15 February 2021
Abel Vijayakumar is enrolled in our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ). In this interview, he tells about the programme and life in Geneva.
I am Abel Vijayakumar and I am from Malaysia. I am professionally trained as a lawyer and have been actively involved in human rights issues in Southeast and South Asia while pursuing my MA in Human Rights and Democratization at Mahidol University and the University of Colombo.
During my time in Thailand and Sri Lanka, I have interned and volunteered in domestic and international civil society organization that dealt with various issues, including the refugee crisis and transitional justice. Before starting the MTJ at the Geneva Academy, I was working as a Law and Policy Officer focusing on economic social and cultural rights at the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia.
My interest in transitional justice (TJ) started when I was in Sri Lanka working on TJ related issues. There, I realized that I required a deeper understanding of the legal, policy and comparative jurisdictional components of this field. TJ is traditionally used in post-conflict scenarios, but I believe it is possible to make it more fluid and implement it alongside policy approaches to other situations and contexts.
The Geneva Academy, as a leading institution for research and education in TJ, was undoubtedly an excellent choice for me to pursue my further specialization in TJ and human rights.
Having to do this programme during a global pandemic is not necessarily ideal. However, my learning and unlearning experiences from my classmates from all over the world is definitely the most enriching part of this programme. I also enjoy engaging with the various experts and academics who are teaching in the programme.
Yes, definitely. The programme is tailored in a way that is it suitable for anyone who wants to work on TJ or get into academia.
I am very open to any opportunities that could come my way, but I would really like to be on the ground and work in spaces where TJ processes are taking place. I am also interested to start the conversation on expanding the TJ mechanisms to use them in other contexts like the climate emergency or decolonization.
Place de la Navigation is in the Paquis neighbourhood where I live. This neighbourhood is probably the most diverse place in Geneva, and I enjoy walking around here and listening to the many languages spoken.
For this spring semester, we offer a series of online short courses on topical and contemporary issues in the field of international humanitarian law, human rights and transitional justice.
Asian Development Bank
Our new Research Brief The Right to Land and Other Natural Resources details the content of this right, states’ obligations, as well as accountability mechanisms for its enforcement at national, regional and international levels.
UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré
This online event – co-organized with the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) and the Embassy of Switzerland in Poland – will discuss the Council’s membership and internal dynamics, as well as selected mechanisms.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, will provide participants with an introduction to substantive human rights law. It will start with an introduction to the nature and sources of international human rights law and its place in the international legal system. The course will then provide a presentation of the main principles applicable to substantive rights (jurisdiction, obligation and limitations).
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.
UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré