Refugee - asylum seeker
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Under the EU law(Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted)any non-EU country national or stateless person who is located outside of his/her country of origin and who is unwilling or unable to return to it owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group is a refugee.
«refugee status» means the recognition by a Member State of a third country national or a stateless person as a refugee
Applicants who do not qualify for refugee status, but who can not return to their country of origin due to a real risk of suffering serious harm (torture or inhuman or degrading treatment, death penalty or execution, serious individual threat to the life or person as result of indiscriminate violence) have the right to subsidiary protection.
«person eligible for subsidiary protection» means a third country national or a stateless person who does not qualify as a refugee but in respect of whom substantial grounds have been shown for believing that the person concerned, if returned to his or her country of origin, or in the case of a stateless person, to his or her country of former habitual residence, would face a real risk of suffering serious harm and is unable, or, owing to such risk, unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country.
‘International protection’ means the refugee and subsidiary protection status and may be withdrawn if the circumstances in the country of origin change to such a degree that protection is no longer required. This is also the case if a person has committed serious non-political crimes. Refugee status and subsidiary protection status are two separate but complementary statuses.
Asylum seeker is any third country national who applied for for international protection meaning a request made by a third country national or a stateless person for protection from a Member State, who can be understood to seek refugee status or subsidiary protection status, and who does not explicitly request another kind of protection, that can be applied for separately.
A 2010 evaluation report concluded that vagueness and ambiguity surrounding several concepts in the Directive left room for widely divergent interpretations by EU States. It also appeared that a significant share of decisions taken at first instance on individual cases were overturned on appeal, as they were based on criteria which were insufficiently clear or precise. To address those deficiencies, as well as those identified during the consultation process accompanying the Green Paper on the future of the Common European Asylum System, the Commission proposed amending the Qualification Directive.
Under the Geneva United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951, a refugee is a person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.