Rights in Exile Programme

Refugee Legal Aid Information for Lawyers Representing Refugees Globally

Afghanistan - COI

Click here to see the host countries of refugees originating from Afghanistan.

Dr Aziz Barez 

Email: aziz [dot] barezatgmail [dot] com

Dr Aziz Barez has worked for ten years with the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs on identification, passports, marriage certificates and other legal documents. He has a PhD in Afghan constitutional law from the National University of Tajikistan. He is happy to provide expert reports on legal documents from Afghanistan. He speaks Persian (Dari, Tajiki), Pashtu and some Arabic.  

Dr Pierre Fallavier 

Email: pierre [dot] fallavierathushmail [dot] com

Dr Fallavier previously directed Afghanistan’s leading policy-oriented research institution, the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU). He is a social scientist and planner with fifteen years experience working on project, policy and research, focusing on extremely vulnerable populations in Asia and Africa. He specializes on community-based development and social protection, and mechanisms to reach excluded groups, including people trafficked, illegal migrants, and informal populations. He is able to discuss providing background information either on work of the AREU, or more generically on research done on Afghanistan for the last decade.

Dr Rebwar Fatah

Email: rebwaratmideastconsultancy [dot] com or infoatmideastconsultancy [dot] com

Dr Rebwar Fatah is the founder and Managing Director of MECS. He has extensive knowledge of the Middle East and North Africa, and of Western involvement in that region. Dr Fatah has been working as a Middle East expert since 2000, and has produced hundreds of reports for court purposes. Dr Fatah's reports have been cited in over two thousand immigration appeals, as well as family and criminal cases in which his expertise has been accepted. A number of media outlets and professional bodies also rely on his opinion, as well as IOM, UNHCR, and national government bodies.Dr Fatah’s commercial and financial knowledge of the Middle East and the western market, coupled with his deep knowledge of technology and its implementation makes him unique in his field. He regularly visits the Middle East conducting fact-finding missions to ensure that his knowledge is up to date and based on reliable information. Dr Fatah speaks most of the Middle Eastern languages as well as their various dialects. Dr Fatah’s Country Expert Reports cover a wide range of issues, including general security (examining the actions of state and non-state actors) and sufficiency of protection, crimes of honour, healthcare, corruption, employment markets, and at-risk groups of different sexual, religious, political and cultural profiles.

Tim Foxley

Email: timfoxleyataol [dot] com

 Tim Foxley is an independent political and military analyst, who has been studying Afghanistan since 2001.   He was a UK government political and military analyst on Afghanistan for both the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office.  He was awarded an MBE for his Afghanistan work in 2005.  In 2006 and 2011 he worked as a senior analyst in the ISAF headquarters in Kabul.  He worked for four years at the world-acclaimed international think-tank, SIPRI, in Stockholm as their Afghanistan and regional specialist.   He has considerable experience in producing research to assist Afghan refugees, having now delivered over 300 expert reports for a range of Afghan clients in the UK.  He has excellent impartial research, analysis and communication skills.

Claudio Franco

Email: c [dot] francoatmac [dot] com

Claudio Franco worked in Pakistan and Afghanistan as a journalist between 1999 and 2007 for a variety of international publications. In 2007, he set up a consultancy firm with offices in London, Kabul and Peshawar and has since focused on in-depth research and ad-hoc consultancy work for institutional clients, think-tanks and academic clients serving as consultant on terrorism in these regions for ABC Television. He also collaborated with Jane’s-IHS, an online resource for information on defense and security, the Hudson Institute, Integrity Watch, GIZ, USIP and the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN). In 2006, Mr. Franco produced a documentary for the BBC focused on radical Islamism in the UK. His main interests include radical Islamism, international migration flows and security in areas affected by low-intensity conflicts.

