8 February 2021
In this interview, Hannah-Milena Elias, currently enrolled in our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ), tells about the programme and life in Geneva.
My name is Hannah-Milena and I was born in Germany, where I recently graduated with a Bachelor of Governance and Public Policy from the University of Passau. Over the course of the past six years, I have been active in the field of refugee rights and sea rescue in my community and nationally. Separately, I have worked and volunteered in the Colombian context on the questions of protection of human rights defenders and former child soldiers.
In my free time, I enjoy preparing different spreads and baking all kinds of cakes. If the weather allows it, I love cycling around the beautiful Geneva countryside.
Having grown up in Germany, I could see what role the country plays on the international scene, both today and in the past – between humanitarian aid and weapon production and exportation. Putting economic interests often above everything else is not limited to Germany and makes a human rights-based justice system all the more relevant today.
I really enjoy the open teaching environment and in particular the dedication of professors to create spaces for mutual learning, as well as their willingness to provide additional discussion sessions. Moreover, the interaction with such a diverse and interesting student body makes this experience priceless.
Yes! Having the opportunity to learn and hear from exceptional professors and young activists and academics alike gives rise to questions and self-reflections that one is usually not confronted with. Challenging one’s own conceptions and believes is, in my opinion, an essential part of engaging in the human rights field and should be a never-ending process. For me, this process has continued here at the Geneva Academy.
The current pandemic leaves many open questions for the time after graduation. However, I plan to continue working in the field of refugee rights, focusing on the obligations of European states, and stay closely connected to my on-going activism. And maybe Geneva will keep me for a little bit longer.
Big, old trees always make me remember how deeply rooted we are in our societies and how much we depend on every aspect of it to make a change. Sometimes we might think we stand alone, as the trees on the shore of Lac Leman, but we should not forget that there are numerous factors that constantly help us grow and remind us of our interrelation to other living beings and nature.
Our Geneva Human Rights Platform organized – along with the Syria Offices of UNFPA, UNDP and OHCHR – a customized training course for UN staff in Syria.
Helmer Jonelid and Edward Millett – enrolled in our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights – represent this year the Geneva Academy at the 14th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition.
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.
Olivier Chamard/Geneva Academy