To get refugee protection, a claimant must prove they are either a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection. A Convention refugee is someone who cannot or does not want to return to their country because of a well-founded fear of being persecuted, based on at least one of these things:
- political opinion
- membership in a particular social group.
A social group can be:
- A group someone is part of because of something they cannot change, such as their gender, sexual orientation, tribe, or relationship to a family member who is politically active.
- A group they chose to be part of but cannot change now, because they belonged to it in the past. Example: having been a student at a certain school.
- A group they chose to join out of deep conviction or principle, such as a labour union or a human rights organization.
A Convention refugee may fear persecution either by government authorities or others. To be a Convention refugee, a claimant who fears persecution by others must show that their government cannot or will not protect them.
To be recognized as a Convention refugee, a claimant must also show that there is no place in their country that they could get to safely, where they would be free from the risk that they face, and where it would be reasonable to expect them to live. This is called the 'internal flight alternative'.