BAMF - Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - Protecting refugees

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Protecting refugees

You can find out here about the conditions that must be fulfilled in order to grant protection to refugees in accordance with the Geneva Convention on Refugees.
In accordance with §3 para. 1 of the Asylum Procedure Act (AsylVfG) in conjunction with § 60 para. 1 of the Residence Act (AufenthG), a foreign national is recognised as being a refugee if his life or freedom in his home country is threatened on account of his

  • race
  • religion
  • nationality
  • belonging to a specific social group


  • because of his political convictions.

It does not matter whether the applicant actually has the characteristics on the basis of which they are being persecuted. What matters is that their persecutor believes that they have these characteristics.

This persecution may be perpetrated by the state, by parties or organisations that control the state or considerable parts of the territory of the state (state-like players) or by non-state players, if state or state-like players including international organisations are evidentially not in a position or not willing to offer protection from the threat of persecution in that country.

The following count as persecution:

  • acts that are so serious because of their type or repeated nature that they represent a severe violation of basic human rights, in particular rights from which no deviation is permitted in accordance with Article 15, para. 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (in particular Article 3, torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment)
  • various different measures that in themselves do not represent a serious violation of basic human rights yet, when considered in combination, are so serious that a person is affected by them in a similar way.

Examples of acts that may count as persecution:

  • using physical or mental force, including sexual violence,
  • legal, administrative, police and/or judicial measures that as such are discriminatory or are applied in a discriminatory way,
  • disproportionate or discriminatory prosecution or punishment,
  • denying judicial protection resulting in a disproportionate or discriminatory punishment,
  • acts that are associated with gender or are directed against children.
Date 2 May 2011

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