek international protection. ARC’s COI research services are designed to redress this imbalance. ARC provides country reports to support individual asylum claims for use in representations to the Home Office, the UK Immigration and Asylum Chambers and to international refugee decision making bodies.