What is asylum?

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In some states the rights and freedoms of the people living on their territory are violated or restricted by the authorities. Such restrictions may be imposed for reasons of race, religion, political opinion or other particular features.

These restrictions may have the form of physical violence, psychological harassment, detention or other police measures, lawsuits, convictions or prohibition to carry out a specific activity, for example: holding public office, going to school, being a member of a certain party, organizing rallies, and others – by and large, the restrictions can be any actions of coercion, discrimination or arbitrariness.

The authority of no country has the right to violate the rights of ordinary people and to restrict their rights outside the scope of the law. Whoever it be – men, women or children, everybody have the right to live freely and in accordance with their mentality and conscience, as long as they do not interfere with other people’s ability to do so.

It sometimes happens that the violations and restrictions are not imposed by the state but by organisations or groupings which the state is not able or does not wish to counter in order to protect those who are their victims.

Some states are affected by wars which threaten the life and security of the civil population. The war could be an armed conflict with another state or an internal conflict among various groupings, sometimes a combination of both.

When a person’s life, security or rights are not protected by the state or the state itself violates them, such a person has the possibility to seek security in another country by applying for the permission of the foreign state to reside in it for these reasons.

This possibility is called “asylum”. In Europe asylum is called “international protection”.

The persons fleeing their country and seeking asylum in a foreign state are called “refugees”.