All Commons Briefing Papers
88 Documents
27.07.2016Somalia: July 2016 update
Somalia remains highly fragile as it prepares for legislative and presidential elections in August and September 2016 respectively. Even at this late stage there are reports that the elections may be delayed. The elections will not be on a 'one-person one-vote' basis as was originally hoped. While it has suffered setbacks, Al-Shabaab remains a real threat.
08.06.2016Mali: June 2016 update
In 2012-13 Mali experienced a massive political and security crisis from which it has been struggling to recover. This briefing provides a quick overview of that crisis, what has happened since then and what the UK's role has been.
28.04.2016Burundi crisis one year on: April 2016 update
Over the last year Burundi has been convulsed by a political and human rights crisis whose origins lie in the decision by President Pierre Nkurunziza to seek and then win a third term in office.
22.04.2016British soldiers to Libya?
Could British soldiers be sent to Libya? This briefing examines the Government's position and Parliament's role, if any, in approving such a mission.
14.03.2016War and peace in South Sudan: March 2016 update
South Sudan has been embroiled in a brutal civil war involving immense human suffering since December 2013. After numerous false starts, a peace deal was agreed in August 2015, but important elements are yet to be implemented.
26.02.2016Egypt under Sisi
The political aftermath of the military coup that removed Muslim Brotherhood has been rough on the Muslim Brotherhood and other opponents of the new government; the airline crash in the Sinai underlined growing security worries. Nevertheless, President al-Sisi remains popular with large segments of the population, however.
28.09.2015The Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 development agenda
On 25 September UN Member States agreed 17 'Sustainable Development Goals' at an extraordinary Summit of the UN General Assembly. At various points during the negotiations, the UK Government expressed concern that 17 goals was too many. Debates continue over how far the goals embody a 'transformational agenda'.
08.09.2015Migration pressures in Europe
The crisis over deaths in of migrants in the Mediterranean has brought calls for decisive action from the EU.
23.03.2015Civil war in South Sudan: a primer
South Sudan has been embroiled in a brutal civil war since December 2013. On one side is the government of President Salva Kiir Mayadit (Sudan People's Liberation Movement) and its' allies; on the other side is former Vice-President Riek Machar (Sudan People's Liberation Movement-in-Opposition) and his backers. As some observers warned might happen at the time, the euphoria and optimism that attended South Sudan's independence in July 2011 has quickly been shattered. At least 2.5 million people currently face crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity. 1.5 million people have been internally displaced. An estimated 60,000 people have been killed. With the price of oil down and oil exports in decline, the country's economy is in a parlous condition. Peace talks have so far failed and observers now fear a return to all-out conflict.
02.03.2015Ethiopia: DFID ends support for the Promotion of Basic Services Programme
On 26 February 2015, the Department for International Development (DFID) announced that it was reconfiguring important elements of its bilateral aid programme with Ethiopia. A key element of this reconfiguration is ending its support for the 'Promotion of Basic Services Programme' (PBS), a large multi-donor programme that also receives support from the World Bank and the African Development Bank. DFID's announcement is striking in that it makes no reference to the controversy that has surrounded the PBS in recent years. Some have implicated it in the Ethiopian Government's 'villagisation programme', which has allegedly involved forced resettlement and human rights abuses. This briefing seeks to place DFID's announcement in context.
19.01.2015Nigeria 2015: analysis of election issues and future prospects
This paper looks at the multiple challenges facing Nigeria as it prepares for presidential and legislative elections on 14 February 2015. These elections will take place amidst an atmosphere of even greater crisis and uncertainty than usual. Boko Haram's insurgency in the north of the country continues unabated. There are fears that the country might break up if the election aftermath is poorly handled. However, some observers remain remarkably hopeful about Nigeria's future, predicting that its enormous economic potential is on the verge of being realised at last.
13.11.2014Libya: deepening conflict
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Libya, as the country splits among warring factions. The country now has two parliaments and its internationally-accepted government is based in a hotel in Tobruk.
