Anthropological evidence and Country of Origin Information in British asylum courts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract

In common law countries, Country of Origin Information (COI) is crucial to most legal findings regarding the plausibility and credibility of asylum applicants’ narratives of persecution, and hence is central to assessing whether an applicant would have a well-founded fear of persecution if returned to their country of origin. COI comes from various sources: Country Reports from governments, multinational agencies and human rights NGOs; printed and electronic news media; and evidence from ‘country expert’ witnesses such as anthropologists, political scientists and human geographers.
The chapter then describes three fact-finding visits to Sri Lanka, undertaken by the author together with a British immigration lawyer, to gather up-to-date information on the human rights situation at different stages in the ethnic conflict. It explains how these field visits helped shed light on some important issues arising in Sri Lankan Tamil asylum claims, such as the effectiveness of the national Human Rights Commission, and the implementation of Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act. It concludes by commenting on how such evidence, and the evidence of country experts more generally, is received and evaluated by Immigration Judges.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdjudicating Refugee and Asylum Status
Subtitle of host publicationThe Role of Witness, Expertise and Testimony
EditorsBenjamin N. Lawrance, Galya Ruffer
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages122-144
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)9781107069060
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

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