Human Rights Council side event

Jo is a consultant in the human rights and development fields, with a focus on gender equality, violence against women, torture, discrimination and detention contexts. She has 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 20 countries, mostly in Asia, but also the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, and Africa. Jo worked as a women’s rights grant manager at the Sigrid Rausing Trust between 2016 and 2018.

She holds an MA (Distinction) in Intl. Human Rights Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. [Read more at LinkedIn]

Her core skills are: Research; monitoring and evaluation; writing and editing; benchmarking practice against national and international standards and training. Additional skills and experience include project management, strategic communications and international-level advocacy. 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 the coordinator 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. These include UN Women in New York and Bangkok, the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, International Crisis Group, DFID, the OSCE’s ODIHR, 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.

Jo led a multi-country research study through 2013-14 for DIGNITY – Danish Institute Against Torture on the situation, needs and rights of incarcerated women (see Published Research), which took her into prisons and prison communities in Albania, Jordan, the Philippines, and Zambia. She has since consulted on further research, curriculum development and training for correctional officials with the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Penal Reform International and the Thailand Institute of Justice, along with various Op-Eds and presentations.

Other projects include results-oriented monitoring missions for EC-funded projects (via Landell Mills) in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal; 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. Other topics of research have included trafficking and the Istanbul Protocol, communicating gender norms in campaigns, 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 CentreHistorical Memory and Justice Network, Sri Lanka’s Law and Society Trust Review, and Open Democracy.

As a journalist, she covered social justice issues, 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.

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