Often the term political asylum is used to refer to asylum claims by refugees from countries at war in error. We explain what each one means and the possible origin of the confusion
What are asylum applications?
An asylum seeker is one whose request for refuge in a certain country has not yet been processed. Every year, close to a million people apply for asylum in other countries. National asylum systems determine who needs international protection.
When it comes to mass movements of refugees in war or armed conflict, it will not be necessary to do personal interviews with each asylum seeker to cross the border. These groups are called ‘ prima facie ‘ refugees .
What then is political asylum?
Political asylum is only that which is granted to a person who is banished or who has fled his country for political reasons .
This is the case of the Spanish refugees who fled after the Civil War for being contrary to the political regime.
Among Colombian applicants in Spain, there are also cases that can be considered as political asylum: “The profile of people who request asylum is varied, but there are those who allege persecution for political reasons , such as judges, lawyers, human rights defenders, unionists to others who have left the country fleeing extortion, ”says María Jesús Vega, UNHCR spokesperson in Spain.
Why do we confuse political asylum with asylum?
The generalization of the term “political asylum” versus “asylum” is much more widespread in Spain than in the rest of the world. Both words are used as synonyms erroneously, it is likely that because their use became popular in our country after the Spanish Civil War.
A curious fact is the fact that the term “political asylum” in Spain has many more searches than “asylum”, while in the rest of the world it barely reaches 10%.
The history of the asylum concept
The term “asylum” comes from the Greek “asylos”, which means inviolable temple or place where no one can be disturbed. Everything indicates that its origin is in the first nomadic peoples , who welcomed foreigners who fled their territory for various reasons. as a symbol of hospitality.
For a long time, asylum was used to protect people who did not want to submit to the rigidity of the laws of their villages and were looking for safe areas to take refuge.
Greece later recognized asylum as an entity in itself to which it assigned two basic functions:
- Territorial asylum, which took place in cities.
- Religious asylum, in temples and sacred areas.
Who can apply for asylum in another country?
According to the Law Regulating the Right to Asylum, those who are refugees can apply for asylum in another country. The 1951 Geneva Convention recognizes as a refugee:
“Any person who, due to well-founded fears of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinions, membership of a certain social group, gender or sexual orientation, is outside the country of their nationality and cannot or Because of these fears, it does not want to avail itself of the protection of such a country ”.
When someone asks for asylum in another country, they will not become a refugee until their request is positively resolved.
Meanwhile, applicants could not be returned, expelled or extradited and their detention should be avoided, under international law, although Hungary has created laws contrary to European law itself to carry out mass arrests at its borders.