In accordance with Article 16a of the Basic Law (GG) of the Federal Republic of Germany, politically persecuted persons can be granted asylum in Germany.
As in many other countries, asylum law in Germany is not only guaranteed on the basis of the obligation under international law arising from the Geneva Convention on Refugees of 1951, but also has constitutional status as a fundamental right. It is the only fundamental right that is only accorded to foreign nationals.
Persecution is considered to be political if it causes specific violations of rights to the individual – in connection with his political convictions, his choice of religious belief or intangible characteristics that mark him out as being different – that, due to their intensity, exclude that person from the general peace framework of the state unit. Asylum law serves to protect human dignity in a more comprehensive sense.
Not every negative measure carried out by the state represents persecution relevant to asylum – even if it is connected to one of the personal characteristics specified. It must involve a specific violation of a legally protected interest and be of such intensity that it excludes the affected person from society. Finally it must involve a measure that is so serious that it violates human dignity and goes beyond what the population of the state in question would otherwise consider to be generally acceptable.
In principle, only state persecution is taken into consideration, i.e. persecution that is perpetrated by the state. Exceptions apply if non-state persecution can be attributed to the state or if the non-state persecutor is representing the state (quasi-state persecution).
General emergency situations such as poverty, civil wars, natural disasters or a lack of prospects are therefore ruled out as reasons for granting asylum. The guarantee of subsidiary protection comes into consideration in certain circumstances.
Recognition as being entitled to asylum is excluded in the event of entry to Germany via a safe third country. This also applies in cases where a return to that third country is not possible, such as in cases where the country is not specifically known due to a lack of corresponding information from the asylum applicant.