I am a passionate lawyer specialising in law and technology and child rights. Educated in the UK I have 20 years experience working on human rights related issues. I have spent five years living and working in Eastern Africa, and six years in Southeast Asia. I am currently based in the UK and work remotely for the UNICEF East Asia & Pacific Regional Office, and for 5Rights Digital Futures Commission. In 2020 I completed a sabbatical as a Fulbright Scholar at UC Berkeley where I pursued my second LLM, specialising in Law & Technology. My focus was on the intersection between children's rights to protection online, and their rights to privacy, freedom of expression, and access to information. I am also interested in the use of AI and biometrics in development programming, and how new technologies impact on human and children's rights. I was called to the Bar in British Colombia, Canada in 2010.
In 2015 I co-founded Child Redress International, which allows me to work with a team of brilliant and dynamic professionals with the aim of giving child victims of transnational sexual exploitation access to civil justice. This is no small task, and requires constant innovation and re-evaluation.
I have previously worked on access to justice related projects in the UK, Canada, Eastern Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East an North Africa. I have litigated cases and managed projects, and I have published extensively for the Open Society Foundations, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, the Harvard Health & Human Rights Journal, UNDP, and UNICEF.
Covid 19: A spotlight on child data governance gaps
Since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, technol- ogy has assumed an even more prominent role in children’s lives. Data-powered technology has been used — with varying degrees of success — to track, trace, and control the novel coronavirus infection rate, as well as to continue the remote provision of education, health, and social services to children while cities and countries have locked down.
The general public, including children, cannot see or im- mediately comprehend how these data systems work and connect with one an- other.2 This is largely due to the fact that transparent and accountable data manage- ment frameworks are often not put in place prior to the deployment of these tech- nologies. In addition, gov- ernments generally lack the kind of clear, technical, and evidence-based orientation that would ensure children gain maximum and equita-
ble access to the benefits of new technologies while remaining protected from privacy infringements.
Encryption, Privacy and Children's Right to Protection from Harm
� End-to-end encryption is necessary to protect the privacy and security of all people using digital communication channels.
� End-to-end encryption impedes efforts to monitor and remove child sexual abuse materials and identify offenders attempting to exploit children online. In this way, it also increases the risk of children being re-victimized as materials depicting their abuse continue to be shared.
� The debate around end-to-end encryption of digital communications has been polarized into absolutist positions.These include advocating 1) for the unlimited use of end-to-end encryption; 2) for the complete abolishment of end-to-end encryption; and 3) that law enforcement should always be able to access encrypted data and will be unable to protect the public unless it can do so. Such polarized positions ignore the complexity and nuance of the debate and act as an impediment to thoughtful policy responses. As noted by the Carnegie Endowment working group on encryption, polarized, absolutist positions in this debate should be rejected.
Ending Violence Against Women and Children in Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Viet Nam, and the Philippines
UNICEF, UNFPA, & UN Women 2019
This multi country study, commissioned by UN Women, UNICEF and UNFPA, explored existing examples of collaboration and integration of VAC and VAW policies, services, and programmes, as well as challenges and future opportunities in the East Asia and Pacific region, with a focus on four countries – Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Viet Nam.
While the fields working to end VAC and VAW have largely developed separately, recent reviews and analyses of large datasets have identified multiple intersections between VAC and VAW. However, there are key areas of divergence between the traditional approaches in the VAC and VAW fields that have created challenges to collaboration and may suggest some disadvantages to fully integrative approaches. To date there are no evidence-based or widely accepted integrative models.
Legal aspects of Child Sexual Exploitation Online in South Asia, and in the Middle East & North Africa
Lead legal consultant on two research projects related to child sexual exploitation online, both of which were funded by UNICEF, and are part of the We Protect Initiative.
With the Data & Society Research Institute team I researched the legal aspects of child sexual exploitation online in South Asia, including the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. This project includes field research and a comprehensive desk-based literature review.
With the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention I researched the legal aspects of child sexual exploitation online in the Middle East & North Africa, including Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Jordan. This project included field research, a comprehensive desk-based literature review, and in-country validation meetings.
Toolkit: Gaps, Traps and Opportunities at the Intersections of Gender, HIV, and Plural Legal Systems, UNDP (2016)
Developed a toolkit and webinar to be used in programme design to enhance access to justice for women affected by HIV in the context of plural legal systems.
