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Migration and Home Affairs


Serious human rights violations, including a threat to life or freedom, as well as other kinds of serious harm, on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group.


UNHCR Master Glossary of Terms


  • BG: преследване
  • CS: pronásledování
  • DE: Verfolgung
  • EL: δίωξη
  • EN: persecution
  • ES: persecución
  • ET: tagakiusamine
  • FI: vaino
  • FR: persécution
  • GA: géarleanúint
  • HU: üldöz(tet)és
  • IT: persecuzione
  • LT: persekiojimas
  • LV: vajāšana
  • MT: Persekuzzjoni
  • NL: vervolging
  • PL: prześladowanie
  • PT: perseguição
  • RO: persecuţie
  • SK: prenasledovanie
  • SL: preganjanje
  • SV: förföljelse
  • NO: forfølgelse (b); forfølging (n)
  • KA: დევნა
  • UK: переслідування

Narrower Term(s)

Related Term(s)


1. There is no universally accepted definition of persecution and the core concept of persecution was deliberately not defined in the Geneva Refugee Convention and Protocol suggesting that the drafters intended it to be interpreted in a sufficiently flexible manner so as to encompass ever-changing forms of persecution.

2. In addition, lesser forms of harm may cumulatively amount to persecution. Discrimination will also amount to persecution where the effect leads to a situation that is intolerable or substantially prejudicial to the person concerned.

3. Persecution can be related to action by the authorities of the State, but may also emanate from non-state agents, such as armed groups, criminal or organized gangs, family members or the general population, where the State is unable or unwilling to provide protection.