The law requires for an individual to have been threatened by the risk of serious harm in his/her country of origin in order to have the right to apply for and receive protection under the form of humanitarian status.

Serious harm consists of:

• death penalty or execution;

• torture

• inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

• serious and personal threat to a civilian’s life or person by reason of indiscriminate violence in a situation of international or internal armed conflict.

Serious harm may be inflicted as a result of actions (or inaction) of the state via its bodies and institutions. In addition to this, however, the actor of serious harm may also be a non-state organization which the state is not able or unwilling to effectively counteract. For example, the actor of threat or harm may be a terrorist or military group which the state authorities, the army, the police or the court are unable to effectively counter in order to eliminate the threat and harm to the life and safety of civilians.

A real risk of serious harm may arise by reason of events that have occurred after the foreigner left his/her country of origin. A real risk of harm may also arise by reason of activities in which the applicant for protection has engaged since he/she left his/her country of origin, unless the applicant has engaged in such activities for the only purpose of receiving protection in the other state.

It is considered that there is no real risk of serious harm where a state authority or organization which controls the state or a considerable part of its territory has taken measures to ensure protection against harm, and the foreigner has access to this protection.

While serious harm has been established, humanitarian status might not be granted if in a part of the country of origin there is no risk of such harm to the life or security of civilians. However, the applicant must have had unhindered access to this safe part of the state, and the situation there must be lasting and of a non-temporary nature.