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Country of origin information service


This section describes the work of the UK Border Agency's country of origin information (COI) service, and contains all its products published since January 2011.

COI service material published between 2006 and 2010 can be accessed on the UK government web archive.

The COI service is a team of specialist researchers who research and collate information on countries giving rise to asylum claims in the UK. Their accurate, balanced, relevant and up-to-date information on asylum seekers' countries of origin is used by our officials at all stages of the asylum determination process.

COI service products focus on human rights issues and matters frequently raised in asylum and human rights claims. They are compiled from material produced by a wide range of external information sources such as the United Nations agencies, human rights organisations, government and non-governmental organisations, and news media. All COI service products are based on published or unclassified source material. They do not contain any UK Border Agency opinion or policy.

The COI service produces 3 main products:

  • COI reports are compilations of extracts from a wide range of external sources. Each report focuses on the main asylum and human rights issues in a particular country, and provides background information on geography, economy and history. COI reports are produced on the 20 countries generating the most asylum applications in the UK, and are updated regularly.
  • COI bulletins and updates are occasionally issued when it is necessary to provide information at short notice in response to emerging events, or in relation to a country for which a COI report is not produced.
  • COI fact-finding mission reports are produced following fact-finding missions to countries of origin to obtain information not available from existing sources.

Useful sources is a list of general sources which provide COI on a range of countries and human rights issues. The useful souces PDF can be found on the right hand side of this page.

Additionally, UK Border Agency officials have access to an information request service for specific enquiries. Responses to these requests are not routinely published but can be made available on request.

COI service products published since 2006 are also available on Refworld, the database website of the United National High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and ecoi.net, a COI database managed by the Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation (ACCORD).

Our COI material is subject to review by the Independent Advisory Group on Country Information (IAGCI), which makes recommendations to the Independent Chief Inspector of UK Border Agency. Information about the IAGCI and its reviews of the COI service's products are on the Chief Inspector's website.

We are always keen to improve our service, and welcome any suggestions that may help us to do so. If you have any comments on COI service and its products, please email COIS@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.

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