Right of asylum

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Asylum seekers by country of origin in 2009.
40,000 asylum seekers
30,000 asylum seekers
20,000 asylum seekers
9,000 asylum seekers
<10,000 asylum seekers (or no data) Asylum-seekers-by-country-of-origin.svg
Asylum seekers by country of origin in 2009.
  40,000 asylum seekers
  30,000 asylum seekers
  20,000 asylum seekers
  9,000 asylum seekers
  <10,000 asylum seekers (or no data)
Remains of one of four medieval stone boundary markers for the sanctuary of Saint John of Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire. St John of Beverley Sanctuary Stone.jpg
Remains of one of four medieval stone boundary markers for the sanctuary of Saint John of Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
Sanctuary ring on a door of Notre-Dame de Paris (France). Anneau portail de la Vierge Notre-Dame de Paris.jpg
Sanctuary ring on a door of Notre-Dame de Paris (France).
Medieval boundary marker at St. Georgenberg, Tyrol. St Georgenberg medieval 'Right of Asylum' boundary marker from app W (detail).jpg
Medieval boundary marker at St. Georgenberg, Tyrol.
Plaque at St. Mary Magdalene Chapel, Dingli, Malta, indicating that the chapel did not enjoy ecclesiastical immunity Malta - Dingli - Triq Panoramika - St. Mary Magdalene 06 ies.jpg
Plaque at St. Mary Magdalene Chapel, Dingli, Malta, indicating that the chapel did not enjoy ecclesiastical immunity

The right of asylum (sometimes called right of political asylum, from the Ancient Greek word ἄσυλον) [1] [2] is an ancient juridical concept, under which a person persecuted by one's own country may be protected by another sovereign authority, such as another country or church official, who in medieval times could offer sanctuary. This right was recognized by the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Hebrews, from whom it was adopted into Western tradition. René Descartes fled to the Netherlands, Voltaire to England, and Thomas Hobbes to France, because each state offered protection to persecuted foreigners.

Ancient Greek Version of the Greek language used from roughly the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE

The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by medieval Greek.

Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another individual or group. The most common forms are religious persecution, racism and political persecution, though there is naturally some overlap between these terms. The inflicting of suffering, harassment, imprisonment, internment, fear, or pain are all factors that may establish persecution, but not all suffering will necessarily establish persecution. The suffering experienced by the victim must be sufficiently severe. The threshold level of severity has been a source of much debate.

Sovereignty concept that a state or governing body has the right and power to govern itself without outside interference

Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity.


The Egyptians, Greeks, and Hebrews recognized a religious "right of asylum", protecting criminals (or those accused of crime) from legal action to some extent. This principle was later adopted by the established Christian church, and various rules were developed that detailed how to qualify for protection and what degree of protection one would receive. [3]

The Council of Orleans decided in 511, in the presence of Clovis I, that asylum could be granted to anyone who took refuge in a church or on church property, or at the home of a bishop. This protection was extended to murderers, thieves and adulterers alike.

The First Council of Orléans was convoked by Clovis I, King of the Franks, in 511. Clovis called for this synod four years after his victory over the Visigoths under Alaric II at the Battle of Vouillé in 507. The council was attended by thirty-two bishops, including four metropolitans, from across Gaul, and together they passed thirty-one decrees. The bishops met at Orléans to reform the church and construct a strong relationship between the crown and the Catholic episcopate, the majority of the canons reflecting compromise between these two institutions.

Clovis I first king of the Franks (c. 466–511)

Clovis was the first king of the Franks to unite all of the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the form of leadership from a group of royal chieftains to rule by a single king and ensuring that the kingship was passed down to his heirs. He is considered to have been the founder of the Merovingian dynasty, which ruled the Frankish kingdom for the next two centuries.

Murder Unlawful killing of a human with malice aforethought

Murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification or valid excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought. This state of mind may, depending upon the jurisdiction, distinguish murder from other forms of unlawful homicide, such as manslaughter. Manslaughter is a killing committed in the absence of malice, brought about by reasonable provocation, or diminished capacity. Involuntary manslaughter, where it is recognized, is a killing that lacks all but the most attenuated guilty intent, recklessness.

