Rights in Exile Programme

Refugee Legal Aid Information for Lawyers Representing Refugees Globally

Afghanistan - COI

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 Rebwar Fatah

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

Dr Rebwar Fatah is the Director of the Middle East Consultancy Services. Dr Fatah has produced thousands of COI reports since he began working as an expert witness in 2000. In the past four years alone, Dr Fatah has produced 1,136 Expert Reports on the Middle East. These include:
706 Country Expert Reports
340 Document Authentication Reports
90 Nationality Reports

Dr Fatah’s reports have been commissioned for and cited in a number of immigration appeals, as well as family and criminal cases.  Moreover, he has assessed a large number of people from the Middle East whose nationality, native language, ethnicity, place of residence has been disputed, and has examined thousands of documents from the MENA region. In addition to a deep knowledge of the region’s administrative and bureaucratic cultures, Dr Fatah’s multilingual proficiencies enable him to understand, interpret and evaluate official documents in the Middle East. As a part of this work, Dr Fatah has produced his own methodology for document authentications and nationality examinations.

Dr Fatah has also provided written and oral evidence in court; among them are five Country Guidance Cases, two Turkish extradition orders and many other cases. Moreover, Dr Fatah has also reviewed and provided guidance on Home Office CPIN reports

Dr Fatah 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 the general security situation, sufficiency of protection, crimes of honour, healthcare, corruption, 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 is a Research Fellow with the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS).  He was a UK government political and military analyst on Afghanistan for both the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office over several decades.  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 asylum seekers, having now delivered over 500 expert reports for a range of Afghan clients in the UK.  He has excellent impartial research, analysis and communication skills.

“Mr Foxley is a genuine expert.  He has been studying Afghanistan since 2001…I find that the report written by Mr Foxley is written in an even-handed manner and is well sourced.  I find that it is a most reliable document…I unhesitatingly agree with Mr Foxley’s analysis of what is likely to befall the Appellant if he is returned to his home area.”  (UK First Tier Tribunal Judge, June 2018)

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: Agiustozziatagresearchanalysis [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 2003-4, 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. His most recent book is the Taliban at war (2019). Dr Giustozzi will not always be able to work pro bono.

Dr Nassim Majidi

Email: nassim [dot] majidiatgmail [dot] com

Nassim Majidi is the founder and co-director of Samuel Hall, a social enterprise dedicated to migration research with offices in Kabul, Afghanistan (since 2010) and Nairobi and Mogadishu (since 2014). She is a Research Associate at the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University, USA. Nassim specialises in return migration and reintegration. She has published more than twenty academic and policy articles on migration issues, and teaches a graduate course on Refugees & Migration as part of Sciences Po Lille’s Conflict and Development Programme.

Nassim leads evidence-based research and policy development on migration and displacement. Covering three continents (Africa, Asia, Europe) over the past ten years, her crosscutting skills have led her to interview refugees, migrants, and returnees in the world’s border areas, conflict settings, and countries of origin. Based on her knowledge of migration actors, she has developed strategic programming initiatives, national policies on migration, and monitoring reviews that have had a lasting impact. Nassim was nominated in 2015 by the Norwegian Refugee Council for the prestigious Nansen Refugee Award in recognition of her sterling work on behalf of Afghanistan’s displaced population. Nassim holds a BA in Government from Cornell University, a Summa Cum Laude Masters in International Affairs and Development Studies and a Ph.D. in International Relations from Sciences Po Paris.

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 Liza Schuster will not be available before March 2021. 

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.

Prof Marvin G. Weinbaum

Email: 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. 

Professor Weinbaum is offering his services on a highly selective basis due to the large number of his professional commitments.

Dr Jawad Hassan Zadeh

Email: jawadhzathotmail [dot] com  
linkedin.com/in/dr-jawad-hassan-zadeh-26986594
www.ein.org.uk/experts/hassan-zadeh

Dr. Jawad is an accredited expert on Afghanistan, holder of a PhD law and LL.M in International Law and Relations. He has had 27 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 July 2021, Jawad has prepared 1,100 expert reports for the law firms and non-legal organisations based in France, Greece, Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States of America. He has 15 years of experience as an Expert Witness based in the United Kingdom. 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. He has expertise on all areas of human rights and law related to Afghanistan. He prepares expert reports on human rights conditions, risk on return, availability of state protection, internal flight alternatives, religion, and risks arising from political parties. Jawad has specialist knowledge of Afghanistan’s family law, criminal law and constitutional law. He is able to converse fluently in Dari, Farsi, Pashto, Russian and English languages. Jawad also verifies the authenticity of documents from Afghanistan and provides language and nationality assessment reports for Afghan nationals whose nationality and origin are questioned. He has first-hand experience of handling Afghan documents for 27 years. Initial assessment of cases and initial observation of documents for authenticity are provided free of charge. Some pro-bono work may be undertaken.

Mohammad Behzad Hakkak

Email: Behzadhakkak2atgmail [dot] com

Mr Behzad Hakkak B.A., M.A., with several years of work experience with various Afghanistan government institutions and human rights organisations provides expert reports with fact-finding elements in asylum cases of Afghan citizens based in Australia, Canada, Europe and the US. Services provided are - production of expert reports and conducting fact-finding services on legal issues in Afghanistan. Services provided include completion of expert reports, interviews to obtain first-hand information from professionals regarding access to medical services including mental health in Afghanistan. For all services a free ‘no obligation’ and feasibility assessment will be offered. 

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.

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