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Please note that this country guidance document has been replaced by a more recent one. The latest versions of country guidance documents are available at

Last updated: December 2020

Subsidiary protection under Article 15(c) QD is granted to any person in respect of whom substantial grounds have been shown for believing that he or she, if returned, would face a real risk of a serious and individual threat to his or her life or person by reason of indiscriminate violence.

The nexus ‘by reason of’ refers to the causal link between the indiscriminate violence and the harm (serious threat to a civilian’s life or person).

The interpretation of the causation ‘by reason of’ may not be limited to harm which is directly caused by the indiscriminate violence or by acts that emanate from the actors in the conflict. To a certain extent, it may also include the indirect effect of indiscriminate violence in situations of armed conflict. As long as there is a demonstrable link to the indiscriminate violence, such elements may be taken into account in the assessments, for example: widespread criminal violence as a result of lawlessness, destruction of the necessary means to survive, destruction of infrastructure, denial of or limited access of humanitarian aid. Armed clashes and/or road blockages can also lead to food supply problems that cause famine or to limited or no access to healthcare facilities in certain regions in Afghanistan.