That "Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution" is enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and supported by the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. [4] Under these agreements, a refugee is a person who is outside that person's own country's territory owing to fear of persecution on protected grounds, including race, caste, nationality, religion, political opinions and participation in any particular social group or social activities.

United Nations Intergovernmental organization

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that was tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. The headquarters of the UN is in Manhattan, New York City, and is subject to extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna and The Hague. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. In 24 October 1945, at the end of World War II, the organization was established with the aim of preventing future wars. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The UN is the successor of the ineffective League of Nations.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights declaration adopted in 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a historic document that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at its 183rd session on 10 December 1948 as Resolution 217 at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France. Of the then 58 members of the United Nations, 48 voted in favor, none against, eight abstained, and two did not vote.

Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees United Nations multilateral treaty

The Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, also known as the 1951 Refugee Convention, is a United Nations multilateral treaty that defines who is a refugee, and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum. The Convention also sets out which people do not qualify as refugees, such as war criminals. The Convention also provides for some visa-free travel for holders of travel documents issued under the convention. Although the Refugee Convention was agreed in Geneva, it is considered incorrect to refer to it as "the Geneva Convention" because that term is more widely understood as referring to any of four treaties regulating armed conflict.

Medieval England

In England, King Æthelberht of Kent proclaimed the first Anglo-Saxon laws on sanctuary in about 600 AD. However Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae (c. 1136) says that the legendary pre-Saxon king Dunvallo Molmutius (4th/5th century BC) enacted sanctuary laws among the Molmutine Laws as recorded by Gildas (c. 500–570). [5] The term grith was used by the laws of king Ethelred . By the Norman era that followed 1066, two kinds of sanctuary had evolved: all churches had the lower-level powers and could grant sanctuary within the church proper, but the broader powers of churches licensed by royal charter extended sanctuary to a zone around the church. At least twenty-two churches had charters for this broader sanctuary, including

Æthelberht was King of Kent from about 589 until his death. The eighth-century monk Bede, in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, lists him as the third king to hold imperium over other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. In the late ninth century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he is referred to as a bretwalda, or "Britain-ruler". He was the first English king to convert to Christianity.

Sanctuary sacred place

A sanctuary, in its original meaning, is a sacred place, such as a shrine. By the use of such places as a haven, by extension the term has come to be used for any place of safety. This secondary use can be categorized into human sanctuary, a safe place for humans, such as a political sanctuary; and non-human sanctuary, such as an animal or plant sanctuary.

Geoffrey of Monmouth was a British cleric and one of the major figures in the development of British historiography and the popularity of tales of King Arthur. He is best known for his chronicle The History of the Kings of Britain which was widely popular in its day, being translated into other languages from its original Latin. It was given historical credence well into the 16th century, but is now considered historically unreliable.

Battle Abbey Benedictine abbey in Battle, East Sussex, England

Battle Abbey is a partially ruined Benedictine abbey in Battle, East Sussex, England. The abbey was built on the site of the Battle of Hastings and dedicated to St Martin of Tours.

Beverley town and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England

Beverley is a historic market town, civil parish and the county town of the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. The town is known for Beverley Minster, Beverley Westwood, North Bar and Beverley Racecourse. It inspired the naming of the city of Beverly, Massachusetts, Which in turn was the impetus for Beverly Hills, California.

Colchester town in Essex, United Kingdom

Colchester is a historic market town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in the county of Essex. Colchester was the first Roman-founded city in Britain, and Colchester lays claim to be regarded as Britain's oldest recorded town. It was for a time the capital of Roman Britain, and is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network.

Sometimes the criminal had to get to the chapel itself to be protected, or ring a certain bell, hold a certain ring or door-knocker, or sit on a certain chair ("frith-stool"). Some of these items survive at various churches. Elsewhere, sanctuary held in an area around the church or abbey, sometimes extending in radius to as much as a mile and a half. Stone "sanctuary crosses" marked the boundaries of the area; some crosses still exist as well. Thus it could become a race between the felon and the medieval law officers to the nearest sanctuary boundary. Serving of justice upon the fleet of foot could prove a difficult proposition.