02.07.2014The post-2015 development goals
This Note explores what kind of framework might replace the Millennium Development Goals upon their expiry in 2015. It assesses reaction to the 'zero draft' of 17 new goals published by the Open Working Group in June 2014.
27.06.2014Somalia - President Mohamud on the back foot while al-Shabaab attacks continue
A few days ago, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared that Somalia was once again in a 'political crisis'. In May, UN Special Envoy to Somalia, Nicholas Kay, said that Somalia is approaching 'a danger zone'. For the first year or so after President Mohamud took office in September 2012, Western supporters of the Government put a positive spin on his performance. However, there is a growing sense that President Mohamud's government is not turning out to be the fresh start that Somalia needed. Al-Shabaab has suffered important military reverses since President Mohamud took office and is now focusing increasingly on launching regular violent attacks on government-held areas, including Mogadishu, where security has declined markedly recently. It has also increased its attacks in neighbouring Kenya, which sent troops into southern Somalia in 2011.
19.06.2014Nigeria: Boko Haram's insurgency
In the northeast of Nigeria, an Islamist terrorist insurgency continues to rage. At the head of the insurgency is Boko Haram, which calls for the introduction of Sharia law and an Islamic state across the whole of Nigeria. There has been a state of emergency in the three northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa since mid-2013. Well over 2000 people are estimated to have died in attacks by the group since the beginning of 2014.The Nigerian authorities have been heavily criticised both at home and abroad for their ineffective response to the crisis. Outrage in Western countries following the kidnapping in April of about 270 schoolgirls in Borno state has led the UK, US and French governments to make offers of assistance to the Nigerian authorities despite the poor human rights record of the security forces.
20.05.2014Egypt: May 2014 update
Egypt goes to the polls on 26 and 27 May to elect a new president amid concerns about repression
20.05.2014The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition
US President Obama launched the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition at the May 2012 G8 summit at Camp David. It aims to address years of underinvestment in agriculture, and to meet the financing gap for global food security, in order to help pull 50 million people out of chronic poverty over 10 years. Critics of the New Alliance question whether it will help poor farmers. and charge that the New Alliance represents a 'new form of colonialism'. The UK Department for International Development (DFID) supports the scheme and has committed £600 million to it.
15.05.2014South Africa's elections: no change?
On 7 May 2014, South Africa held its fifth national and provincial elections since the end of Apartheid. The African National Congress (ANC) triumphed once again, winning 62.15% of the vote - down 3.75% on its tally in 2009. The Democratic Alliance came second with 22.13%. - up 7.57% on 2009. But while there was no big opposition breakthrough, the ruling party cannot rest on its laurels - not least in Gauteng Province, the country's economic power-house, where its vote fell by over 10% to 53.59%. Debate also continues about creating a labour party to the left of the ANC.
New interim government chosen after Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was ousted from office. New elections promised for July 2014. The country is plagued by violence and fighting. Fighting is often over the country's huge oil wealth. Distinction between official security forces and unlawful militias is blurred.
20.03.2014Democratic Republic of Congo: a gathering momentum towards peace?
The Special Representative of UN Secretary-General on Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Martin Kohler - who is also the head of the UN mission, MONUSCO - has claimed that there is a 'new momentum' behind efforts to stabilise the country. This note briefly surveys the DRC's current trajectory.
19.02.2014The Central African Republic: a primer on the current crisis
President Francois Bozize was overthrown in March 2013 by a rebel coalition called Seleka, which then installed its leader, Michael Djotodia, as the new president. However, the country remained in turmoil and 'self-defence groups' opposed to Seleka, called Anti-Balaka, took up arms. By late 2013, senior UN officials were warning the conflict had turned into one between the Muslim minority and the Christian majority. They said there was a real danger of genocide. While not disputing the seriousness of the crisis, many experts caution against over-simplified narratives of 'Christian versus Muslim' and question claims of possible genocide. Despite the arrival of French and African peacekeepers and the resignation of Michael Djotodia - recently replaced by an interim president, Catherine Samba-Panza, who heads an transitional government - violence continues in many parts of the country, with some now fearing de facto partition.
