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According to the QD, the concept of political opinion shall, in particular, include:                         

An important aspect of the definition provided by the QD is that political opinion may be a ground for persecution not only by the state, but also by non-state actors. It is wider than one’s views on official government policy. It may relate to the policies of any potential actor of persecution (including non-state actors), their content and methods of advancement.

Specific considerations

Evasion of military service. A specific case under the ground of political opinion may be the evasion of military service. In order to consider this as a relevant ground for persecution, participation in military action should be contrary to the applicant’s genuine political, religious or moral convictions. Guidance for the assessment of whether or not the punishment for such evasion would amount to persecution is provided above under the specific considerations in the subsection ‘Persecution’.

Civil servants. Civil servants may be perceived by the actors of persecution to hold a political opinion in favour of the government.

The fact of leaving the country. In some cases, the mere fact of leaving the country of origin irregularly or staying abroad could be perceived by the authorities in the country of origin as holding a particular political opinion.