Dr Antonio Giustozzi

Email: Antonio [dot] giustozziatgmail [dot] com

Antonio Giustozzi has been working on Afghanistan since the 1990s and has extensively published on Afghan security issues, politics and state-building. After serving with UNAMA in 2033-4, he ran the Afghan component of the Crisis States Research Centre project at LSE in 2004-11. He has studied Afghanistan's army and police in detail, as well as the country's warlords and insurgents. He is currently running an extensive project on the Taliban as an insurgent movement for KCL. Dr Giustozzi will not always be able to work pro bono.

Ms Nassim Majidi

Email: nassim [dot] majidiatgmail [dot] com

Ms Nassim Majidi has been working on migration issues since 2007 as a consultant based in Kabul, managing field research throughout Afghanistan for UNHCR, IOM, NRC, DFID and the World Bank. Her reports have included analysis and policy recommendations on a range of migration topics: refugee return, internal displacement, cross-border migration, irregular migration and child migration. She is fluent in English, French, and Farsi. Ms. Majidi is willing to discuss the possibility of helping legal advisors with with cases requiring COI information on Afganistan.

Dr Alessandro Monsutti

Email: alessandro [dot] monsuttiatgraduateinstitute [dot] ch

Alessandro Monsutti is Associate Professor of Development Studies at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. He has conducted multi-sited research since the mid-1990s in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and in Western countries to study the modes of solidarity and cooperation mobilised in a situation of conflict and forced migration. He has written several books and articles, several of which cover topics relevant to Afghan migration. Dr Monsutti has provided country of origin information for Afghans seeking asylum in Europe, Australia and North America. He is willing enter into discussion with refugee legal aid providers to produce information and analysis on the situation in Afghanistan and the reasons for Afghans to seek refuge abroad.

Dr Zuzanna Olszewska

Email: zuzanna [dot] olszewskaatanthro [dot] ox [dot] ac [dot] uk

Dr Zuzanna Olszewska is a lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford. She holds a master’s degree in Forced Migration and a doctorate in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford. She specialises in the ethnography of Iran and Afghanistan and has been engaged for over a decade with the Afghan refugee community in Iran, upon which her doctoral research was based. She is the author of numerous articles in scholarly and popular journals and websites, as well as a forthcoming book, on the precarious situation of this population. She is particularly interested in providing COI for the asylum applications of Afghans previously resident in Iran as well as for the groups on which she has the most expertise, Dari-speaking and Shi‘a Afghans, particularly Hazaras, from Afghanistan. She speaks fluent English, Polish and Persian/Dari, and some French.  

Dr Liza Schuster

Email: L [dot] Schusteratcity [dot] ac [dot] uk

Liza Schuster is a Reader in the Department of Sociology, City University London and has been employed as a researcher at both the University of Oxford, and the London School of Economics. From September 2013 to August 2015, she is a guest researcher and lecturer at the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University (ACKU), Kabul, Afghanistan. She has published extensively on asylum, refuge and migration. She has served as an expert witness in numerous asylum cases for refugees from Afghanistan.

Dr Michael Semple

Email: m [dot] sempleatqub [dot] ac [dot] uk

Michael Semple, Visiting Professor, Institute for Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice, Queen's University, Belfast. He researches conflict transformation, political economy of conflict and the role of non-state armed actors, focusing on the Taliban Movements of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Based on this research, he provides policy advice to a range of actors. He previously served in Afghanistan as Deputy to the European Union Special Representative and as a United Nations Political Officer with the United Nations mission was part of the team which installed the post-Taliban regime. He has practical experience of rebuilding government and political institutions during conflict.

Prof Nazif Shahrani

Website: www.indiana.edu/~afghan
Email: sharahniatindiana [dot] edu

M Nazif Shahrani is Professor of Anthropology, Central Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, has served two terms as Chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and Director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program at IU. Shahrani is an Afghan-American anthropologist with extensive field research in Afghanistan, and has studied Afghan refugee communities in Pakistan & Turkey. Since 1992 he has also conducted field research in post-Soviet Muslim republics of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. He is interested in the impact of Islam on social life, institutional dynamics and political culture of Muslims, problems of state-failure, role of nationalism in social fragmentation in multi-ethnic nation-states, and the political economy of international assistance to postcolonial failing states and its consequences. He grew-up bilingual in Uzbek & Tajik/Dari/Farsi, learned Pashtu, Kyrgyz, English and some Arabic.