09.01.2014Nigeria: MINT-ed?
Jim O'Neill, the economist who first coined the term 'BRICS' in 2001, has announced that Nigeria (along with Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey [acronym: MINT) could become one of the next emerging 'economic giants'. Yet there remain grounds for wondering whether Mr O'Neill's view is overly rose-tinted. In sharp contrast to him, some recent observers have been talking instead of possible 'revolution' or the 'disintegration' of Nigeria. Perhaps, like pre-1914 Russia, it is precariously teetering between all three options.
16.10.2013The African Union, Kenya and the International Criminal Court
At an extraordinary summit of the African Union on 11-12 October 2013, heads of state and government agreed that Kenya should send a letter to the UN Security Council requesting the deferral of the ICC's ongoing proceedings against the President and Deputy President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, both of whom have been charged with crimes against humanity in the context of the post-election violence during 2007-08. Western governments face an acute dilemma. Until now, they have been strong supporters of the ICC's work in Kenya. However, in recent years, Kenya has become an active regional player in combating Islamist terrorism and recently suffered a major attack by al-Shabaab on a shopping mall in Nairobi. If the UN Security Council were to defer the proceedings, this would be the first time that this has happened since the Court's inception.
23.08.2013UK and the Egyptian military
23.08.2013In brief: Mali - Ibrahim Boubacar Keita wins the presidential election
On 11 August Mali held the second round of its presidential election. The overwhelming winner with 77.6% of the vote was Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK). He beat Soumaila Cisse, who won 22.4% of the vote. IBK has a credible mandate and has pledged to push ahead with national reconciliation, tackle corruption and rebuild the country's collapsed economy. But many challenges lie ahead.
19.08.2013In Brief: International Military Forces in Mali
As offensive military operations in the country have begun to wind down concerns remain that Malian and foreign forces will now face a protracted insurgency from Islamic militants who have continued to conduct counter-attacks from the north of the country.
05.08.2013In brief: Zimbabwe - 2013 elections
Zimbabwe held presidential and parliamentary elections on 31 July 2013. They resulted in overwhelming victory for President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and shattering defeat for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T). The 2013 elections were certainly extremely flawed - it had been obvious for some time that they would be - but there is no escaping the fact that President Mugabe and ZANU-PF have comprehensively outmanoeuvred their rivals.
04.07.2013Coup in Egypt
A brief survey of the Egyptian military's removal of President Mohamed Mursi.
10.06.2013Political progress in Libya?
Has Libya built on the achievement of successful elections in 2012 to make real progress towards a modern, democratic and secure state?
05.06.2013In brief: Kenya after the March 2013 elections
The 4 March presidential elections saw Jubilee Alliance candidate Uhuru Kenyatta win a narrow victory in the first round. , Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, are both due to be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in connection with the violence that followed the December 2007 elections. The victory of Kenyatta and Ruto has presented Western governments with a dilemma. While Western rhetorical support for the ICC remains strong, many in Kenya and beyond believe that pressure is being exerted on it 'behind the scenes' to soften its position so that the cases do not excessively impede Western cooperation with the new Government.
13.05.2013Burundi: recent political and security developments
Since 2010 President Jean-Pierre Nkurunziza and his CNDD-FDD government have been at loggerheads with the main opposition parties. The stand-off has raised concerns that Burundi's status as a 'post-conflict' country might be in jeopardy. These concerns have been compounded by occasional armed skirmishes between the security forces and remaining rebel groups. However, with the next elections due in 2015, in recent months there has been some progress in terms of promoting political dialogue.
13.05.2013Rwanda: recent political and security developments
Paul Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Front remain in a dominant position domestically, with parliamentary elections due in September 2013 and presidential elections set for 2017. President Kagame has indicated that he may step down then. But criticism continues of the government's intolerance of open dissent. Rwanda's role in in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo remains controversial too and there is virtually complete consensus across the international community that it has been providing support to rebel groups, including most recently M23.
