Skip to main content
Логотип Європейської Комісії
Migration and Home Affairs

well-founded fear of persecution


The fear of persecution experienced by an applicant for international protection that is considered both genuine and objectively justifiable (e.g. because the person concerned has already been subject to persecution or serious harm, or to direct threats of such persecution or such harm, and there is no good reason to consider that such persecution or serious harm will not be repeated).


Derived by EMN from IOM Glossary 2019 ed.


  • BG: добре обоснован страх от преследване
  • CS: odůvodněný strach z pronásledování
  • DE: begründete Furcht vor Verfolgung
  • EL: βάσιμος φόβος δίωξης
  • EN: well-founded fear of persecution
  • ES: temor justificado de persecución
  • ET: põhjendatud tagakiusamise kartus
  • FI: perusteltu vainon pelko
  • FR: crainte fondée de persécution
  • GA: faitíos roimh ghéarleanúint a bhfuil bunús / údar maith leis
  • HU: üldöztetéstől való megalapozott félelem
  • IT: giustificato timore di persecuzione
  • LT: visiškai pagrįsta baimė būti persekiojamam
  • LV: pamatotas bailes no vajāšanas
  • MT: Biża’ ġustifikata ta’ persekuzzjoni
  • NL: gegronde vrees voor vervolging
  • PL: uzasadniona obawa przed prześladowaniem
  • PT: receio fundado de perseguição
  • RO: teamă de persecuţie bine fondată
  • SK: opodstatnená obava z prenasledovania
  • SL: utemeljen strah pred preganjanjem
  • SV: välgrundad fruktan för förföljelse
  • NO: velbegrunnet frykt for forfølgelse (b); velgrunna frykt for forfølging (n)
  • KA: დევნის საფუძვლიანი შიში
  • UK: обґрунтовані побоювання переслідування

Broader Term(s)

Related Term(s)


1. This is a key element of the definition of a refugee in the Geneva Refugee Convention and Protocol. Well-foundedness of fear contains both a subjective element (fear of persecution) and an objective element (the fear must have an objectively justifiable basis). Both elements must be established for the fear to be considered well-founded within the meaning of the refugee definition. According to the 1951 Convention, persecution must be linked to any one of the five specified grounds: race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group and political opinion.
2. The subjective element is satisfied if the applicant‘s fear of persecution is genuine. In the context of refugee status determination, fear has been defined as an apprehension or awareness of danger. General dissent or disagreement with a government or the desire for more personal freedom or an improved economic situation without anything more does not satisfy this element (see UNHCR guidelines on international protection on the UNHCR website).
3. The objective element is satisfied when the applicant has established that there is a reasonable possibility that they will actually suffer the feared persecution.