Ms Natalia Tereshchenko

Email: 2t [dot] nataliaatgmail [dot] com

Ms Natalia Tereshchenko is a researcher and project manager at the Oriental Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, where she focuses on religious and ethnic minority rights in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. She is also a researcher at the global online consultancy, Wikistrat. Previously, Natalia has been working on legal assistance for Afghanistan through UNODC and has served as the Vice-Chair of the International Refugee Law Committee at the American Bar Association. Natalia's expertise also includes issues of non-traditional security threats, negotiations with non-state actors and conflict transformation.

Marvin G. Weinbaum

Email: weinbaumatspeakeasy [dot] net or mweinbaumatmei [dot] edu

Marvin G. Weinbaum is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and served as analyst for Pakistan and Afghanistan in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research from 1999 to 2003.  He is currently a scholar-in-residence and Director of the Pakistan Center at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC. At Illinois, Dr. Weinbaum served for fifteen years as the director of the Program in South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. He was awarded Fulbright Research Fellowships for Egypt in 1981–82 and Afghanistan in 1989–90, and was a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in 1996–97. Dr. Weinbaum's research, teaching, and consultancies have focused on the issues of national security, state building, democratization, and political economy, and he is the author or editor of six books on these topics. Dr. Weinbaum has also written more than 100 book chapters and professional journal articles, mostly about Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. He is frequent contributor to such popular websites as Foreign Policy, Huffington Post and The National Interest. Among his very recent publications are book chapters in edited volumes dealing with the U.S.-Pakistan relations, Pakistan’s political future, state building and the security challenges in Afghanistan, and the special relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. 

Mr Jawad Hassan Zadeh

Address: P.O. Box 476, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 9LS
Email: Jawadhzathotmail [dot] com

Jawad is an accredited expert on Afghanistan, a PhD Candidate and holder of an LL.M in International Law and Relations. Jawad has had over 26 years of direct work experience in Afghanistan’s affairs. He has written a PhD thesis, an LL.M dissertation and three LLM essays on Afghanistan.  As of January 2020, Jawad has prepared 950 expert reports for law firms and non-legal organisations based in Greece, Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States of America. He has 14 years of experience as an Expert Witness. Jawad has given evidence in First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal courts and his expert opinions have been commended by judges in the United Kingdom and in The Netherlands. Jawad has expertise on all areas of law related to Afghanistan. He prepares expert reports on human rights conditions, risk on return, and availability of state protection, internal flight alternatives, religion, and political parties.  Jawad has specialist knowledge of Afghanistan’s family law, criminal law and constitutional law. Jawad is able to converse fluently in Dari, Farsi, Pashto, Russian and English languages. Jawad also verifies the authenticity of documents from Afghanistan and provide language and nationality assessment reports for the Afghan nationals. He has first-hand experience of handling legal documents for continuous 26 years. Initial assessment of cases and document authenticity tests are provided free of charge. Some pro-bono work may be undertaken.


Reports, Commentaries and relevant Documents

  • Commentary on the February 2012 Afghanistan OGN. Published by Still Human, Still Here with commentaries on the Operational Guidance Notes (OGN) issued by the UK Border Agency on Afghanistan. This is intended as a tool to assist legal practitioners identify the relevant country of origin information and to help ensure that all relevant material is considered by decision-makers.
  • Commentary on the March 2011 Afghanistan OGN. Published by Still Human, Still Here with commentaries on the Operational Guidance Notes (OGN) issued by the UK Border Agency on Afghanistan. This is intended as a tool to assist legal practitioners identify the relevant country of origin information and to help ensure that all relevant material is considered by decision-makers.