15.03.2013In brief: South Africa - Zuma set for a second term in 2014
In December 2012, at the African National Congress (ANC) conference in Mangaung, President Jacob Zuma was re-elected leader of the party. This makes it virtually inevitable that he will be South Africa's next President following national elections next year, which the ANC remain overwhelming favourites to win comfortably. Nonetheless, all is far from entirely rosy for Zuma and the ANC. In recent years it has been deeply divided over economic policy, damaged by mounting official corruption and faced with growing discontent from below over its alleged failure to deliver better public services.
20.02.2013In brief: Malawi under President Joyce Banda
Joyce Banda became Malawi's president in turbulent circumstances in April 2012 and since then has sought to build domestic support and win back previously alienated Western donors through an economic and political reform programme. While she has had some successes, there is currently growing public discontent about the economy and her political position is still vulnerable. Her prospects in the 2014 elections are uncertain.
05.02.2013The crisis in Mali: current military action and upholding humanitarian law
This note describes the current military intervention in Mali, led by France, which began on 11 January as a reaction to the southward advance of militant Islamist armed groups with links to al-Qaeda. It also looks at the intervention in the context of upholding humanitarian law.
18.01.2013Algeria 2013
Instability in North Africa appears to be spreading, as a hostage crisis unfolds in an Algerian gas plant run jointly by BP. The Algerian government seemed to have escaped lightly compared with other North African governments from the Arab uprisings. But the war in neighbouring Libya and increasing unrest in the Sahel region to Algeria's south have taken their toll. It remains to be seen whether Algeria's authoritarian regime will be seriously challenged by the twin threats of domestic political unrest and jihadi terrorism.
21.12.2012Large-scale land acquisitions in developing countries - camouflage for 'land grabbing'?
Oxfam has launched a campaign on the issue of 'land-grabbing' - or what others would call 'large-scale land acquisitions' - in developing countries around the world, including by foreign governments or companies, with the World Bank primarily in its sights. This note is a brief introduction to the debate, current multilateral initiatives on the issue and the stance of the UK Government.
14.12.2012Kenya since the 2007/08 crisis
This note reviews major political developments since the 2007/08 crisis, whose legacies Kenya is still struggling to overcome. Elections are scheduled for March 2013 but two of the candidates seeking high office - Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto - are due to stand trial at the International Criminal Court in the following month. Meanwhile, Kenyan troops have now been in southern Somalia for over a year and helped re-take the strategic port of Kismayo in September 2012. But there remains uncertainty about Kenya's objectives in Somalia.
23.11.2012In brief: deja vu in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
On 20 November, forces belonging to the March 23 (M23) armed group seized Goma, the main city in eastern DRC. This note briefly surveys the events of recent days and the many echoes of the past that they evoke. It also looks at the roles of Rwanda and Uganda, which is leading Western governments, including the UK, to review their aid programmes to both countries.
31.10.2012Mali in crisis: a political and security overview
Mali has been in crisis since March 2012, when the military overthrew the government of Amadou Toumani Touré. Within weeks of the coup, a coalition of Tuareg rebels and militant Islamist armed groups pushed the national army out of the north of the country. There is now growing momentum behind proposals to create a regional military intervention force. But many questions remain about the wisdom of this course of action.
01.10.2012The cost of international military operations by the UK (2001-2013)
This note provides a summary of the estimated and actual costs of international military operations conducted by the UK in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The paper includes information on Urgent Operational Requirements (UOR) as well as comparisons with US expenditure. Comprehensive analysis of policy developments concerning Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya can be found on the associated Topic pages.
24.09.2012Zimbabwe: recent political developments
This note surveys developments since the beginning of 2011, during which time implementation of the 2008 Global Political Agreement has remained painfully limited. Halting progress is being made towards agreement on a new Constitution, but there remains a real possibility that President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF might abandon the negotiations and opt for early elections under the old Constitution, which greatly favours them. Elections are due by June 2013. Zimbabwe's political prospects remain highly uncertain.