Church sanctuaries were regulated by common law. An asylum seeker had to confess his sins, surrender his weapons, and permit supervision by a church or abbey organization with jurisdiction. Seekers then had forty days to decide whether to surrender to secular authorities and stand trial for their alleged crimes, or to confess their guilt, abjure the realm, and go into exile by the shortest route and never return without the king's permission. Those who did return faced execution under the law or excommunication from the Church.

If the suspects chose to confess their guilt and abjure, they did so in a public ceremony, usually at the church gates. They would surrender their possessions to the church, and any landed property to the crown. The coroner, a medieval official, would then choose a port city from which the fugitive should leave England (though the fugitive sometimes had this privilege). The fugitive would set out barefooted and bareheaded, carrying a wooden cross-staff as a symbol of protection under the church. Theoretically they would stay to the main highway, reach the port and take the first ship out of England. In practice, however, the fugitive could get a safe distance away, abandon the cross-staff and take off and start a new life. However, one can safely assume the friends and relatives of the victim knew of this ploy and would do everything in their power to make sure this did not happen; or indeed that the fugitives never reached their intended port of call, becoming victims of vigilante justice under the pretense of a fugitive who wandered too far off the main highway while trying to "escape."

Knowing the grim options, some fugitives rejected both choices and opted for an escape from the asylum before the forty days were up. Others simply made no choice and did nothing. Since it was illegal for the victim's friends to break into an asylum, the church would deprive the fugitive of food and water until a decision was made.

During the Wars of the Roses, when the Yorkists or Lancastrians would suddenly get the upper hand by winning a battle, some adherents of the losing side might find themselves surrounded by adherents of the other side and not able to get back to their own side. Upon realizing this situation they would rush to sanctuary at the nearest church until it was safe to come out. A prime example is Queen Elizabeth Woodville, consort of Edward IV of England.

In 1470, when the Lancastrians briefly restored Henry VI to the throne, Queen Elizabeth was living in London with several young daughters. She moved with them into Westminster for sanctuary, living there in royal comfort until Edward IV was restored to the throne in 1471 and giving birth to their first son Edward V during that time. When King Edward IV died in 1483, Elizabeth (who was highly unpopular with even the Yorkists and probably did need protection) took her five daughters and youngest son (Richard, Duke of York) and again moved into sanctuary at Westminster. To be sure she had all the comforts of home, she brought so much furniture and so many chests that the workmen had to knock holes in some of the walls to get everything in fast enough to suit her. [6]

Henry VIII changed the rules of asylum, reducing to a short list the types of crimes for which people were allowed to claim asylum. The medieval system of asylum was finally abolished entirely by James I in 1623.

Modern political asylum

Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution." The United Nations 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees guides national legislation concerning political asylum. Under these agreements, a refugee (or for cases where repressing base means has been applied directly or environmentally to the refugee) is a person who is outside that person's own country's territory (or place of habitual residence if stateless) owing to fear of persecution on protected grounds. Protected grounds include race, caste, nationality, religion, political opinions and membership or participation in any particular social group or social activities. Rendering true victims of persecution to their persecutor is a violation of a principle called non-refoulement, part of the customary and trucial Law of Nations.

These are the accepted terms and criteria as principles and a fundamental part in the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees non-refoulement order. [7]

Since the 1990s, victims of sexual persecution (which may include domestic violence, or systematic oppression of a gender or sexual minority) have come to be accepted in some countries as a legitimate category for asylum claims, when claimants can prove that the state is unable or unwilling to provide protection.

