Jo is a researcher and writer in the field of human rights, access to justice and gender. She holds an MA (Distinction) in Human Rights Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies, and has a background in policy, advocacy and journalism, particularly in Asia. She is currently leading a research study for RCT/Denmark’s Dignity Institute Against Torture on conditions for women in detention (read more), which has taken her into prisons and prison communities in Albania, Jordan, the Philippines, and Zambia. She has presented or taken part in various symposiums and workshops with a focus on women, justice and detention systems — as well as the rule of law, torture and other CPRs generally.
Recent projects include an international policy scoping study on violence against women and girls (VAWG), largely through expert interviews for the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID); a policy paper with the International Service for Human Rights on the protection of human rights defenders, and a global consultation report for UN Women, in preparation for the Commission on the Status of Women in 2013, also on VAWG (accessed here).
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 editor and coordinator of the Urgent Appeals Programme (more on this here). She has since worked as a researcher, editor, communications consultant and writer with: UN Women in New York and Bangkok, the International Crisis Group, the Law and Development Partnership, the Redress Trust, the Asian Human Rights Commission, the Cairo Institute on Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), the International Service for Human Rights, and London’s Helen Bamber Foundation for victims of torture and trafficking. She has attended various UN Human Rights Council sessions to make submissions on behalf of the AHRC, attend meetings on reprisals against human rights defenders, and to present research for the CIHRS at an expert side panel on religious defamation and Islamophobia alongside senior OHCHR staff.
As a journalist Jo specialised in design, and social justice and development, and has written regularly for mainstream publications such as Time Magazine and the South China Morning Post, as well as human rights journals and online news portals, among them the Asia Sentinel and Open Democracy. Her interview subjects have included former Guantanamo Bay detainees and rights activists, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Bertrand Ramcharan, architect Tadao Ando and novelist and political commentator Frederick Forsyth; her assignments have spanned land rights in Cambodia to Sri Lankan witness protection and anti-torture legislation. She has lived and worked in the US, the UK, China, Japan, Thailand and Australia.
www.jobakeronline.com features the selected works of Baker’s, published during the last few years. Click here for a full list of publications.