Jun 24

Transnational Politics of Central Asia and Beyond – 26 June, 2019

ESCAS 2019 Pre-Conference Workshop
Wednesday 26 June 2019
Upper Lounge at Reed Hall, Streatham Campus, University of Exeter

This workshop is part of the Central Asian Political Exiles project and is organised by Saipira Furstenberg and John Heathershaw.  The concept note for the workshop is here: The Transnational Politics of Central Asia and beyond (PDF).

The objectives of the workshop are as follows:

  1. To identify and compare practices of diaspora politics of Central Asia and neighbouring regions of post-Soviet Eurasia, from questions of minority rights in Central Asia, diaspora mobilization overseas, and political oppositions in exile.
  2. To identify and compare practices of transnational repression of Central Asia and neighbouring regions of post-Soviet Eurasia, from those limiting freedom of speech and movement to the most extreme tactics of forced extradition and assassination.
  3. To evaluate existing mechanisms to mitigate risks and address challenges in connection with the above and explore further actions in order to protect and secure the rights of the individuals subject to transnational repression.
  4. Provide recommendations for relevant stakeholders, including Governments Agencies, INTERPOL, UNHCR.


09:00-09:20 Arrival

09.20-09:30 Welcome: John Heathershaw, University of Exeter

9:30-11:00 Session 1 – The nature of diaspora politics in Eurasian Space and beyond

  • What is the relationship between the state and its diaspora (non-state actors and their citizens or co-ethnics‌) abroad?
  • How can we characterise policies pursued by Eurasian states towards their citizens abroad?
  • What are the responses of Eurasian ‌diasporic ‌communities‌ towards their home state? ‌
  • Speakers:
    • Nate Schenkkan, Freedom House
    • Murad Ismayilov*, University of Cambridge
    • Jeremy Smith*, University of Eastern Finland
  • Chair: Maran Turner, Freedom Now!

1130-13:00 Session 2 – Transnational repression in the age of rising authoritarianism

  • How can we characterise patterns of transnational repression?
  • What sort interaction we can observer between states pursuing transnational repression strategies?
  • How does human rights law and practice apply in the context of transnational repression?
  • Speakers:
    • Noah Tucker, George Washington University
    • Sarah Calderone*, Columbia University
    • Ablimit Baki Elterish*, Manchester University
    • John Heathershaw, University of Exeter
  • Chair: Nate Schenkkan, Freedom House

13:00-14:00 Lunch

1400-15:30 Session 3 – Mitigating risks and protecting individuals

  • In the context of transnational repression, what international factors influence state’s political behaviours towards their diaspora?
  • To what extend current institutions in place are effective to protect diaspora population vulnerable to state repression?
  • What are the new advocacy strategies to adopt to fight transnational repression?
  • Speakers:
    • Bruno Min, Fair Trials
    • Maran Turner, Freedom Now!
    • Yan Matusevich, Freelance journalist and independent researcher
    • Marius Fossum, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights
  • Chair: Adam Hug, FPC

1600-1700 Session 4 – Central Asian Transnational Repression (CATREP) report

  • What should be the purpose of the CATREP report?
  • What should be the form and content of CARTEP?
  • Which issues, groups and/or countries should we cover?
  • Chair: John Heathershaw, University of Exeter


Speakers should speak to the stated questions for 5-10 minutes on the basis of the country, region or issue area of their expertise; they should not present a paper. 

Those participants that are presenting papers at the conference are marked with an asterisk (*).