Human Rights Council side event

Jo is a consultant in the human rights and development fields, with a focus on gender equality, discrimination, violence against women, torture and detention contexts. She has almost a decade of experience working with national, regional and IGOs, following a career as a journalist and has worked and/or lived in more than 15 countries, mostly in Asia, but also the Middle East and Africa.

She holds an MA (Distinction) in Intl. Human Rights Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies, Univ. of London, and has been published widely in journals and the press, from the Oxford Human Rights Hub to Time Magazine. [Read more at LinkedIn]

Her core skills are:  designing and leading research; informing policy; strategic communications and advocacy; M&E; working with vulnerable persons; benchmarking practice against national and international standards; the UN human rights machinery and international law; delivering trainings; and writing and editing. She has presented at various symposiums and workshops and is trained in reciprocal/participatory research methodologies for use among vulnerable groups.

Jo transitioned into the human rights field from full-time journalism via the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and Asian Legal Resources Centre (ALRC) in Hong Kong, as manager of its regional advocacy programme.  She has since worked with a range of organizations at all levels as a research, policy, communications and advocacy adviser, with expertise in women’s human rights. These include UN Women in New York and Bangkok, the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, International Crisis Group, DFID, the Cairo Institute on Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), Penal Reform International, The Women’s Foundation (Hong Kong), and the British Council, among others.  She has advocated at various international fora, including UN Human Rights Council sessions.

Among recent projects, Jo led a multi-country research study through 2013-14 for DIGNITY – Danish Institute Against Torture on the needs and rights of incarcerated women (see Published Research), which took her into prisons and prison communities in Albania, Jordan, the Philippines, and Zambia.

Other recent projects include results-oriented monitoring missions for EC-funded projects (via Landell Mills), an international policy scoping study on violence against women and girls (VAWG) for the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID); evidence reviews on gender equality, VAWG and reproductive rights for the IPPF; a policy paper with the International Service for Human Rights  on the protection of human rights defenders from reprisal, and a global preparatory consultation report for UN Women and the Commission on the Status of Women in 2013 on VAWG (accessed here). Other topics of research have included trafficking and the Istanbul Protocol, community-based policing best practice, and freedom of religion and blasphemy laws, among others.

Lusaka Central women's prison, ZambiaAs a commentator on human rights and gender equality, Jo has written regularly for international media, such as the South China Morning Post, Inter-Press Service and the Asia Sentinel, as well as industry journals and portals, among them the Oxford Human Rights Hub, Essex Human Rights Centre, Historical Memory and Justice Network, the Law and Society Trust Review, and Open Democracy.

As a journalist, she specialized in social justice, design and culture, and wrote regularly for mainstream publications, including Time Magazine and the Guardian. Her interview subjects have included former Guantanamo Bay detainees and rights activists, a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, architect Tadao Ando and moral philosopher, Peter Singer. Her assignments have spanned women’s empowerment in Myanmar, and anti-torture legislation in Asia, to  land rights in Cambodia and Sri Lanka’s witness protection laws. features the selected works of Baker’s, published during the last few years.