EASO publishes first country guidance on Afghanistan

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) has published its first country guidance, on Afghanistan. The country guidance represents the joint assessment of the situation in the country by senior-level policy officials from the EU member states. 

The 125 pages document is the result of a pilot process for the development of country guidance.

„This pilot process was completed successfully with the endorsement of the guidance note by the EASO Management Board during its 28th meeting in June 2018. In addition to providing guidance on one of the main countries of origin for applicants for international protection in the EU, this pilot served as a basis for consolidating the methodology for development of country guidance, and as a model for future notes.

An update of the country guidance on Afghanistan is expected in 2019.“ (EASO, no date)

On its website, EASO provides further information on country guidance:

"On 21 April 2016, the Council of the European Union agreed on the creation of a network of senior-level national policy officials, with the task to carry out a joint assessment and interpretation of the situation in main countries of origin. EASO was tasked with the coordination of this network [...]

Each document includes two parts: a guidance note and a common analysis.

The common analysis is the basis for the guidance notes. It defines the relevant aspects of the analysis in accordance with legislation, jurisprudence and horizontal guidance; it also provides summaries of country of origin information, based on EASO COI reports; and, building on these two elements, it assesses the situation in the respective country of origin. The guidance note outlines the conclusions of the common analysis in a succinct and practical manner.

The guidance note is to be read in conjunction with the more detailed common analysis. [...]

Country guidance is mainly for decision-makers and policy-makers in Member States’ asylum authorities. It aims to assist in the examination of applications for international protection by applicants from a particular country of origin. [...]

Member States are invited to take the common analysis and guidance note into account when examining applications for international protection from a particular country of origin. However, they are not binding on them.

Moreover, the common analysis and guidance notes do not release national asylum authorities of their obligation to individually, objectively and impartially examine each application for international protection. [...]

Is country guidance EASO’s position on a certain country of origin?

No, country guidance is essentially the product of Member States’ efforts to jointly assess the situation in a certain country of origin.

EASO coordinates and supports this process and ensures that the analysis takes into account the horizontal guidance EASO has produced.[...]

What is the difference between country guidance and country reports (country of origin information)? [...]

Country guidance is the assessment of the situation in a particular country of origin in accordance with the applicable EU legislation, relevant case law and EASO horizontal guidance. While the country guidance is based on COI, it is certainly not COI itself.

In a nutshell, COI is the factual basis on which country guidance provides common analysis and policy. The common analysis references the particular COI it is based on.

In the individual assessment, the decision-maker always needs to refer to the most relevant and up-to-date COI. [...]

Country guidance focuses solely on the question whether the applicant qualifies for international protection in accordance with the Qualification Directive and the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and does not provide guidance on the possibility of return.“ (EASO, no date)

Please see the EASO website on country guidance for more information on its development, background and scope.

The document is available at:

EASO – European Asylum Support Office: Country Guidance: Afghanistan; Guidance note and common analysis, June 2018

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