Feb 05

Central Asia Political Exiles Newsletter #1 — Winter 2017/18

Message from the team

Welcome to the first issue of the Central Asian Political Exiles (CAPE) Newsletter.

As the year 2017 is now closed, it is good to look back and reflect on the past events. Over the past decade, Central Asian states have grown emboldened and have gained influence within the global arena, transcending borders from one part of the world to the other. Globalisation processes have facilitated the increased reach of autocrats. As the Central Asian states are becoming increasingly embedded within the structures of liberal societies, so does the configuration of their domestic politics that spans beyond traditional territorial borders. The CAPE project tracks these processes, increases our knowledge base, and offers support to lawyers, activists and organizations supporting transnational justice.

For information about upcoming events and new blog posts, please continue to visit our website and please already mark May 2018 on your calendar as the date of our second CAPE database release.

We look forward to seeing you at our future events and wish you a great year ahead!

Recent publications


Policy papers

Blog posts

Major events

Workshop: Conducting Social Science Research in Risky Environments. European University Institute, Firenze (IT), 19/01/2018

This one-day workshop discussed new trends in social-science research carried out in risky contexts, the challenges posed to the safety and security of researchers and informants, as well as the impact of these trends and challenges on knowledge production. It gathered a group of experienced researchers from a number of European universities and institutions who carry out fieldwork in challenging environments (because of the subject of their research and/or of the regions in which they conduct their fieldwork).

The workshop provided a space to discuss the constraints, risks and challenges of conducting research in risky environments, as well as to share experiences and ideas with the aim of reaching consensus on best practice.

Event: Closing the Door: The challenge facing activists from the former Soviet Union seeking asylum or refuge. The Foreign Policy Centre, House of Commons, 04/12/2017

On the 28th of December, we had the chance to present our work during the Foreign Policy Centre event held in the House of Commons in London.

This event examined how countries, particularly in Europe, are making it more difficult for activists and others from the former Soviet Union who are at risk of persecution to seek refuge or secure asylum. It discussed ways in which countries are increasingly sending those at risk back to their country of origin, sometimes misusing the concepts of ‘Internal Protection’ and ‘safe third countries’ . The event further explored the need for asylum systems to better respond to how regimes target the families of activists.

This event launched the new ‘Closing the Door’ publication, part of the Exporting Repression Series in partnership with the Open Society Foundations.

Speakers included:

  • Claire Rimmer Quaid, Senior Policy and Project Officer, European Council on Refugees and Exiles,
  • Dr Leila Alieva, Academic Visitor, University of Oxford,
  • Dr Saipira Furstenberg, Postdoctoral fellow and Project Manager, Central Asian Political Exiles (CAPE) Project, University of Exeter.

The Chair was Baroness Stern (Secretary, All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights).

Workshop: Academic Freedom and Production of Knowledge in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia Today. University of Exeter, 28/10/2017

On the 28th of October, the ExCAS team was involved in the workshop on academic freedom in Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. The workshop examined the issues of academic freedom, academic professions, and the production of knowledge in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia today.

Panel: Getting Justice or Getting Even? The Misuse of International Criminal Justice to Settle Scores and Silence Dissent. Kingsley Napley International Criminal Law Conference, London, 18/01/2018

The event looked at the ways in which the machinery of international criminal justice has been used as a tool in the context of political and commercial disputes and examined issues such as INTERPOL Red Notices and extradition procedures in the context of commercial or private disputes and the ways in which extradition procedures in the CIS states are used to pursue political opponents and the international response.

Upcoming events

New York, 3–5/05/2018: Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) conference

Understanding authoritarianism in the age of globalisation: Authoritarian politics, the state and security in Central Asia.
Homepages: Nationalities.org/conventions and ASNConvention.com (no registration instructions as of writing).

University of Exeter, 31/05/2018: Workshop on Political Exiles and Transnational Repression

The aim of this workshop is to examine transnational state repression and politics of exile in countries of Central Asia, and challenges facing activists from the former Soviet Union.

Chatham House, London, 20/06/2018: Launch of the 2nd edition of the CAPE database

This event will host the launch of the first version of the database to include additions and corrections suggested by you, the public — scholars, exiles & relatives, activists and lawyers.