Article on the use of COI in asylum assessments in Norway

An article in the International Migration Review discusses the use of COI in asylum decisions, especially regarding credibility assessments. 

The article's author, Tone Maia Liodden (Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research, Oslo Metropolitan University), metaphorically uses landmarks and maps to compare them to pieces of information in asylum decisions.

The abstract:

"When determining who should be accepted as a refugee, decision-makers use information about asylum-seekers’ home countries to assess the credibility of the claim and the risk of future persecution. As such, country information plays a decisive role in the outcome of asylum claims. Based on asylum case files and interviews with decision-makers in Norway, I investigate the use of country information in the refugee status determination process and compare the specific pieces of country information that decision-makers used in their assessments to landmarks on maps. Landmarks here are understood as decision-makers’ interpretations about places, customs, and political and social conditions in asylum-seekers’ home countries. To come across as credible, applicants had to demonstrate knowledge of landmarks familiar to decision-makers, but they also needed to present a story that testified to their personal experience with the landscape in their home countries. Minor deviations from the landmarks could undermine a claim’s credibility. The metaphor of the map as a seemingly objective representation of reality illustrates the authority of country information in the refugee status determination process. As I demonstrate, however, decision-makers based their knowledge of such landmarks not only on formal sources of information, but also on the narratives of other applicants, assumptions about rational behavior, and their own everyday experience with places. In line with the legal mandate to produce a binary decision, decision-makers had to consolidate uncertain information into solid landmarks that enabled them to clearly distinguish between refugees and non-refugees. Because of their important role in enabling such distinctions, landmarks are key in refugee protection on the one hand and migration control on the other."

The article can be read in full for free at:

Liodden, Tone Maia: The Map and the Territory: The Use of Country Information in Asylum Assessments, in: International Migration Review, 5 August 2021

(via Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog)

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