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.
Applications for the 2023–2024 academic year of our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law are open. They will run until 27 January 2023 for applications with a scholarship and until 24 February 2023 for applications without a scholarship.
Two UN treaty bodies, three UN Special Rapporteurs and the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances issued a Joint Statement on illegal intercountry adoptions.
U.S. Air Force
This panel discussion – co-organized with ICoCA – will consider the growing importance of PMCs and the role ICoCA might play in promoting human rights observance and strengthening accountability of these actors in armed conflicts.
This online short course discusses the extent to which states may limit and/or derogate from their international human rights obligations in order to prevent and counter-terrorism and thus protect persons under their jurisdiction.
This online short course analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.
This research aims at taking stock of and contributing to a better understanding of the above-mentioned challenges to the principle of universality of human rights while also questioning their validity. It will identify relevant political and legal arguments and develop counter-narratives that could be instrumental to dealing with and/or overcoming the polarization of negotiations processes at the multilateral level.