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.
At a roundtable organized by OHCHR in partnership with the Geneva Human Rights Platform, the Universal Rights Group, and the Danish Institute for Human Rights, experts discussed how they intend to give effect to the recommendations made in HRC report 50/64 on the establishment and development of national mechanisms for implementation, reporting and follow-up.
The flags of our Geneva Human Rights Platform are flying on the Mont-Blanc Bridge to mark the platform's fifth anniversary.
UN Women/Ryan Brown
This Human Rights Conversation will discuss child participation in the work of UN human rights mechanisms and opportunities to move away from today’s reliance on individual organizations or UN representatives’ initiatives.
This online short course focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.
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.
UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré