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Foreign Policy Centre

Ideas for a fairer world

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> New FPC Publication-The information battle

How governments in the former Soviet Union promote their agendas & attack their opponents abroad

A new Foreign Policy Centre publication examines the ways in which the governments of former Soviet Union (FSU) look to shape international narratives about themselves by using media, social media, advertising and supportive organisations to promote their worldview and challenge the people, institutions and ideas that oppose them. The information battle examines the influence of Russian media content in the former Soviet Union and the wider world. This is delivered through Russian domestic TV channels reaching Russian-speaking audiences in the region, the developing role of the news agency Sputnik and the international broadcaster RT. The publication examines how these outlets are used not only to promote Russian political narratives but to challenge Western approaches and sow confusion about what is going on in the world. It offers ideas for how independent broadcasters and international outlets can provide effective alternatives.

Despite cracking down on Western-backed NGOs at home, the governments of the former Soviet Union are seeking to directly influence the European and US political debate through NGOs, think tanks and lobbying organisations. This publication looks at how to improve the transparency and accountability of such actions. Repressive regimes that use advertising and the hosting of international events to promote themselves, are increasingly being challenged by human rights defenders through the publicity such activities bring. It also looks at the way social media is used by regimes to target opposition activists and other critics. The publication argues that, in what is increasingly becoming a battle involving the use of soft power and information, Western institutions have been losing ground and must take action in order to meet the challenge.

The publication contains contributions by regional and international experts: Natalia Antelava, Coda Story; Ana Divali and Revaz Koiava, Caucasian House; Arzu Geybulla; Richard Giragosian, Regional Studies Center; Melissa Hooper, Human Rights First; Adam Hug (ed.), Foreign Policy Centre; Rasto Kuzel, Memo 98; Dr David Lewis, University of Exeter; Ben Nimmo, Atlantic Council; and Dr Justin Schlosberg, Birkbeck, University of London. Kindly supported by the Open Society Foundations as part of the FPC's Exporting Repression project.


> FPC Publication-Iran Human Rights Review: Due Process

In this latest issue, the Iran Human Rights Review focuses on due process in the Iranian legal system. The review contains contributions from experienced human rights lawyers, activists and defenders. The Iran Human Rights Review: Due Process focuses on a number of key issues including the legal history of Iran and the current legal system of the Islamic Republic laws, with a particular focus on areas that either are in need of or are open to improvement to provide access to justice and ensure the legal system follows due process. The key arrears for improvement include resolving the tensions between Iran's national codes, its international commitments and its religiously inspired 'qesas' laws, with a particular focus on the use of the death penalty and juvenile executions.

The Iran Human Rights Review: Due Process edition was edited by Tahirih Danesh and Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam. It contains contributions from experienced human rights lawyers, activists and defenders such as the former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Dr Ahmed Shaheed and a number of other experts including Roya Kashefi, Sedigheh Vasmaghi, Shahin Milani, Ladan Boroumand, Kamyar Behrang, Azin Tadjdini, Araz Fanni, Behrouz Javid-Tehrani and Rebin Rahmani. Leading international lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC has kindly provided the foreword.


> FPC Publication-No shelter: the harassment of activists abroad by intelligence services from the former Soviet Union

No Shelter

A new Foreign Policy Centre publication No shelter: the harassment of activists abroad by intelligence services from the former Soviet Union examines the experiences of activists and other people who have had to leave their former Soviet country of origin due to the risk of persecution at home, but who are unable to escape the pressures of their country's security services. It looks at both the legal and illegal means used by the security services to put pressure on exiles from Interpol Red Notices and formal extradition procedures, to surveillance, harassment, physical attacks, kidnapping and assassination. Though the publication looks at the issue across the post-Soviet region there is a particular focus on the activities of the security services from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, and on both Turkey and Russia as places where exiles are most at risk. No Shelter examines regional security service cooperation and collusion in putting pressure on activists, alongside the influence of Western activities that have helped exacerbate the situation.

The publication contains contributions from: Nadejda Ataeva, Association for Human Rights in Central Asia; Civil Rights Defenders; Dr Mark Galeotti, Institute of International Relations-Prague; Arzu Geybulla; Giorgi Gogia, Human Rights Watch; Dr John Heathershaw, Eve Bishop and Rosa Brown, University of Exeter; Adam Hug (Ed.), Foreign Policy Centre; Dr Edward Lemon, Columbia University.


> FPC Briefing: How Investment Treaties have a chilling effect on Human Rights

In a new FPC Briefing Sam Fowles (Researcher in Law at Queen Mary University of London) argues that human rights are the ultimate arbiter of the relationship between the state and the individual, yet a new generation of trade and investment agreements are increasingly subjecting human rights to the interests of international investors.

Fowles writes that this 'Second Generation' of agreements has transformed provisions intended to protect investors from state overreach, into guarantees of preferential treatment. This allows investors to exert an unprecedented level of influence on governments. This has often been brought to bear in relation to human rights, with international investors able to compel governments to abandon or roll back measures indented to protect and promote rights. Fowles believes that with Brexit approaching, the UK must shortly embrace Second Generation treaties. Negotiators must, therefore, take account of the risks such instruments pose to fundamental human rights.


> FPC Briefing – The Coming Storm: US-China Relations Under Trump

FPC Senior Associate Dr Chris Ogden sets out some of the political and strategic challenges facing US-China relations ahead of the coming Trump Presidency.

Dr Ogden's briefing argues that both during and after the 2016 US presidential elections China featured significantly in the campaign of eventual victor Donald Trump. In the President-elect's eyes Beijing is Washington's most dangerous strategic competitor that threatens the US's ability to control and lead the world. Following on from his victory, Trump has continued to directly condemn China, and has in many ways accelerated his attacks on Beijing. In doing so, the new American leader appears to be at best questioning, and at worst shattering, several of the key understandings that were thought to have underpinned US-China relations, which serves to suggest that the world's two largest economies are entering a stormy period.