Asylum Research Centre (ARC) released a comparative analysis of the USDOS human rights reports of the years 2016 to 2019.
The study looks for systematic changes between the last edition of the Obama administration and the following editions by the Trump administration by analysing the reports on 5 countries with a high number of asylum applications in Europe.
From the message by ARC:
"Asylum Research Centre (ARC) has just launched its Comparative Analysis of U.S Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (2016-2019).
These reports are issued annually and are relied upon to inform foreign aid, foreign policy and diplomatic engagements. In addition, they are used as a tool for human rights defenders and governments to highlight human rights abuses and to hold regimes to account. They are also widely relied upon in the asylum determination process.
The research compared the State Department’s assessment of the situation in Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Sudan in 2016, the last year of President Obama’s administration, with the subsequent reports produced by President Trump’s administration covering events in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Notable content changes identified were not consistent with the situation on the ground as documented by other sources and have the effect of downplaying the seriousness of the human rights situations in these countries. The principle changes related to women’s rights, civil and political rights, and issues relating to LGBTI persons.
ARC is concerned that this may result in certain types of asylum claims being dismissed if the U.S. Department of State reports are relied upon in isolation in refugee decision making.
On ARC’s website you can now access:
- Summary of Findings.
- Press release including responses to our report;
- Country chapters on Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Sudan;
- Introduction & Methodology.
The research findings were also picked up by The Guardian, Trump administration alters and downplays human rights abuses in reports, 21 October 2020." (ARC message, 21 October 2020)