We have a fantastic line-up of speakers for our panel discussion on “human rights under lockdown” on Thursday 11 June.

Gary Allison LLB MBA , director, Prisoners of Conscience
Gary joined Prisoners of Conscience as Director in July 2018 following 25 years of legal practice in South Africa and England. Having supported various NGOs and charities over the last four decades, Gary served as a trustee, and latterly, as Vice-Chair, of Prisoners of Conscience from 2001 to 2013. With an MBA from Warwick University, Gary brings a commercial approach and passion for increasing our work in meeting the acute needs of prisoners of conscience in the UK and internationally. 

Ed O’Donovan, Head of Protection, Front Line Defenders
Ed is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the protection of human rights defenders at risk at a global level. He joined Front Line Defenders in 2009 and from then until 2016 he was Protection Coordinator for East Asia, working to support human rights defenders and build the organisation’s network in that region. Prior to joining Front Line Defenders, Ed worked as a political analyst at the EU Delegation in Bangkok.

Kate Allen, director, Amnesty International UK
Kate took up her post in early 2000. Before joining Amnesty International, Kate was Deputy Chief Executive at the Refugee Council from 1995 to January 2000, where she was responsible for its policy and operational work and headed the UK emergency evacuation programmes from Bosnia and Kosovo. Kate is a member of the Foreign Secretary’s Human Rights Advisory Group.

Akshaya Kumar, director of crisis advocacy, Human Rights Watch
Akshaya oversees the HRW’s advocacy response to emergencies and develops innovative strategies to respond to evolving crises. She joined HRW as Deputy United Nations Director in 2015 and represented the organisation at UN headquarters in New York for four years. She previously worked at the Enough Project where she helped launch The Sentry, an initiative that seeks to freeze war criminals out of the international financial system. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Akshaya holds a JD from Columbia University and an LLM in human rights, conflict and justice from the School of Oriental and African Studies. She speaks Tamil, Hindi, Spanish, Arabic and English.

Panel chair: Ashitha Nagesh, journalist, BBC News
Ashitha is a journalist for BBC News. Her original journalism includes pieces on Russian anarchists, the mental and physical impacts of slaughterhouse work on workers, and several pieces on insecure work and its role in entrenching racial and class inequality. Recently, she’s been looking at the coronavirus pandemic and how it disproportionately affects ethnic minorities in the UK.