MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law: What our Students Say

Portrait of Abek Vijayakumar Portrait of Abek Vijayakumar

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.

About Me

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.

Why did you choose the MTJ course at Geneva Academy?

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.

What are you particularly enjoying about this programme?

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.

Would you recommend it?

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.

What are you planning to do next?

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.

Why did you choose to be photographed in front of Place de la Navigation?

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.

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