Evidence Review, and Annotated Bibliography
UNDP Being LGBT in Asia Initiative
Being LGBT in Asia’ is a ground-breaking, first-of-its-kind joint analysis undertaken by UNDP and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) together with grassroots lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations and community leaders to understand the challenges faced by LGBT people in Asia. Working on eight countries – Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam – the effort examines LGBT lived experiences from human rights and development perspectives.
This Evidence Review is the result of desk research across all countries in Asia of available literature concerning LGBTI human rights issues in Asia.
Regional Consultation on the Role of Key Stakeholders in Ending Impunity for Violence Against Women and Girls in Asia, UN Women, 2016
This three day Regional Conference in Bangkok brought together judges, police, lawyers, ombudsmen, and national human rights institution officials from throughout Asia to discuss how to improve access to justice around violence against women and girls in Asia. The Summary of Proceedings are available online.
'Bringing Justice to Health', Open Society Foundations 2013
For millions of people around the world, human rights violations are part and parcel of everyday life. Sexual violence, discrimination in housing, unwarranted dismissal from employment, unfair evictions, denial of child support, and police harassment are only a few such violations.
This report shows the potential to transform this dynamic, profiling 11 access to justice projects based in Indonesia, Kenya, Macedonia, Russia, South Africa, and Uganda. These projects use a range of approaches to make the law meaningful for marginalized people and to improve their health.
'Right to Health Encompasses Right to Access Essential Generic Medicines: Challenging the 2008 Anti-Counterfeit Act in Kenya', Harvard Health & Human Rights Journal, 2014
To what extent has the right to access generic HIV medication been implemented in Kenya for the 1.6 million people living with HIV? How does this relate to the right to health under international and national law? This paper examines a constitutional challenge brought to the High Court of Kenya in 2009 (the “Anti-Counterfeit Case”) against the Anti-Counterfeit Act of 2008, which the petitioners, all of whom were living with HIV, argued would affect their ability to access affordable and generic antiretroviral medication.
'Reflections', Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa, 2013
This publication explores the journey of the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa since its inception.
The initiative plays an active role in encouraging open, informed dialogue about issues of public importance through innovative and collaborative processes. It supports individuals and groups to participate in matters that affect them in order to demand fair treatment, delivery of services, and accountability from their leaders and institutions.
'Amplifying Voices: Information and Expression', Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa, 2013
In a variety of ways, information and expression remain constrained despite the expansion of the information highway. In some cases, there is heavy-handed silencing by governments through repressive laws and actions; in others, the media self-censors itself on certain sensitive or volatile issues. Persons with sensory disabilities have to function in a world with a dearth of sign language, Braille, and interpretation services to accommodate them to function fully in society.
'Traditional Cultural Practices & HIV: Reconciling culture and human rights', UNDP Global Commission on HIV and the Law working paper, 2011
This paper examines the diversity of traditional and cultural practices that affect HIV responses on a global scale, and through an exploration of the interface between culture and human rights, offers frameworks, interpretations and solutions to create enabling environments whereby the adverse impact of these practices can be removed or mitigated.
'Amplifying Voices: Inclusion', Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa, 2011
Crucial to the creation of an open society are principles of equality, diversity, and inclusion. This third edition of Amplifying Voices examines the meaning and dimensions of these concepts, and the barriers to their realization in Eastern Africa.
Child Redress International
Th above report summarises the first venture of the startup organisation I co-founded in 2015, the International Child Redress Project. In order to get a better understanding of the issue of transnational child sexual exploitation, and to listen to what access to justice means to people in one of the hotspots for this problem, we organised a community forum in the Philippines, using a Human Centred Design approach. We asked police, social workers, faith leaders, judges, lawyers, parents, and civil society, what is going on on the ground, what law enforcement is doing about it, and how this problem can be prevented. We also asked the community to think about civil justice, and how we could bring compensation claims on behalf of child victims that would work in the best interests of the child.
In 2016 we followed this initial assessment up with a further forum in the Philippines, this time in the Cebu region, and another forum in Phnom Penh in Cambodia.
