Prof. Suraj Girijashanker is a specialist in international human rights law and international refugee law. He holds law degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and Columbia Law School (CLS). He attended CLS on a Human Rights Fellowship and was awarded a Commendation for Leadership and Commitment in Human Rights by CLS’ Human Rights Institute for promoting diversity and greater representation in the field of human rights.
Suraj started his career in the field of refugee law and protection in Australia, pursuing roles with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Amnesty International. He then served as a Legal Advisor with the Immigration and Protection Tribunal in New Zealand. His field experience includes roles as an Expert on Mission with UNHCR Turkey (2016) and Associate Refugee Status Determination Officer with UNHCR Egypt (2015). He has also represented refugees at the Australian government’s offshore detention facility on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.
His broader professional expertise includes international humanitarian law and sexual orientation, gender identity and the law. In 2017, he was awarded the David W. Leebron post-graduate fellowship from CLS to author the report “Activism and Resilience: LGBTQ progress and the Middle East and Africa.” Suraj conducted over 40 in-country interviews in Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia to ensure the report amplified the voices and lived realities of local activists and advocates. Suraj is one of the creators of a special series – “Perspectives from Impacted Countries” – on Just Security, which features articles authored by experts and advocates from countries affected by US national security policies, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen. He is also a contributing author for the following reports:
Suraj was born and raised in Brunei Darussalam, and hails from Kerala, India. As an avid filmgoer, he enjoys everything from Fatih Akin films to 80’s Bollywood.