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Foreign Policy Centre

Ideas for a fairer world

News & Updates

> New FPC Publication: Shelter from the Storm?

Governments in the former Soviet Union are routinely flouting European and international rules designed to protect refugees, asylum seekers and others who are at risk of persecution in their home countries, says a new Foreign Policy Centre publication entitled Shelter from the Storm? The publication shows that Commonwealth of Independent States member countries are putting regional ties and alleged security concerns ahead of their duties to prevent individuals being returned to face possible torture and other human rights abuses. It shows how the European Court of Human Rights can be a lifeline for those facing extradition to Central Asia, but also that Russia has flouted some judgements and extradited individuals to places such as Uzbekistan where torture and other abuse is believed to be rife.

Shelter from the Storm? reports cases where Central Asian activists have been kidnapped on foreign soil by their governments, or illegally extradited with the collusion of the Russian security services. It shows the ways in which governments from across the former Soviet Union seek to harass activists in exile through surveillance and the abuse of Interpol procedures. The publication also shows that tougher immigration rules in Europe are making it harder for at-risk activists to seek short-term refuge without applying for asylum and that asylum seekers from Russia, Central Asia and the South Caucasus face uneven treatment depending on where they make their claims.

Shelter from the Storm? The asylum, refuge and extradition situation facing activists from the former Soviet Union in the CIS and Europe contains contributions from experts including: Felix Corley (Forum 18); Elisabeth Dyvik (ICORN - The International Cities of Refuge Network); Julia Hall and Maisy Weicherding (Amnesty International); Adam Hug (ed., Foreign Policy Centre); Dr David Lewis (University of Exeter); Kris Pollett and Claire Rimmer Quaid (European Council on Refugees and Exiles - ECRE); Alex Tinsley (Fair Trials International); and Daria Trenina (MGIMO-University).

> The State Monitors Citizens Monitoring the State: The New Face of Civic Engagement in Russia

In a new article FPC Research Associate Catherine Owen examines the Russian Government's plans to regulate civic engagement through a system of bodies linked to the state, known as obshchestvennyi kontrol'. She examines both the original stated objectives of increasing public participation on the development of laws and the monitoring of performance of public institutions, and how the current draft has the potential to restrict independent civil society activity.

> Enterprising Africa: What role can financial inclusion play in driving employment-led growth?

Between February and June 2014 the Foreign Policy Centre held a series of three roundtable discussions supported by Barclays, that sought to explore how greater financial inclusion has the potential to help drive the development of new businesses and new jobs, thereby igniting development transformation across Africa. In an effort to support action to help redefine the international development agenda post-2015, the event series seeks to explore the interface between financial inclusion and employment creation – two pressing global public policy priorities.

The project sought to examine a number of key questions. How might improving the access, distribution and use of a wide range of affordable and appropriate financial services and products (financial inclusion) facilitate job creation and stimulate balanced economic growth across Africa? In addition, how might the private sector build partnerships to champion strong leadership, sustainable innovation and responsible engagement in order to help develop an enabling environment where universal financial inclusion and employment-led growth can thrive?

The roundtable findings are summarised in a series of briefing notes. These will be followed by a full report to be published in the autumn/winter of 2014 that will build on the discussions and insights exchanged during the roundtables and capture the salient issues discussed and key findings identified.

> Why Pakistan is the key to Britain's South Asian renaissance

Guest author Jack Goodman gives his take on current British policy towards Pakistan. He argues that by broadening its engagement with Pakistan from a relationship based on security to a broader economic, strategic and cultural approach, the UK can play a leadership role both in Pakistan and the wider region.

> FPC Briefing: Above all, a Prime Minister for Palestinian Unity?

Dr Stephen Royle, who has been a consultant to the outgoing Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, gives his views on the progress made over the last year under Hamdallah's leadership.