Streetlegal, access to justice for children and young people
In 2003 I co-founded Streetlegal, a children's legal rights project which was part of Enfield Community Law Centre. At Streetlegal I ran outreach legal advice clinics for homeless children and young people, from youth centres, youth offending centres, and careers advice drop-ins. I represented children in judicial review actions against the local authority where they failed to fulfil their duties to house my young clients. Many of my clients were fleeing violence at home, and many were also unaccompanied minor asylum seeking children. During my time at Streetlegal I also gave talks at national conferences for the Law Centres Federation and for the Legal Services Commission, and I made representations regarding children's rights at a roundtable meeting organised by the Mayor of London. I also worked with a group of young Angolan clients and Enfield Youth Service to make a video about their experiences as unaccompanied asylum seekers in the UK. Click on the above image to read a report I wrote about Streetlegal's work.
I work as a consultant for UN agencies, research companies, and NGOs, in the area of legal analysis, access to justice, research, and writing. I work on reviewing national laws to ensure compliance with international legislation, and on investigating access to justice at the ground level. I also run trainings in the area of access to justice and legal empowerment.
My current focus is on the intersection between children's rights to protection online, and their rights to privacy, freedom of expression, and access to information. Talk to me about both children and big data, privacy, and cyber security; and protection of children from sexual exploitation online. Engage with me on the use of AI and biometrics in development programming, and how new technologies impact on human and children's rights.
I am also open to ideas for collaboration on innovative legal empowerment initiatives aimed at providing access to justice to communities and marginalised people.
Child Redress International
Child Redress International is a nonprofit organisation which aims to give child victims of sexual exploitation access to civil justice.
We work with Southeast Asian NGOs, social workers, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, parents and faith leaders, to identify victims and connect them to lawyers who can help them to bring a claim. Our aim is to ensure that any compensation award works in the best interests of the child. We use a human centred design approach, which involves working with children and their communities to find community-led and fair solutions.
Please get in touch with me if you work with child victims of sexual exploitation at the grassroots level in Asia, or if you are a lawyer interested in working on this issue from anywhere in the world.
Connecting probono lawyers with not for profits in Asia
As an Advisory Board member, I am working to expand iProbono's reach across Southeast Asia.
iProbono is a non-profit online network connecting civil society organisations and social businesses in need of legal assistance with lawyers and students who want to use their legal skills for the public good.
With head offices in London and Delhi, the network’s global outreach enables people to engage in projects from around the world and allows organisations to source assistance across jurisdictions.
If you are a lawyer looking for meaningful probono opportunities, or if you are part of a not for profit that needs some legal assistance, please get in touch with me to learn more.
Legal Empowerment Leadership Course, School of Public Policy, Central European University, Hungary, 2015
The CEU’s School of Public Policy (SPP), the South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies (SAILS) and BRAC University, in collaboration with the Open Society Justice Initiative and Namati, held an executive course on the practice and theory of legal empowerment.
This ground-breaking three-day course focused on law and development and the extent to which international rule of law assistance accounts for legal empowerment and its impacts on poverty, governance, and development. Its intention was to contribute to solving the analytical and empirical challenge that international actors face when they address multifaceted, multisectoral justice issues.
Design for Social Innovation and Leadership, Centre for Executive Education, UN University for Peace, Thailand & Cambodia, 2014
DSIL is an international program that guides participants through 9 weeks of workshops and webinars related to design thinking and social innovation led by thought leaders from around the world. The 2014 course included 2 weeks of immersion in social enterprises in Thailand and Cambodia, and an introduction to the lean canvas approach to startup organisations.
Solicitor and Barrister exams, British Columbia, Canada, 2010
LLM, international law, University of London, UK, 2006
Specialising in international law on the rights of the child.
Postgraduate diploma in law, University of Westminster (CPE), UK, 2003
BA (Hons) Sociology, University of Leeds, UK, 1997
Awarded Wheeler Prize for Academic Excellence
Joint first-scoring student
All things yoga
My passion is my yoga practice, and most mornings before work you will find me in the ashtanga shala stretching myself back to life.
In a former life I co-founded and owned Bikram Yoga Nairobi, Kenya's first hot yoga studio. Doing business in Kenya was an incredible adventure, and sharing my passion for yoga with a new market was an amazing opportunity. Now based in Asia, I am no longer an owner of the yoga studio in Kenya, but I continue to teach Bikram yoga, most recently in Bangkok and Jakarta.