EASO Afghanistan Conference

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Afghans continue to constitute one of the most significant caseloads of asylum seekers in the European Union, and consequently have a considerable impact on the asylum procedures in many Member States. Last year alone (2011) Afghan asylum seekers represented 9% of the caseload of asylum seekers in the EU. This is widely reflected in the focus on Afghanistan in the production and use of Country of Origin Information (COI) in all its aspects. But the impact of the Afghan caseload goes far beyond the COI scope; it also touches upon policies and practices. This year, EASO published its first COI report on Afghanistan and the COI methodology. Moreover, EASO is currently in the process of drafting its second report on the same country. In this context, on 8 and 9 November 2012 EASO organised a conference on Afghanistan: Country of Origin Information and Beyond. The conference featured presentations by key experts on Afghanistan, break out sessions on a wide range of topics such as the application of Article 15 (c) of the Qualification Directive, Internal Flight Alternative, Fact Finding Missions in Afghanistan, Child specific COI, COI and Early Warning and Preparedness System, as well as discussions on how to keep on developing methodologies and tools to refine the involvement of all those concerned by the Afghan caseload. Besides Member States' experts, the conference was also attended by judges, academics and NGOs specialising on Afghanistan.