02.08.2012Arab uprisings: an update
Two of the three countries that have had elections since the Arab uprisings - Tunisia and Egypt - have seen mainstream and more radical Islamists dominating. In Libya, the third of the three, a pragmatic and relatively secular politician who had been former Prime Minister during the rebellion did well. It is still early to know what these new governments will do.
18.07.2012Libya's General Assembly election 2012
On 7 July 2012, Libya held its first democratic election since 1964. Preliminary results suggest that the former interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril won a landslide victory among seats reserved for party candidates. However, this should not yet be interpreted as a victory for liberals over Islamists. 120 of the 200 seats are reserved for independents and their politics are not yet clear. Mahmoud Jibril has denied that he is a secularist. Nevertheless, it is very different from election results in Egypt and Tunisia, where the parties associated with the Muslim Brotherhood did well.
31.05.2012In brief: Guinea-Bissau - has the 12 April coup been overturned or rewarded?
A 12 April coup has provoked renewed political crisis in the West African state of Guinea Bissau. On 20 May there was an ECOWAS-backed deal under which power was ostensibly returned to civilians, but there is concern about its credibility and legitimacy. The crisis is likely to set-back recent efforts to strengthen Guinea-Bissau's capacity to combat drug-trafficking and thereby shed its reputation as a 'narco-state'. In a country where there are regular military coups, no president has completed a full term in office since the mid 1990s.
23.05.2012Egypt's presidential election 2012
Egyptians vote on 23 and 24 May to elect a new president. If no candidate wins 50%, a second round will be held on 16 and 17 June. There are signs, however, of a looming crisis over the division of power and the role of the military.
01.05.2012Madagascar's political crisis
The continuing political crisis in Madagascar began when Andre Rajoelina successfully ousted the incumbent President, Marc Ravalomana, in March 2009 and installed himself instead, albeit formally as a transitional leader pending elections. The international community considers Rajoelina illegitimate. Regional mediation efforts to return Madagascar to 'constitutional rule' led to a peace deal in September 2011, but implementation remains fraught and the danger reamains that the process could collapse.
27.04.2012Sudan and South Sudan: All-out war?
On 9 July 2011, South Sudan formally seceded from Sudan. But many issues remain unresolved and there has been an upsurge in conflict since then in Abyei, Blue Nile and South Kordofan - known as the 'Three Areas'. This note surveys the many challenges still facing the 'two Sudans'.
12.04.2012Chad: A political and security digest
This note provides a quick guide to political and security issues currently affecting Chad -a country that at the moment may seem superficially stable, but one for which the norm over the past half century has been a condition of permanent emergency
28.02.2012Preventing and prosecuting piracy at sea: legal issues
The resurgence in piracy at sea, particularly hijackings off the coast of Somalia, has prompted a range of efforts to tackle it. These throw up a series of legal issues including the use of force by governments and private armed security guards, and transferring of suspects for trial or imprisonment. Library Standard Notes covering related issues include: Piracy at sea: overview and policy responses; Somalia: recent political, security and humanitarian developments; and Does Somali piracy have any 'developmental effects'?.
28.02.2012Piracy at sea: overview and policy responses
This note gives a brief overview of the problems facing UK and world shipping from piracy and armed robbery at sea and summarises the actions being taken by the UK Government and international organisations to tackle the problem.
28.02.2012Does Somali piracy have any 'developmental effects'?
There has been growing debate about where the spoils of Somali piracy have been going. How far are they helping to support the Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab? Is some of the money going into the pockets of local politicians and businessmen with links to the pirates? Could a surprisingly large portion of the spoils be percolating through to ordinary Somalis? This note briefly surveys recent debates on the last two of these questions.
28.02.2012Somalia: recent political, security and humanitarian developments
This note surveys the military set-backs experienced by al-Shabaab since the beginning of 2011, the motives behind the current Kenyan incursion into southern Somalia, recent international efforts to promote a viable political process on the ground and the continuing food crisis in the country.
