How should European governments decide on whether an asylum seeker should be granted refugee status?

This complex question was tackled by the Dutch investigative radio programme, Argos.

Argos looked at the controversial country reports, which are used in asylum decisions.

Anonymous sources, used to write reports on Afghanistan and Eritrea, have a major  impact on the content of these important reports. Sometimes they determine whether asylum seekers will be forced to return to their countries of origin.

In 2017, The Netherlands produced a country report on Eritrea, which was criticised for its assessment of conditions in Eritrea, which was more positive than the 2016 report.

Relying on anonymous sources, the Dutch compilers of the country report claim that young men and women who desert from compulsory national service in the Eritrean military and subsequently to home, are treated better than they were in previous years.

Secondly, the same anonymous sources are used to cast doubt on the reports of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea.

The Netherlands is currently working on a new country report, which should be published in about a month.