What Does it Mean to Seek Asylum

Seeking asylum is a fundamental human right that allows individuals who are fleeing persecution to seek safety in another country. Learn more about what it means to seek asylum and the legal framework behind it.


Seeking asylum is a fundamental human right that allows individuals who are fleeing persecution in their home countries to seek safety and protection in another country. It is a legal process by which a person requests protection from the government of another country when they cannot return to their own country due to fear of persecution.

What is Asylum?

Asylum is protection granted by a country to foreign nationals who have fled their own country because they have suffered persecution or have a well-founded fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

Legal Framework

The right to seek asylum is protected under international law, including the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, which define who is a refugee, what their rights are, and the legal obligations of states to protect them. Many countries have their own asylum laws and procedures that are based on these international agreements.


When an individual seeks asylum, they must submit an application to the government of the country where they wish to seek protection. The government will then review the application and determine whether the applicant meets the criteria for asylum. If the application is approved, the individual will be granted refugee status and allowed to stay in the country. If the application is denied, the individual may appeal the decision or be deported back to their home country.


One of the most well-known examples of seeking asylum is the Syrian refugee crisis, where millions of people have fled their war-torn country seeking safety in Europe and other countries. Another example is the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, who have faced persecution and violence and have sought asylum in neighboring countries such as Bangladesh.

Case Studies

In 2019, a young woman from El Salvador sought asylum in the United States after facing threats from a local gang. She was granted asylum and now lives in safety in the U.S. In contrast, a man from Eritrea was denied asylum in Europe and was deported back to his home country, where he faced further persecution.


According to the UN Refugee Agency, there are currently over 26 million refugees worldwide, with over half of them being children. The number of asylum seekers has been increasing in recent years due to conflicts, violence, and persecution in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Venezuela.

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