25.11.2011In Brief: Egyptian election 2011
A brief run-down of the first election in Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak
23.11.2011Morocco and the 2011 election
Morocco holds an important parliamentary election on 25 November. Under constitutional reforms proposed by the King, Muhammad IV, parliament will gain significant new powers.
15.11.2011The Arab Uprisings
Since December 2010, the most profound process of change has affected the countries of the Arab world. The change spread quickly between the countries of the region, underlining the many common factors that provoked unrest. How the region's revolutions progress, however, depends on the individual characteristics of each country, which are very different. This paper looks at these similarities and differences and considers the possible outcomes in each case. The legitimacy of ruling regimes, the effect of societies' divisions along confessional lines and the role of the region's militaries are considered.
24.10.2011Military Operations in Libya
Military action to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1973 in Libya
07.10.2011In brief: elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo
This note reviews the prospects for the presidential and parliamentary elections which are due to be held in the Democratic Republic of Congo on 25 November 2011
29.07.2011Issues facing LGBT people in sub-Saharan Africa: suggested reading
This bibliographical note gathers together a selection of press articles and official and civil society sources of information about the issues facing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people in sub-Saharan Africa today.
24.06.2011Equatorial Guinea: a quick introduction
Equatorial Guinea is often cited as a classic example of the 'resource curse' which can strike poor countries with weak formal institutions when oil is discovered. This note provides a brief introduction to Equatorial Guinea, including UK and EU relations with the country.
16.06.2011Uprising in Tunisia
This note describes the background to the riots in Tunisia, the recent series of events leading to the flight of the president, the interim government and progress towards elections.
15.06.2011In brief: Arab uprisings 2011
A very brief survey of developments in the Arab world in 2011
24.05.2011Progress in Egypt?
The note looks at the constitutional referendum held in Egypt and on political developments in the country.
13.04.2011The bilateral and multilateral aid reviews
The bilateral and multilateral aid reviews establish priorities for the Department for International Development's aid expenditure to 2014/15. This note looks at the process and results of these reviews.
06.04.2011Interpretation of Security Council Resolution 1973 on Libya
What the rules of engagement are in Libya, and how far coalition forces are allowed to go in protecting the civilian population are highly controversial. This note looks briefly at some of the current questions.
04.04.2011No-Fly Zone Over Libya: Suggested Reading
UN Security Council Resolution 1973 adopted on 17 March 2011, established, among other things, a no-fly zone over Libya. This note provides a list of suggested reading material on the arguments for and against the establishment of a no fly zone over Libya and its likelihood of success.
30.03.2011Turmoil in the Middle East
This note looks at the instability in the Middle East and North Africa since the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings.
18.03.2011The Security Council's "no-fly zone" resolution on Libya
This note looks at the development of a consensus on the United Nations Security Council for a resolution permitting military intervention in Libya. It reproduces the resolution.
15.03.2011Uprising in Egypt
Egypt's revolt has been greeted as a historic moment that will have enormous consequences throughout the Arab world. This note provides a simple chronological account of events swince 25 January. It looks a the background to the crisis and profiles groups and individuals involved and considers some likely outcomes of the present crisis.
02.03.2011UK relations with Libya
This note details the sometimes controversial dealings between the UK government and the regime of Muammer Qaddafi and looks at the reasons for Libya's partial rehabilitation by the west, in which the UK was closely involved.
17.01.2011Morocco 2011
This note summarises recent developments in Morocco and the situation in Western Sahara, the disputed territory to the south which has been occupied by Morocco.
04.01.2011In brief: The Horn of Africa - review of events during 2010 and prospects for 2011
This note briefly reviews events in the Horn of Africa during 2010 and prospects for 2011
27.07.2010Debt relief & 'vulture funds': the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act 2010
This note provides an update to the second reading and committee stage Library research papers on the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Bill, also known as the 'Vulture Funds' Bill. The Act entered into force in June 2010 and will lapse if not renewed within a year due to a 'sunset clause'.
