4 June 2019
Mpho Somhlaba is a South African Diplomat responsible for humanitarian issues at the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations in Geneva and is currently enrolled in our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict.
Prior to that, she served at the South African Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Vienna, Austria, and was responsible, for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) portfolio. She has also served as a Legal Advisor at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation in South Africa.
It has been my ambition to pursue a master degree and specialize in human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) whilst at the same time pursuing my diplomatic career. I chose the Executive Master in International Armed Conflict notably because it addresses human rights law and IHL and, furthermore, because it is a perfect fit for my profession. The programme is very intense and contains critical information which is relevant to my area of work.
Apart from the fact that Geneva is the hub for humanitarian affairs and is where the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) are situated and seat respectively, the Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict provides one with all the training in these two branches of international law.
Oh yes, it responds to my expectations and excels in meeting those.
The interactive nature of the programme aimed at finding solutions to global problems is the highpoint for me. I also enjoy the realistic examples and case reviews presented by professors. This includes the useful practical approaches that the professors share in resolving those cases.
Apart from Professor Sassòli and Professor Kolb’s lectures on IHL, I enjoyed the short training provided on the functioning and mechanisms of the HRC. This short training course was interactive and the speakers were experienced interlocutors who reflected a great deal on the dynamics at play within the HRC.
This programme is an important tool that strengthens my communication, writing and indeed interpersonal skills. The programme has also enhanced my ability to analyse information and provide solutions. Coming from a developing country where the unemployment rate is very high and with endemic challenges in the creation of new jobs, the skills acquired through this programme will accord me an added advantage and augment my eligibility for career progression, in a focused manner that will bring immense benefits to my employer.
All LLM students – with the exception of one who pleaded online from Ethiopia – could plead at Villa Moynier in front of the jury composed of Professor Marco Sassòli and Lizaveta Tarasevich, an alumna of the Geneva Academy and Teaching Assistant at the University of Geneva.
As of Monday 26 April and the partial lifting of COVID-19 restrictions by the Swiss authorities, students of our three master's programmes partially returned to class.
VOA, via Wikimedia Commons
This online IHL talk aims at shining light on some of the many legal, political and protection-related challenges stemming from the situation in Afghanistan.
Dr Helen Durham, Director of International Law and Policy at the ICRC, will address the legal, operational and political imperative of the international community continuing to work towards the application and implementation of IHL.
Francisco Proner / Farpa/ CIDH
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, aims at presenting the institutions and procedures in charge of the implementation of international human rights law.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, examines the conduct of hostilities in situations of international armed conflict, also known as the Law of The Hague.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
This project will explore humanitarian consequences and protection needs caused by the digitalization of armed conflicts and the extent to which these needs are addressed by international law, especially international humanitarian law.