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Foreign Policy Centre

Ideas for a fairer world

News & Updates

> New 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 Event :The information battle- London

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

DATE: Tuesday 21 March 2017

TIME: 18:00 - 19:30

VENUE: Committee Room 9, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Speakers:

  • Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
  • Dr Justin Schlosberg, Lecturer in Journalism and Media, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Dr David Lewis, Senior Lecturer and Director of Education, University of Exeter
  • Further speakers to be confirmed shortly

Chair: Maeve Shearlaw, Commissioning Editor– World Networks, The Guardian

This event will focus on the ways in which governments of former Soviet Union (FSU) countries look to shape international narratives about themselves by using media, social media, advertising and supportive organisations to promote their points of view and exert pressure on those who oppose them. The event will look to build on and broaden the existing literature on Russian-backed internationally focused media outlets and pro-government media elsewhere in the region. It will explore how they operate to shape global narratives about their countries, influence thinking on international disputes, blunt criticism of their actions while challenging Western values and behaviour. It will look at similarities and differences between the operation of outlets from the FSU and Western supported global news services.

The event will examine the ways in which authoritarian regimes work to project their image abroad beyond the use of the media. This includes the use of sponsorship and advertising to shape international perceptions in addition to the way in which regimes create or support their own think tanks, pressure groups, diasporan organisations, parliamentary groups and work with others (such as public affairs agencies) to promote their policy agendas and influence the responses of international institutions and policy makers.

The event may also explore how government backed broadcasters, press and websites from the FSU run stories to attempt to discredit the work of diasporan and other activists challenging official narratives from outside the country. At the direction or encouragement of the authorities this can involve direct harassment, the production of untrue or politically distorted stories that aim to make activists' lives difficult even when abroad (as well as putting pressure on friends and family who remain in the country). The event will explore the growing fight for control of the social media space - with organized pro-government activity becoming increasingly visible both in responding to the actions of opposition and independent civil society and in directly promoting their agenda online. These methods include the use of paid-for trolling and the mobilization of 'patriotic youth movements' to target opponents and spread pro-government narratives to national, diasporan and international audiences.

Please RSVP to events@fpc.org.uk providing your name and affiliation (if you have one). Free copies of the new publication will be available. The event is free and open to all.


> 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 – 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.


> FPC Briefing: Why Burma's political transition should be viewed with caution

John Harley Breen examines the challenges Burma/Myanmar faces as it attempts to transition to a more open political structure after decades of military and colonial domination. It looks at the history of military rule and the economic and political power structures that this embedded. The paper looks at relationship between the state and minority groups across the country and challenges around the emerging peace process.