Right of asylum by country of refuge

The Dutch government grants asylum to a couple of hundred elderly from Yugoslavia, Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states. Since the end of World War II the people stayed in camps in Austria and West Germany. (Newsreel (in Dutch))

European Union

Asylum in European Union member states formed over a half-century by application of the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 on the Status of Refugees. Common policies appeared in the 1990s in connection with the Schengen Agreement (which suppressed internal borders) so that asylum seekers unsuccessful in one Member State would not reapply in another. The common policy began with the Dublin Convention in 1990. It continued with the implementation of Eurodac and the Dublin Regulation in 2003, and the October 2009 adoption of two proposals by the European Commission. [8]


France was the first country to recognize the constitutional right to asylum, this being enshrined in article 120 of the Constitution of 1793. [9] The modern French right of asylum is recognized by the 1958 Constitution, vis-à-vis the paragraph 4 of the preamble to the Constitution of 1946, to which the Preamble of the 1958 Constitution directly refers. The Constitution of 1946 incorporated of parts of the 1793 constitution which had guaranteed the right of asylum to "anyone persecuted because of his action for freedom" who are unable to seek protection in their home countries.

In addition to the constitutional right to asylum, the modern French right to asylum (droit d'asile) is enshrined on a legal and regulatory basis in the Code de l'Entree et du Sejour des Etrangers et du Droit d'Asile [10] (CESEDA).

France also adheres to international agreements which provide for application modalities for the right of asylum, such as the 1951 United Nations (UN) Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (ratified in 1952), the additional 1967 protocol; articles K1 and K2 of the 1992 Maastricht Treaty as well as the 1985 Schengen Agreement, which defined EU immigration policy. Finally, the right of asylum is defined by article 18 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Some of the criteria for which an asylum application can be rejected include: i) Passage via “safe" third country, ii) Safe Country of Origin (An asylum seeker can be a prior refused asylum if he or she is a national of a country considered to be "safe" by the French asylum authority OFPRA), [11] iii) Safety Threat (serious threat to the public order), or iv) Fraudulent Application (abuse of the asylum procedure for other reasons).

The December 10, 2003, law limited political asylum through two main restrictions:

While restricted, the right of political asylum has been conserved in France amid various anti-immigration laws. Some people claim that, apart from the purely judicial path, the bureaucratic process is used to slow down and ultimately reject what might be considered as valid requests. According to Le Figaro , France granted 7,000 people the status of political refugee in 2006, out of a total of 35,000 requests; in 2005, the OFPRA in charge of examining the legitimacy of such requests granted less than 10,000 from a total of 50,000 requests. [14]

Numerous exiles from South American dictatorships, particularly from Augusto Pinochet's Chile and the Dirty War in Argentina, were received in the 1970s-80s. Since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, tens of homeless Afghan asylum seekers have been sleeping in a park in Paris near the Gare de l'Est train station. [15] Although their demands haven't been yet accepted, their presence has been tolerated. However, since the end of 2005, NGOs have been noting that the police separate Afghans from other migrants during raids, and expel via charters those who have just arrived at Gare de l'Est by train and haven't had time to demand asylum (a May 30, 2005, decree requires them to pay for a translator to help with official formalities). [16]

United Kingdom

In the 19th century, the United Kingdom accorded political asylum to various persecuted people, among whom were many members of the socialist movement (including Karl Marx). [17] With the 1845 attempted bombing of the Greenwich Royal Observatory [ citation needed ] and the 1911 Siege of Sidney Street in the context of the propaganda of the deed (anarchist) actions, political asylum was restricted. [18]

United States

The United States recognizes the right of asylum of individuals as specified by international and federal law. A specified number of legally defined refugees who apply for refugee status overseas, as well as those applying for asylum after arriving in the U.S., are admitted annually.

Since World War II, more refugees have found homes in the U.S. than any other nation and more than two million refugees have arrived in the U.S. since 1980. During much of the 1990s, the United States accepted over 100,000 refugees per year, though this figure has recently decreased to around 50,000 per year in the first decade of the 21st century, due to greater security concerns. As for asylum seekers, the latest statistics show that 86,400 persons sought sanctuary in the United States in 2001. [19] Before the September 11 attacks individual asylum applicants were evaluated in private proceedings at the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS).

