29 January 2019
In this interview, Luisa Fernanda Gómez Betancur, currently enrolled in our Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ), tells us about the programme and life in Geneva.
I’m Luisa Fernanda and am from Manizales, Colombia, a city in the well-known coffee region in the Andean mountain chain. I started my career in law at the Universidad de Caldas and later on, I pursued specialized studies in constitutional law at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
Before coming to Geneva, I worked for six years at the Constitutional Court of Colombia. During my time as a public servant, I notably dealt with cases related to environmental justice, the human rights of indigenous communities as well as the victims of the internal armed conflict.
All my life I’ve been fascinated with movement, and that might be the reason why I have danced since I was seven years old. It has been my happy place since then: it is my way to meditate in motion. In addition, I’m also a big fan of travelling.
Colombia is pursuing a transition to a post-conflict setting after large-scale political violence. The complexities of this kind of processes deal not only with legal dimensions but also social, political and cultural variables. The MTJ at Geneva Academy offers me an interdisciplinary platform to reflect in-depth upon tough questions about justice, peace or truth that form part of the transitional justice framework and whose understanding has critical implications for people’s lives in my country and in others regions as well.
I find fascinating to be part of a classroom with 27 fellow students from 25 different countries and being able to share different understandings and values of the world. In a way, every day the Geneva Academy, is a celebration of diversity.
One of the elements that create a holistic focus of the programme is the teaching. Professors at the Geneva Academy are not just rigorous from an academic perspective, but their experience and ‘on the ground’ exposure create an environment in which conversations, inquiries and discussions are granted an immense value; and as if that wasn’t enough, Geneva is by itself a huge classroom. Cultural and academic events offered in the city are limitless, and these offer an opportunity to further the learning experience.
Colombia is going through a historical transition full of hope, but also very fragile. Undoubtedly, I would like to be part of this process and contribute by using the academic and practical tools learned here which will allow me to face the complexity of this transitional process.
Public spaces in cities are shrinking and becoming more scarce. The Geneva Lake is a living example of public land that is valued collectively. The lake represents to me that powerful idea of communal goods.
Jointly with the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions, Dr Agnes Callamard, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Geneva Academy organized an Expert Meeting on a ‘Gender Sensitive Approach to Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings’.
We co-organized on 29 November 2018 with the BCHR-network a consultation for the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Business and Human Rights to inform their new project on business in conflict and post-conflict settings.
The first Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform will focus on the connectivity of human rights mechanisms.
This IHL Talk will examine the prohibition of starvation under both international humanitarian law and international criminal law. It will also address starvation's humanitarian consequences.
UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré
This training course will explore the origin and evolution of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and its functioning in Geneva and will focus on the nature of implementation of the UPR recommendations at the national level.
This research project, aims via the drafting of a practitioners’ guide on human rights and countering corruption, to clarify the conceptual relationship between human rights, good governance and anticorruption, demonstrate the negative impact of corruption on human rights and provide guidance and make practical recommendations for effectively using the UN human rights system in anti-corruption efforts.
© ILO/ Joydeep Mukherjee
This project aims to support the UN working group’s consultation process and thus contribute the promotion and protection of human rights and gender equality in relation to the business sector via research on international human rights law and policy related to gender equality guarantees and their application to business activities, and the organization of a global conference in Geneva.