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Tamsin Mitchell


Tamsin Mitchell holds an MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights (Distinction) from the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London (2005) and a Master of Studies (MSt) in Research Methods (Distinction) from Balliol College, University of Oxford. Her first degree was in English Literature and French Literature and Language (First Class) from the University of Glasgow.


Tamsin has 15 years’ experience of working in the international human rights and development/ humanitarian sector. From 2007 to 2016, she worked as a researcher and campaigner for the literary and free expression non-governmental organisation (NGO) PEN International in London, providing material assistance and moral support to writers and journalists at risk in Africa and the Americas. This work, carried out in close collaboration with the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), Journalists in Distress (JID) and the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), is the inspiration for her PhD topic.

Prior to PEN, Tamsin was employed by various international NGOs including Y Care International, Peace Brigades International UK (PBI UK), the Salvation Army and Action Against Hunger UK. She also worked as a lecturer at the Universidad de los Andes and the Universidad Nacional in Bogotá, Colombia. She is fluent in Spanish and French.

Tamsin has been a trustee of PBI UK since January 2016 and served as its Chair in 2017. PBI provides protective accompaniment to human rights defenders under threat in Latin America, Asia and Africa.


The title of Tamsin’s PhD is “Journalists as human rights defenders: countering impunity for violence against journalists in Honduras and Mexico”. It looks at how journalists in these countries perceive of, respond to and seek to counter impunity for violence against journalists, and the extent to which they make use of international human rights protection norms, mechanisms and actors, or other domestic strategies. Tamsin’s research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. She is based at the University of York’s Centre for Applied Human Rights and Department of Politics and International Relations.

Tamsin presented a paper on the international protection regimes for journalists and human rights defenders at the Safety of Journalists Academic Conference as part of the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day, May 2017.

She is supervised by Dr Alice Nah and Professor Jean Grugel.

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