Despite this, concerns have been raised with the U.S. asylum and refugee determination processes. A recent empirical analysis by three legal scholars described the U.S. asylum process as a game of refugee roulette; that is to say that the outcome of asylum determinations depends in large part on the personality of the particular adjudicator to whom an application is randomly assigned, rather than on the merits of the case. The very low numbers of Iraqi refugees accepted between 2003 and 2007 exemplifies concerns about the United States' refugee processes. The Foreign Policy Association reported that: [20]

"Perhaps the most perplexing component of the Iraq refugee crisis... has been the inability for the U.S. to absorb more Iraqis following the 2003 invasion of the country. To date, the U.S. has granted less than 800 Iraqis refugee status, just 133 in 2007. By contrast, the U.S. granted asylum to more than 100,000 Vietnamese refugees during the Vietnam War."

See also

Related Research Articles

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees United Nations agency mandated to protect and support refugees

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is a United Nations programme with the mandate to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people, and assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country.

A refugee, generally speaking, is a displaced person who has been forced to cross national boundaries and who cannot return home safely. Such a person may be called an asylum seeker until granted refugee status by the contracting state or the UNHCR if they formally make a claim for asylum. The lead international agency coordinating refugee protection is the United Nations Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The United Nations have a second Office for refugees, the UNRWA, which is solely responsible for supporting the large majority of Palestinian refugees.

An asylum seeker is a person who flees their home country, enters another country and applies for asylum, i.e. the right to international protection, in this other country. An asylum seeker is a type of migrant and may be a refugee, a displaced person, but not an economic migrant. Migrants are not necessarily asylum seekers. A person becomes an asylum seeker by making a formal application for the right to remain in another country and keeps that status until the application has been concluded. The applicant becomes an "asylee" if their claim is accepted and asylum is granted. The relevant immigration authorities of the country of asylum determine whether the asylum seeker will be granted protection and become an officially recognised refugee (asylee) or whether asylum will be refused and asylum seeker becomes an illegal immigrant who has to leave the country and may even be deported. The asylum seeker may be recognised as a refugee and given refugee status if the person's circumstances fall into the definition of "refugee" according to the 1951 Refugee Convention or other refugee laws, such as the European Convention on Human Rights – if asylum is claimed within the European Union. However signatories to the refugee convention create their own policies for assessing the protection status of asylum seekers, and the proportion of asylum applicants who are rejected varies from country to country and year to year.

The terms asylum seeker and refugee are often confused: an asylum-seeker is someone who says he or she is a refugee, but whose claim has not yet been definitively evaluated. On average, about 1 million people seek asylum on an individual basis every year.

Refugee law is the branch of international law which deals with the rights and protection of refugees. There are differences of opinion among international law scholars as to the relationship between refugee law and international human rights law or humanitarian law. The discussion forms part of a larger discussion on fragmentation of international law. While some scholars conceive each branch as a self-contained regime distinct from other branches, others regard the three branches as forming a larger normative system that seeks to protect the rights of all human beings at all time. The proponents of the latter conception view this holistic regime as including norms only applicable to certain situations such as armed conflict and military occupation (IHL) or to certain groups of people including refugees, children, and prisoners of war.

An unauthorised arrival is a person who has arrived in a country of which they are not a citizen and does not have a valid visa or does not satisfy other required conditions for entry to that country.

Established in 1989, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, is an independent administrative tribunal that is responsible for making well-founded and fair decisions on immigration and refugee matters, efficiently and in accordance with the law. Established by an Act of Parliament, the IRB decides on refugee applications made by individuals who land in Canada and make an asylum claim to be in need of protection.

Non-refoulement is a fundamental principle of international law that forbids a country receiving asylum seekers from returning them to a country in which they would be in likely danger of persecution based on "race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion". Unlike political asylum, which applies to those who can prove a well-grounded fear of persecution based on certain category of persons, non-refoulement refers to the generic repatriation of people, including refugees into war zones and other disaster locales. It is a principle of customary international law, as it applies even to states that are not parties to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees or its 1967 Protocol. It is also a principle of the trucial law of nations.

The Sanctuary movement was a religious and political campaign in the United States that began in the early 1980s to provide safe-haven for Central American refugees fleeing civil conflict. The movement was a response to federal immigration policies that made obtaining asylum difficult for Central Americans.