28.06.2010Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) & the September 2010 UN review summit
The UN's eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are aimed at reducing world poverty and improving lives by 2015. This note provides background and a progress assessment ahead of a UN review summit in September 2010.
02.06.2010Sudan: Peace or war, unity or secession?
This paper considers the current political situation in Sudan, including the impact of the April 2010 elections in which Omar al-Bashir was re-elected as national President. The prospects for Sudan over the coming year are examined, with particular reference to the two referendums to be held in January 2011, required under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and the recent resurgence of the conflict in Darfur.
01.06.2010Sudan, 2003-09
In order to make sense of Sudan's present and possible futures, it is vital to know something of its recent past. This is the purpose of this Standard Note, which provides a detailed account of events in Sudan, including their regional impact, between 2003 and 2009. It will not be updated.
30.04.2010Global Economic Crisis & developing countries
This note was last published on 26 August 2009 and will not be updated. In the early stages of the financial crisis there were hopes that it would be largely contained within developed economies, with developing economies having 'decoupled' from them. These early hopes proved unfounded, with developing countries struck by declining trade, a loss of investor confidence and withdrawal of investment, a fall in the value of vital remittances, and much reduced growth and contraction in some cases. There are also fears that aid flows may suffer in the aftermath of the crisis. This note summarises key reports and statistics, with links to further resources.
25.03.2010Universal jurisdiction
The UK has universal jurisdiction under the Geneva Conventions Act 1957 (and other legislation) for a limited number of serious international crimes. It also has an obligation under international law to prosecute or extradite those suspected of war crimes or torture anywhere in the world. There are few such prosecutions in the UK but arrest warrants have been sought for private prosecutions. The Government is consulting on a change to the law on private prosecutions for universal jurisdiction offences, and the UN is conducting a review of the scope and application of the principle of universal jurisdiction.
30.12.2009Ethiopia in the run-up to May 2010 elections
The 2005 federal and regional elections in Ethiopia produced a major political crisis. Now the electoral wheel has turned and observers are waiting to see whether the May 2010 elections will be less turbulent. This note provides a brief historical and social survey of Ethiopia. It then looks at the political situation in Ethiopia since 2005. It concludes with a short update on the state of the Eritrea-Ethiopia border dispute.
20.04.2009The International Criminal Court: Current Cases and Contemporary Debates
This note is intended to offer a brief overview of the current work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the contemporary debates which surround it.
13.03.2009Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the EU & African, Caribbean & Pacific countries
The European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries have been renegotiating their relationship. A series of interim Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) were signed with a number of ACP countries towards the end of 2007, as well as a more comprehensive EPA with the Caribbean ACPs. This note updates with recent developments, and outlines some of the criticisms there have been of EPAs and the negotiations.
13.03.2009Sexual and gender-based violence: global trends and perspectives
This Note is intended as an introduction to some key trends and perspectives on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) around the world.
24.11.2008Interlocking crises in the Horn of Africa
Interlocking crises in the Horn of Africa: House of Commons Library Research Paper 08/86. This paper looks at recent developments in the Horn of Africa, where there are a number of protracted and interlocking crises at work, and briefly discusses some of the main factors that have been described as 'root causes' of conflict in the region.
31.05.2007The International Tribunals (Sierra Leone) Bill [HL] [Bill 110 of 2006-7]
25.10.2006The African Great Lakes Region: An End to Conflict?
The African Great Lakes Region: An End to Conflict?
08.02.2006Sudan: The Elusive Quest for Peace
Sudan: The Elusive Quest for Peace. House of Commons Library Research Paper 06/08.
18.08.2005Zimbabwe after the 2005 parliamentary election
Zimbabwe after the 2005 parliamentary election. House of Commons Library Research Paper 05/58.
23.06.2004Sudan: Conflict in Darfur
Sudan: conflict in Darfur. House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/51.