• Research Briefing

    The ‘AfPak policy’ and the Pashtuns

    The first part of this paper focuses on the Pashtuns, beginning with a survey of the geographic, historical and cultural factors which have shaped Pashtun identities in Afghanistan and Pakistan before going on to describe the political and security arrangements under which they currently live. The paper then reviews the Pashtun armed militant groups currently operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The second part of the paper then looks at the US AfPak policy, setting out its origins and evolution before assessing the prospects for success over the coming year and beyond.

  • Research Briefing

    Progress towards nuclear disarmament?

    In April 2009 President Obama set out his vision for a world without nuclear weapons, and in doing so laid the groundwork for renewed international efforts to strengthen and advance the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Over the past year that momentum has translated into the agreement of a successor to the US-Russia START treaty, global commitments to secure highly vulnerable nuclear materials within four years and the establishment, at the May 2010 Review Conference, of an action plan in support of the three main pillars of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This paper examines the prospects for achieving that vision of 'global zero'.

  • Research Briefing

    Sudan: 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

    The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) replaced both the War Pensions Scheme and 'attributable' benefits payable under the old Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) for service personnel experiencing ill health, injury or death arising from service-related incidents on or after 6 April 2005. This note outlines the scheme and changes made to it since its introduction.

  • Research Briefing

    Global 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Prospects for the 2010 NPT Review Conference

    The eighth Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference is due to take place between 3 and 28 May 2010. This note examines the main principles of the NPT as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime and the key issues regarding its continued effectiveness and credibility that are expected to be discussed at the conference. It also sets out the position of the British Government on these issues.

  • Research Briefing

    Universal 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.

  • Research Briefing

    EU Legislation

    This Note considers the different types of EU legislative instruments and their implementation requirements. It also gives figures for EU laws adopted since 1980 and repealed since 1997, as well as an estimate of the proportion of UK secondary legislation made under the ECA to implement EU obligations.