Asylum in the United States

The United States recognizes the right of asylum for individuals as specified by international and federal law. A specified number of legally defined refugees who either apply for asylum from inside the U.S. or apply for refugee status from outside the U.S., are admitted annually. Refugees compose about one-tenth of the total annual immigration to the United States, though some large refugee populations are very prominent. Since World War II, more refugees have found homes in the U.S. than any other nation and more than two million refugees have arrived in the U.S. since 1980. In the years 2005 through 2007, the number of asylum seekers accepted into the U.S. was about 40,000 per year. This compared with about 30,000 per year in the UK and 25,000 in Canada. The U.S. accounted for about 10% of all asylum-seeker acceptances in the OECD countries in 1998-2007. The United States is by far the most populous OECD country and receives fewer than the average number of refugees per capita: In 2010-14 it ranked 28 of 43 industrialized countries reviewed by UNHCR.

Refugees in Hong Kong have formed historic waves arriving in the city due to wars in the region. More recently those seeking asylum or protection based on torture claims are a fast growing part of the city's population, soaring since 2004 due to changes in the legal system for considering asylum and torture claims mandated by local courts.

The Russian Federation's Law on Refugees defines who is a refugee for purposes of obtaining asylum in the country. The Law defines a refugee as a "person who is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution. Upon receiving an asylum seeker's application, the Russian Migration Service determines whether the asylum seeker meets the legislative definition of a "refugee" and should be granted asylum.

The Cour nationale du droit d'asile is the French administrative court which was set up to review appeals from decisions of the OFPRA, granting, refusing or withdrawing refugee status and subsidiary protection.

Asylum in the European Union

Asylum in the European Union (EU) has its roots in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, an agreement founded on Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Following the adoption of the Schengen Agreement on the elimination of internal border controls of signatory states and its subsequent incorporation into the EU legislative framework by the Amsterdam Treaty, the EU set up a Common European Asylum System (CEAS) to unify minimum standards related to asylum, leaving up to EU Member States the discretion to establish procedures for obtaining and withdrawing international protection.

The Immigration and Protection Tribunal is a specialist, independent tribunal established in New Zealand under the Immigration Act 2009 with jurisdiction to hear appeals and applications regarding residence class visas, deportation, and claims to be recognised as a refugee or as a protected person. The Tribunal is administered by the Ministry of Justice and is chaired by a District Court Judge, appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Attorney-General.

Particular social group (PSG) is one of five categories that may be used to claim refugee status according to two key United Nations documents: the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees. The other four categories are race, religion, nationality, and political opinion. As the most ambiguous and open-ended of the categories, the PSG category has been the subject of considerable debate and controversy in refugee law. Note that just as with the other four categories, membership in a PSG is not sufficient grounds for being granted refugee status. Rather, to be granted refugee status, one must both demonstrate membership in one of the five categories and a nexus between that membership and persecution one is facing or risks facing.

Subsidiary protection is international protection for persons seeking asylum who do not qualify as refugees. In European law, Directive 2004/83/EC defines the minimum standards for qualifying for subsidiary protection status. The Directive was later added to with Directive 2011/95/EU, which states that uniform, European states for persons eligible for subsidiary protection and the content of the protection granted.

The right of asylum for victims of political persecution is a basic right stipulated in the Constitution of Germany. In a wider sense, the right of asylum recognises the definition of 'refugee' as established in the 1951 Refugee Convention and is understood to protect asylum seekers from deportation and grant them certain protections under the law. Generally, these protections are a part of the asylum procedure itself and are verified by the Federal Office For Migration and Refugees without any further application.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender (LGBT) or Gender and Sexual Minority (GSM) refugees and asylum-seekers are those who are making the refugee claim due to their sexual orientation or gender identity in Canada. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), refugees are displaced persons who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country." In order to gain refugee status in Canada, an individual must demonstrate that they are at risk of being persecuted and unable to seek protection from their home country. These claims can be made once the individual resides in Canada on a visa or prior to their arrival. Much of the research on this population tends to be qualitative in character and is carried out with asylum seekers who already reside in Canada.



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