The Staff of the Human Dignity Trust
The Human Dignity Trust currently has a small permanent staff based in London
Chief Executive: Jonathan Cooper OBE
Jonathan is an international human rights law practitioner. As a barrister in private practice, he has worked with the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the UK Ministry of Justice, the UK Home Office and the Director of Service Prosecutions. He has taken cases to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of applicants on issues ranging from prisoners' rights to child abduction. He has also litigated before the UN Human Rights Committee and advised on bringing cases before the Women’s Committee (CEDAW) at the UN. Jonathan has also advised the Turkish military, Sudanese government officials and lawyers in Syria, Cameroon, Gambia, Albania and Lithuania.
Jonathan devised and wrote the human rights and terrorism programme and manual for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). He has carried out counter-terrorism and human rights training programmes across Central Asia, as well as the Balkans.
Jonathan has extensive experience in litigating LGBTI issues, most notably he was junior counsel in the UK’s gays in the armed forces case. He has also acted for applicants in establishing key human rights protection for trans people. In the early 1990s, Jonathan was one of the co-authors of the UK’s Declaration of Rights for People Living With HIV/AIDS. Previously, Jonathan was the Legal director of Liberty and the Deputy Director of JUSTICE. He is the editor of the European Human Rights Law Review and he has published extensively on human rights related issues. He advises the Bingham Centre on the Rule of Law on education and training. Jonathan is a member of Doughty Street Chambers. In 2007, he was made an OBE for services to human rights.
Legal Director: Treva (‘Téa’) Braun
Téa is an international human rights lawyer specializing in equality and non-discrimination. She holds an LLB from the University of British Columbia (Canada) and qualified as a lawyer in Canada in 1996. After several years of litigation practice before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal of British Columbia, she completed an LLM in International Human Rights Law as a Chevening Scholar at the University of Essex (UK) in 2005.
Téa has held inter-governmental appointments as Human Rights Advisor to the Commonwealth Secretariat and Gender Equality Advisor to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, providing legal and policy advice, training and technical assistance to governments on equality and non-discrimination in international law. She previously worked as Africa Legal and Human Rights Programme Coordinator for a UK-based international non-governmental organisation focusing on the rights of indigenous peoples, and as Director of Africa Initiatives for a Canadian charity working to counter trafficking in women and girls for sexual and labour exploitation. She has advised multiple governments and civil society organisations across Africa and Asia-Pacific, and has represented inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the UN Human Rights Council and through submissions to a range of UN human rights treaty bodies.
Among other publications, Téa led the research and writing of the comprehensive Beijing +15: Review of progress in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action in Pacific Island countries and territories (SPC, 2010) and co-authored The African Human Rights System: A Guide for Indigenous Peoples (Forest Peoples Programme, 2008).
Lawyer: Joe Tan
Joe obtained his LLB (Honours) from the Australian National University and graduated with an LLM from the Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, specialising in international human rights law.
Following his studies, Joe served as the Judicial Associate to the Honourable Justice Michael Kirby on the High Court of Australia and worked on several leading constitutional and final criminal appellate matters. After his admission to the bar in 2000, he practised for a number of years as a litigator in equality and civil liberties cases before the Supreme Court of New South Wales (Australia) and the Federal Court of Australia. Several of his test cases on behalf of vulnerable and marginalised clients, including LGBT persons, refugees, prisoners, juvenile detainees, and abused asylum seeker detainees, have led to successful settlements and judgments establishing legal precedents. He also specialised in actions against police authorities for miscarriages of justice particularly against children and the mentally ill. As a criminal defence lawyer, he has defended indigent accused in jury trials of the most serious offences including homicides and other violent crimes, sexual offences and drug and human trafficking matters.
At an international level, Joe has been a Legal Advisor on human rights issues for a number of international organisations and tribunals. With the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in Pristina, Joe worked on ethnic minority protection and human rights governance issues in the aftermath of the Kosovo War. Prior to joining the Human Dignity Trust, he practised at The Hague in The Netherlands in the international criminal law field focussing on mass atrocities and human rights violations in Africa and the Middle East. At the International Criminal Court, he specialised in gender crimes, sexual violence and child soldier recruitment and worked for the Office of the Prosecutor on that Court's first historic trial of Lubanga. This was followed by an appointment at the UN's Special Tribunal for Lebanon where he advised the Judges in Chambers on the conduct of the first terrorism trials held in an international tribunal. His writings have been published widely in a number of leading legal journals.
Researcher: Kapil Gupta
Kapil completed his MA in Human Rights Practice under the Erasmus Mundus scholarship (2008-10) of the European Commission. He holds a bachelor’s degree in law from the National Law Institute University, Bhopal (India). He is currently an elected member of the EMA LGBTI Network where he holds the position of the Network Development Officer. He is also a member of the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association (CLA) and the Human Rights Lawyers’ Association (HRLA).
Administrator: Chris Atkinson
Chris Atkinson has been involved in business administration for most of his career. He currently works as part-time administrator for the Human Dignity Trust, as well as for a French-speaking refugee centre and a professional association seeking to promote better equality law. Chris speaks fluent French and Russian.
Head of Communications: Nina Kelly
Nina oversees all HDT’s external output and devises and manages the organisation’s strategic communications.
Nina started her career as a journalist and has contributed to the Guardian,Time Out London and the Independent. Since moving to the not-for-profit sector, she has led the communications of several equality-driven UK policy organisations, including the Runnymede Trust and the Women’s Resource Centre.
An experienced strategic thinker, Nina has worked more recently on communications campaigns in the international development sector. She played a key role in the 2013 Enough IF campaign, and is the author of ActionAid UK’s 2014 women’s rights communications strategy.
Nina holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature from the University of Manchester and NCTJ qualifications in Media Law, Newswriting and Public Affairs. She writes 100 words-per-minute shorthand and speaks fluent Italian.
Intern: Celena Field
Celena holds a BA in Law and an LLM in Human Rights Law from the University of Nottingham. She was called to the Bar at Middle Temple in October 2013 and is one half the winning pair of Middle Temple’s Rosamund Smith 2013 Mooting Cup. She has previously volunteered with several organisations, including her local Citizens Advice Bureau in Leeds and The Legal Aid Department in Accra, Ghana.
As an intern at HDT, Celena assists with research on both current and potential cases, as well as providing general administrative support to the office and team.
Intern: Michael Ashworth
Michael holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Sussex, an MA in human rights from UCL and an MSc in Socio-legal Studies from the Univsersity of Bristol. He is now taking a PhD in Law at the University of Bristol. His research is focused on grassroots LGBT human rights activism in Africa.
Michael has lived, studied and worked in Malta, The Netherlands, Belize and Brazil; he speaks fluent Portuguese.
As an intern, Michael provides research and administrative support to the Human Dignity Trust.