How to Research Country Conditions for Asylum Case
The following is a list of sources which could provide evidence of country conditions for your asylum case. Please note that country condition evidence is only one part of an asylum case. Asylum cases are complicated and should be handled by an experienced attorney. If you plan on seeking asylum in the U.S. you should contact an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible.
- State Department Human Rights Report – The asylum officer or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attorney has very little time to do their own country research for asylum claims. They will generally rely only on the State Department Human Rights Report. It will be regarded as highly persuasive and should be read thoroughly for supporting and contradicting evidence. The reports are updated each year and are available here www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt
- International Human Rights Organizations – There are several major international human rights organizations that issue country reports and issue specific reports. The following organizations should be surveyed for supporting evidence for your case, such as evidence that certain human rights abuses are occurring in your country. 1. Amnesty International www.amnesty.org and www.aiusa.org 2. Human Rights Watch www.hrw.org 3. Human Rights First www.humanrightsfirst.org 4. United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights www.ohchr.org . There may also be regional and local human rights organizations. They can usually be found by typing the search terms [“human rights”] and [“country name”].
- Issue Specific Research – Many of the human rights organizations will cover broad topics with the occasional issue-specific report. It is important to have information that addresses the issue that is at the heart of the asylum claim. One should search the issue term along with the country name, such as “gay rights” and “mexico” or “FGM” and “Yemen”. There are also many issue specific organizations that will have country specific information. Here are a few: International Gay and Lesbian Association www.ilga.org International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission www.iglhrc.org www.humantrafficking.org www.madre.org (Intl womens rights org.) www.ifj.org (International Federation of Journalists) http://www.jdhr.org/ (Journalists for Democracy and Human Rights) www.transparency.org (Transparency International – Corruption) www.freedomhouse.org
- Newspapers and Media – Supporting evidence can also be found in newspaper articles, whether they are about a general topic or one event specific to your case. You should be looking at the websites of all the newspapers in your country as well as the major international newspapers such as the New York Times (www.nytimes.com) and the BBC www.bbc.co.uk.
- Google – Google is an amazing tool. It will help you find anything. One trick is to use several different ways of saying the same search term. Don’t just type in “police abuse” and “Iran”, also type in ” police” and “human rights” and “Iran”. Also try “Tehran” and “police” and “corruption”. Try “police” and “middle east” etc…
- Amazon.com and Books – Finally, search amazon.com for a book on your country or your specific issue. When you find the book, look for the author’s name and do a Google search of him or her. You may be able to find their own website. Books on countries and politics are usually written by academics or journalists, so they may have their own bio up with an email. Don’t hesitate to email them and ask for any help. They may be able to write an affidavit attesting to their knowledge of the human rights abuses that occur in your country.