Experience

Joelle has worked with a range of intergovernmental organisations, parliaments, governments, non-governmental organisations as well as human rights defenders, academics, lawyers, think tanks, law-enforcement officials, businesses, faith leaders and journalists.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

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USCIRF is a bipartisan U.S. federal government commission dedicated to defending religious freedom. It issues policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the Congressional leadership of both political parties).

Joelle has closely collaborated for several years with the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom for several years, in cooperation with the Benjamin B. Ferencz Human Rights and Atrocity Prevention Clinic of Cardozo Law School.  Joelle directed and co-authored two reports, which have widely shaped the global debate on blasphemy allegations and human rights abuses linked to religion and the rule of law.

Respecting Rights? Measuring the World's Blasphemy Laws (2017) is a comparative legal research of over 70 blasphemy laws around the world. A set of indicators were created to measure the level of their respect to human rights principles. The study required scoring each country based on a point system, using a coding process. The following indicators measured for each country required country-tailored analysis: freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the precision of the law and its purpose, the proportionality of the sanctions, whether the law is discriminatory between different belief groups and the impact of Church-State relations on the (implementation of the) law.

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Violating Rights: Enforcing the World’s Blasphemy Laws (2020) analyses how and where states around the world enforce their blasphemy laws. Giving way to a treasure of findings exploring national, regional and global trends.

 

Which countries around the world enforce the laws the most? Why? Are there any regional patterns? Where does violence occur the most? Who are the victims? For example their religions and professions? Do state-religion relationships play any role in enforcement? How does social media weigh into enforcement of the laws?

The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the NGO FELM 

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Joelle conceptualised and drafted a Toolkit for civil servants and diplomats of the Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on freedom of religion or belief and all its intersectional human rights, as a consultant for the Finnish Evangelical Lutherian Mission (FELM). What is freedom of religion or belief and why is it important? Which exceptional limitations to religious freedom are provided for by international law? All policy themes where there is an intersection with rights were studied: blasphemy allegations, the rise of religious intolerance and hate, the importance of interreligious dialogue, the question of discrimination against minorities, religion and violence, women’s rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, sustainable development goals, security, and state religions.  Country case-studies were also included (Egypt, India, Myanmar).

The U.N. Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Religion or Belief 

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The Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief is an independent expert appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council. The mandate holder is invited to identify existing and emerging obstacles to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief and to present recommendations on ways and means to overcome such obstacles.

Joelle has collaborated with two U.N. Special Rapporteurs and has researched and authored many working documents and drafts in view of public annual reports (presented to the Human Rights Council).

Justitia

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Justitia is Denmark’s judicial think tank focusing on research related to human rights, fundamental freedom rights and the rule of law, offering new policy ideas both in Denmark and abroad.

Joelle co-published a piece called The Digital Berlin Wall: How Germany (Accidentally) Created a Prototype for Global

Online Censorship (2019) which highlights how global Internet freedom is in decline.  Germany´s Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) obliges social media platforms to remove illegal content within 24 hours or risk huge fines. But in a global free speech race to the bottom, the NetzDG matrix has been copy-pasted by authoritarian states to provide cover and legitimacy for digital censorship and repression. At least 13 countries have adopted or proposed models similar to the NetzDG matrix. Moreover, several of these countries, including Venezuela, Vietnam, India, Russia, Malaysia, and Kenya, require intermediaries to remove vague categories of content that include “fake news”, “defamation of religions”, “anti-government propaganda” and “hate speech” that can be abused to target political dissent.

Human Rights First

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Human Rights First is a nongovernmental organisation based in Washington DC and New York, whose aim is to shape the United States Government positions on human rights. Joelle worked there from 2009-2014.

Joelle developed strategies and built bipartisan coalitions to enhance the U.S. leadership on human rights. She also led

diverse partnerships (public officials, diplomats, NGOs', human rights defenders, academics, lawyers and faith leaders) to implement recommendations on a vast range of human rights concerns, for example: upholding free speech at the United Nations Human Rights Council, fighting religious intolerance, combating hate crimes against Roma in Hungary, pushing for constitutional reforms on freedom of religion or belief and freedom of speech in Tunisia and training human rights defenders in Indonesia. Joelle frequently spoke at panel debates, blogged and moderated public discussions.

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (Now "Renew")

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The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe party is the party for liberal democrat values in Europe. It is now called Renew Europe. Joelle advised the Alliance of Liberal Democrat Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in their work on the parliamentary committee of the Civil liberties, Justice and home affairs committee (anti-racism legislation, anti-discrimination, EU immigration policies, counter-terrorism legislation, fighting organized crime and human trafficking) and the Women's rights and gender equality committee.

Joelle drafted amendments, negotiated resolutions on behalf of the Liberal Democrats with other political parties, ensured the coherence of the political positions of the MEPs, prepared voting lists, wrote speeches and networked with colleagues from other political parties, the Council, the European Commission as well as embassies, think tanks and NGOs. She notably followed closely the EU Framework Decision on Combating Racism and drafted EP resolutions on combating extremism in Europe.

The European Parliament

 

Joelle answered all foreign policy-related questions from EU correspondents (written press, TV and radio). She also wrote press releases and briefing notes on the activities and panel discussions led by the foreign affairs committee and two sub-committees. Joelle was also co-responsible for Parliament's media coverage of the Convention on the Future of Europe (December 2002-June 2003) which led to the Treaty of Lisbon.

The European Parliament

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Joelle answered all foreign policy-related questions from EU correspondents (written press, TV and radio). She also wrote press releases and briefing notes on the activities and panel discussions led by the foreign affairs committee and two sub-committees. Joelle was also co-responsible for Parliament's media coverage of the Convention on the Future of Europe (December 2002-June 2003) which led to the Treaty of Lisbon.