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Last updated: February 2019

Torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment 

In the cases of applicants for which torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment may be a real risk, there may often be a nexus to a Convention ground, and such individuals would, therefore, qualify for refugee status. However, with reference to cases where there is no nexus to a Convention ground and the applicant would not qualify for refugee status, the need for subsidiary protection under Article 15(b) QD should be examined.

When examining the need for protection under Article 15(b) QD, the following considerations should be taken into account:

 Cult and gang violence: Cult and gang violence is usually motivated by financial gain and power struggle. Where there is no nexus to a reason for persecution, being subjected to criminal acts, such as killing, armed robbery, kidnapping, destruction of property, extortion, cattle rustling (e.g. in Zamfara), etc. may qualify under Article 15(b) QD.

 Health care unavailability and socio-economic conditions: It is important to note that serious harm must take the form of conduct on the part of a third party (Article 6 QD). In themselves, the general unavailability of health care, education or other socio-economic elements (e.g. the situation of IDPs, difficulties in finding livelihood opportunities, housing) are not considered to fall within the scope of inhuman or degrading treatment under Article 15(b) QD, unless there is intentional conduct on the part of a third party; for example, the intentional deprivation of the applicant of appropriate health care.

 Arbitrary arrests, illegal detention and prison conditions: Special attention should be paid to the phenomena of arbitrary arrests and illegal detention, as well as to prison conditions. It can be assessed that in cases where the prosecution or punishment is grossly unfair or disproportionate, or where a person would be subjected to prison conditions which are not compatible with respect for human dignity, a situation of serious harm under Article 15(b) QD can occur. When assessing the conditions of detention, the following elements can, for example, be taken into consideration (cumulatively): number of detained persons in a limited space, adequacy of sanitation facilities, heating, lighting, sleeping arrangements, food, recreation or contact with the outside world. Reports mention overcrowding in prisons and poor prison conditions, long pre-trial detention periods, and cases of use of lethal and excessive force, as well as obtaining confessions through torture by the Nigerian security forces. Therefore, some cases may qualify under Article 15(b) QD.

Please note that exclusion considerations could be relevant.