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As a large number of the present day asylum claims concern situations of civil war or of a break down of (central) governmental authority the issue of persecution by third parties is of great importance. Although the main characteristics of the different positions are clear, precise information about the interpretation and the application of the concept of third party persecution in the Member States of the European Union is still lacking. With a view to conclude to a more precise policy position on the issue the Dutch Ministry of Justice considered it necessary to commission through its Research and Documentation Centre this comparative research on the interpretation and the application of the concept of persecution by third parties in some Member States of the European Union (France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, United Kindom) and in Switzerland and Canada. The country reports based on the replies of the respondents are published as annex 2. Chapter III offers a comparative analysis of the country reports and thereby an extensive answer to the research questions. Chapter IV contains the conclusions'of the comparative and theoretical analysis of the proceding chapters with reference to above formulated questions.