• In Focus

    International Agreements Committee report on the UK-Rwanda treaty

    The UK government signed a treaty with Rwanda in December 2023 in response to a Supreme Court judgment that its proposed Rwanda asylum policy was unlawful. The House of Lords International Agreements Committee has recommended that the government does not ratify the treaty until Parliament is satisfied that the protections it provides have been fully implemented, in the context of the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill asking Parliament to make a judgement that Rwanda is safe.

  • In Focus

    The 1.5-degree celsius global warming threshold: Could it be breached in 2024?

    At the 2015 UN climate change conference, the international community agreed to make efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels. Since then, global temperatures have continued to rise, with record-breaking temperatures in 2023. The UK’s Met Office has projected that 2024 could be even warmer, with the 1.5-degree threshold temporarily exceeded. This briefing summarises the background to the 1.5-degree threshold, and what actions the UK government is taking to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

  • In Focus

    Questions to the foreign secretary: 16 January 2024

    Members of the House of Lords will ask Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton a series of oral questions on 16 January 2024. These include what steps the UK government is taking to address the Rohingya refugee crisis; what progress has been made towards securing a ceasefire in Gaza; how the government is promoting implementation of the UN sustainable development goals; and how the UK is championing a rules-based international order.

  • In Focus

    UK contribution to international development: Mitigating the impact of climate change on developing nations

    The UK government spent £12.79bn in official development assistance in 2022. A portion of this support was focused on mitigating the impact of climate change on developing countries, including through measures outlined in the government’s international development white paper and through contributions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s green climate fund. However, some stakeholders have called on the government to provide further support, particularly in relation to its spending commitments.

  • Research Briefing

    Data Protection and Digital Information Bill: HL Bill 30 of 2023–24

    The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill would amend existing data protection legislation and introduce new provisions in areas such as digital verification services and smart data. The bill was carried over from the last session and is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 19 December 2023.

  • Current Affairs Digest

    Current Affairs Digest: International Affairs (December 2023)

    In recent years, Central and West Africa have witnessed several successful military coups, raising concerns about the stability and democratic progress of the region. This briefing examines how regional and international bodies have reacted to these coups and discusses the potential implications for democracy and security in Africa.

  • In Focus

    Elgin Marbles: UK government assessment of loaning the sculptures to Greece

    The ownership of the Elgin Marbles (also known as the Parthenon sculptures) is the subject of dispute between the Greek government and the British Museum. This briefing provides background to this dispute, including the position of the UK government, and on the possibility of loaning the sculptures to Greece. It has been written in advance of a Lords debate on 14 December 2023.

  • In Focus

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Promoting the declaration’s principles 75 years on

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 75 years ago, on 10 December 1948. The declaration set out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected. As such it became a foundational instrument of the modern international human rights system. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on member states to “rejuvenate” the declaration.

  • In Focus

    North Korea: A threat to global security?

    North Korea continues to develop its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes in defiance of international sanctions. Long viewed as a threat to regional stability, there are growing fears that these new capabilities mean that North Korea’s aggressive military posture could now pose a risk to global security. This briefing examines those issues and the response of the international community ahead of a forthcoming debate in the House of Lords.

  • In Focus

    The UK’s relationship with countries in Latin America

    Countries in Latin America are reported to have remained economically resilient over recent years, during a challenging set of global economic conditions. Nevertheless, growth in the region is expected to remain weak, contributing to a challenging environment for political incumbents. The UK government has stated its intention to increase its engagement with Latin America, strengthen trade and investment relations, and help the region amplify its voice in multilateral forums.

  • In Focus

    Ukrainian Holodomor

    The Ukrainian Holodomor, also known as the ‘great famine’, took place between 1932 and 1933. Agricultural policies introduced under Joseph Stalin’s Soviet regime have been blamed for the deaths of millions of people during this time. In recent years, various governments and parliaments have recognised the event as genocide. The UK government has said it would only refer to the event as genocide following a determination by a competent court.

  • Research Briefing

    Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill [HL]: HL Bill 4 of 2023–24

    The Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill was announced as part of the King’s Speech in November 2023. It is a bill to enable the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It will amend aspects of domestic legislation on technical trade barriers, government procurement and intellectual property to ensure the UK is compliant when the agreement comes into force.

  • In Focus

    King’s Speech 2023: Foreign affairs and defence

    This year’s King’s Speech will take place at a particular volatile time in global affairs. The crisis in Gaza, war in Ukraine, and the wider diplomatic challenges associated by the actions of nations such as China continue to occupy the international agenda. At the same time, the UK has reorientated its defence priorities to take account of the shifting global environment and the changing nature of global threats. This briefing examines a range of those issues before the King addresses Parliament on 7 November 2023.

  • In Focus

    Israel-Hamas conflict: Latest developments

    The current crisis in the Middle East began on 7 October 2023 when Hamas militants launched a series of surprise cross-border attacks on Israeli territory from Gaza, killing defence personnel and civilians and taking hostages. Since then, Israel has struck back with airstrikes on Gaza and has cut off supplies of food, energy and water to the enclave ahead of an anticipated ground invasion. This in turn has led to concern over civilian casualties and the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Diplomatic efforts to prevent the crisis from worsening further are ongoing.

  • In Focus

    Western Balkans and the Dayton Peace Agreement

    The Western Balkans has a history of regional conflict, and democracy and political freedoms face challenges in many countries in the region. All Western Balkans countries have submitted bids to join the EU. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, leaders of the Bosnian Serb-majority area have in recent years undertaken actions to undermine institutions established as part of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which brought an end to the Bosnian war in 1995.