The Diplomacy of Detention: Tackling State Hostage Taking
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The Diplomacy of Detention: Tackling State Hostage Taking
16 November @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
The problem of state hostage taking is on the rise internationally. States such as Russia, Iran, Rwanda, China, and many others, have increasingly been utilizing hostage taking as a tool for leverage in diplomatic engagements. It has essentially become part of their foreign policy toolkit. Countries around the world are now grappling with this rising trend and debates are ongoing on the best method for combating it.
While this trend has been rising for many years, since the start of the Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine it has reached new heights. Many individuals have been taken hostage by the Russia as a means of gaining leverage over western states, this ranges from political dissidents such as Vladimir Kara-Murza – to hundreds of Ukrainian children, kidnapped from their homes and transported to Russia.
The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to discuss this important issue with our panel of esteemed speakers.
Bill Browder – once the largest foreign investor in Russia until 2005, when he was denied entry to the country and declared “a threat to national security” for exposing corruption in Russian state-owned companies. In 2008, Mr. Browder’s lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, uncovered a massive fraud committed by Russian government officials that involved the theft of US $230 million of state taxes. Sergei testified against state officials involved in this fraud and was subsequently arrested, imprisoned without trial and systematically tortured. He spent a year in prison under horrific detention conditions, was repeatedly denied medical treatment, and died in prison on November 16, 2009, leaving behind a wife and two children. Since then, Mr. Browder has sought justice outside of Russia and started a global campaign for governments around the world to impose targeted visa bans and asset freezes on human rights abusers and highly corrupt officials.
Evgenia Kara-Murza graduated with honors from the Moscow State Linguistic University and worked as translator and interpreter for several non-governmental human rights organizations including the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict, Modern Russia, and the Free Russia Foundation before joining her husband Vladimir Kara-Murza, a prominent Russian politician and human rights activist, in his pro-democracy and human rights work.
As Advocacy Director of the Free Russia Foundation, Evgenia Kara-Murza helps FRF’s efforts in public diplomacy and global outreach on behalf of Russian civil society. The wife of Vladimir Kara-Murza, sentenced in Russia to 25 years for high treason in a politically motivated case, Evgenia Kara-Murza ensures the continuation of her husband’s years-long work on engaging multilateral oversight mechanisms to hold the Russian government to account over violating its international commitments on human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, and on establishing personal accountability for Kremlin officials complicit in corruption and human rights abuses. She is part of FRF’s global campaign for solidarity with Russian anti-war and pro-democracy activists both inside and outside of the country and continues her husband’s work of being a voice of political prisoners in the Russian Federation.
Mykola Kuleba is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Save Ukraine, a charity providing evacuation, humanitarian aid, and housing to families and children in Ukraine. He has worked in child protection for decades, previously holding the position of Ombudsman for Children with the President of Ukraine. Kuleba’s charity, Save Ukraine, has been incredibly successful since the war in Ukraine began, and has repatriated hundreds of Ukrainian children that were kidnapped and deported to Russia. His important work was instrumental in shedding light on Vladimir Putin’s crimes in Ukraine, and the evidence he helped to collect was key in the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin, and Maria Lvova-Belova.
Anaïse Kanimba is a global development expert and human rights activist. She is a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, during which her father, Paul Rusesabagina, the real-life hero of the movie Hotel Rwanda and recipient of the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, saved more than 1,200 people. In 2020, her father was forcibly rendered to Rwanda and imprisoned for speaking out against the tyranny of the Rwandan president. Anaïse, along with her family, led the international #FreeRusesabagina campaign to secure the release of her father, who was successfully freed after 939 days of illegal imprisonment in March 2023. In this role, Anaïse advocated against and wrote about wrongful detention, transnational repression, and autocratic leadership for a range of publications, including The Washington Post, the Daily Beast and CNN. In addition to dedicating her time to social justice, Anaïse works at Ridgely Walsh, a boutique public affairs firm that advises transformational companies and causes.
Aliona Hlivco is the Managing Director of The Henry Jackson Society, and a political analyst and foreign policy expert with a background in domestic and international strategic communications, global affairs and geopolitics. She started her career in Ukrainian politics, holding several government positions in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Parliament in Ukraine, focusing on international partnerships, cross-border cooperation, infrastructure, public-private partnerships and decentralisation. She ran eight national and local election campaigns, and coordinated strategy during the 2013-2014 Revolution of Dignity.
She finished her time in Ukrainian politics as an elected member of the regional parliament in 2015-2018 and a chief adviser to the Chairman of Regional Government.
Aliona contributes regularly to the BBC, Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle, The Telegraph, Monocle, CapX and is a guest lecturer at various academic institutions (Harvard University, Cambridge University, Middlebury Institute of International Studies, NYU, London Business School, London UOTC, King’s College London etc) to provide her expertise on Ukraine and global affairs. She is fluent in English, Ukrainian and Russian, with an intermediate level in German.
She is a recipient of the Order of Merit for her outstanding service and invaluable contribution to the support of democracy in Ukraine during the Revolution of Dignity 2013-2014.
Aliona holds MA in Political Science and MPA from Chernivtsi National University in Ukraine.
The Henry Jackson Society was pleased to welcome Bill Browder, Evgenia Kara-Murza, Anaïse Kanimba and Mykola Kuleba for the annual Magnitsky event chaired by Aliona Hlivco on the topic of ‘The Diplomacy of Detention: Tackling State Hostage Taking’. Bill started off by talking about how he became his campaign for justice from his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who uncovered massive fraud committed by Russian government officials. Evgenia, who is a human rights activist, went on to talk about her husband Vladmir being in a Siberian prison under the Putin regime which she claims is waging two wars: One in Ukraine and the other against the Russian people. She added that the only way for Russia to change is to become a democracy.
Mykola explained his history of helping street children in Kyiv who are now fighting for their country against the Russian invaders who believe they are puppets for the “Nazis in NATO” and that what is happening in Ukraine is genocide. Anaïse spoke about her experiences as survivors of the Rwandan genocide and how during the war, her father, Paul, was kidnapped by the regime and kept in prison of 939 days. She went onto say how she has used her father’s story to seek justice and accountability.
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