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> New: Traditional religion and political power: Examining the role of the church in Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and Moldova

Traditional religion

The FPC new publication Traditional religion and political power: Examining the role of the church in Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and Moldova examines the political and social role of the Orthodox Churches in Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova and of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It explores the ways in which the churches have contributed to the development of national identities since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the role they play in civil society. The publication looks at the nature of the relationship between church and state; how the churches influence, support and challenge the secular authorities in their hold on power and their response to 'traditional values' issues such as LGBTI and minority faith rights. The publication also looks at the ways in which the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian Government have been looking to influence this debate in these countries.

The publication contains contributions from: Professor Yulia Antonyan, Yerevan State University; Eka Chitanava, Tolerance and Diversity Institute; Stepan Danielyan, Collaboration for Democracy Centre; Adam Hug (ed.), Foreign Policy Centre; Myroslav Marynovych, Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv; Victor Munteanu, Soros Foundation Moldova; Rev. Fr. Dr Daniel Payne; Professor Oleksandr Sagan, Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy and Irakli Vacharadze, Executive Director, Identoba. Kindly supported by the Open Society Foundations.

> Institutionally blind? International organisations and human rights abuses in the former Soviet Union


DATE: Tuesday 9th February 2016

TIME: 6.00pm-7.30pm

VENUE: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Room, Houses of Parliament, SW1A 0AA


  • Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, Chair, APPG on the Rule of Law and former Attorney General
  • Anna Chernova, Senior Regional Policy Coordinator, Middle East/Eurasia, Oxfam
  • Further speakers to be confirmed shortly

Chair: Luke Harding, Foreign Correspondent, The Guardian

Please RSVP to providing your name and any affiliation.

This Westminster Seminar will examine the work of a range of international institutions active in the former Soviet Union including the Council of Europe, OSCE, EU,CIS, UN, EITI, Interpol and the international financial institutions, looking at how they respond to the major human rights challenges in the region. It will act as the launch event for a new FPC publication bringing together essays examining these issues from a range of experts. This seminar is the first component of a major new FPC project entitled Exporting Repression, kindly supported by the Open Society Foundations.

Institutionally Blind will explore the ways in which human rights activists and governments from the former Soviet Union region operate within and towards these organisations to promote their own positions and challenge each others narratives. It will examine how Western Governments and parliamentarians engage with and work through these organisations, looking at how their domestic political debates, such as around the UK's relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights, influence the behaviour of authoritarian regimes in the region towards these institutions.

> FPC Briefing: The EU on human rights- Turning words into action

In this new FPC Briefing by Senior Research Associate Jacqueline Hale examines the EU's record on promoting human rights, democracy, the rule of law and international justice through its external actions following the launch of its global human rights policy in 2012. Following the failures of the Arab Spring, a troubled neighbourhood policy, deepening tensions with Russia, a 'migration crisis', rising xenophobia and efforts to undermine human rights by member states' governments ranging from Hungary to the UK Hale explores the more challenging context into which the EU's human rights policy has been revised in 2015. She argues that despite its roots as a peace project and community of rules and norms, in practice the EU has consistently underperformed on human rights, and its own values project is frequently undermined amid growing internal and external challenges. The briefing examines whether the EU will be able to learn the lessons of past failures, and address the growing gap between rousing words on paper and lack of political will to act on the rhetoric. It examines the 2015-19 human rights action plan in light of the EU's mixed record so far and argues that this time round, the EU has every interest in producing a human rights policy with teeth.

> FPC Briefing: How Do International Economic Sanctions (Not) Work?

In this new FPC Briefing Dr Lee Jones argues that instead of simply asking whether sanctions work, the international community should first ask: 'how are they supposed to effect the change we seek, and do they actually "work" this way in practice?' This research looks into how 'economic pain' translates – or fails to translate – into 'political gain' in target states. The starting point for Jones is that political outcomes in target states are predominantly determined by struggles between ruling and opposition coalitions of social and political forces. Sanctions 'work' by manipulating the political economy of targets, with consequences for the composition of forces contesting state power, plus their resources, alliances and strategies. Where sanctions can compel ruling and opposition coalitions to adopt strategic responses that meet the goals of those imposing sanctions, they may be 'successful'. However, this is generally possible only where opposition groups are already powerful and well organised. In contexts where oppositions are weak and fragmented, sanctions tend to entrench their exclusion from power, even if they also manage to weaken ruling coalitions. Since this is often the case in states where sanctions are used, sanctions are often ineffective. The briefing gives some suggestions for policymakers that include the need for careful planning, including plausibly specifying the mechanisms by which they expect sanctions to operate. If the mechanisms cannot be identified, Dr Jones argues sanctions should not be imposed.

> Investing in women's economic resilience & social wellbeing: Rethinking the role of private sector development in Africa

Part of the 'Africa Rising? Building Africa's Productive Capacity for Inclusive Growth' series

In a series of Foreign Policy Centre (FPC) roundtable discussions - supported by Nestlé - the FPC seeks to explore how business can play a more constructive role in building resilience to improve women's economic and social wellbeing across Africa. The proposed series of roundtable discussions come at a time when global development priorities are being reshaped and redefined in the wake of a post-2015 UN Millennium Development Goals' agenda. In addition, 2015 marks the 15th anniversary of the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. This resolution promotes the importance of women in building peace and security in states affected by conflict. All this is coupled with the fact that the global economic recovery remains fragile. Existing inequality and insecurity disproportionately affects women, and has been compounded by the unprecedented global economic crisis, on-going austerity and mounting uncertainty. These conditions present very real challenges for public spending dedicated to development. As such, understanding the development transformation role played by business and enterprise has become increasingly important.