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Foreign Policy Centre

Ideas for a fairer world


Hostage taking, piracy and ransom payments: ethical dilemmas and practical challenges

Date: Wednesday 6th March 2013


Venue: Committee Room 11, Houses of Parliament

The Foreign Policy Centre is hosting a Westminster Seminar, with the kind support of Control Risks, that will discuss some of the key issues in the debate around hostage taking, piracy and the payment of ransoms. The event will enable a wide ranging debate around the public policy response to these issues in the wake of the recent report of the UK-led International Task Force, and earlier Foreign Affairs Select Committee and House of Lords reports.

The event aims to examine the current situation around the world in relation to the taking of hostages. The event will explore the economic, security, political and social factors that drive hostage taking. It will also discuss the mechanisms of hostage negotiation and ransom payment, while debating the feasibility of alternatives to such payments; looking at both ethical and practical issues. Participants would examine the issue of hostage taking by terrorist groups and links between those involved in piracy,extremist political movements and international terrorism.


  • Alistair Burt MP, Foreign Office Minister responsible for the International Piracy Ransoms Taskforce
  • Richard Fenning , Chief Executive Officer, Control Risks
  • Judith and Oliver Tebbutt
  • Dr Anja Shortland, Reader in Economics, Brunel University

Chair: Con Coughlin, Associate Editor, Daily Telegraph

The event is free and open to all but will operate under the Chatham House Rule.

Please RSVP to

Download Hostage taking, piracy and ransom payments (300 kilobyte PDF)