Chevener Impact: Advancing human rights for vulnerable communities

Find out how a degree at Queen Mary, University of London helped Chevening Alum Pareemala Mauree champion the rights of vulnerable people in Mauritius.

Before enrolling in a Master’s in Law, Comparative and International Dispute Resolution at Queen Mary, University of London, Pareemala Mauree was working as Principal State Counsel at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Mauritius.

In her role, she saw first-hand the lack of support there was for children and other vulnerable people visiting the court to file their cases, and she knew she wanted to change that.

Since graduating from Queen Mary in 2019, she has achieved amazing things in her efforts to promote victims’ rights.

We spoke to her to find out more about her journey at Queen Mary’s and how it has helped her in her mission.

What were your most memorable moments at Queen Mary?

My year in London was a rollercoaster. Because of its proximity to Europe and my love for travel, I latched on to every opportunity I got to travel.

I travelled to Poland within the first month of arriving in the UK and had a great time exploring the quaint villages. I also visited Oxford, Cambridge, and other cities in the UK. I used to stroll around Covent Garden a lot and check out all the musicals playing.

I had some really nice professors and a few of the lectures were so good that [even today] I remember them by heart.

I was and still am a Judge for the Vis Moot competitions which took place at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in London, and at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. I am also a Judge for the Price Media Moot Court Competitions that take place in Oxford yearly. I started this during my master’s and have kept with it.

What are you doing now and how did your time at the Queen Mary help you get there?

I have experience as Magistrate of 10 years as I sat in almost all the District Courts in Mauritius as well as Rodrigues. I was promoted to Principal State Counsel at the Office of the DPP on December 1, 2017, and I now advise the police and represent the State in high-profile criminal cases and appeals.

I am also a member of the Victims and Witnesses’ Support Unit, promoting victims’ rights in sexual offences, domestic violence, elderly rights and disability.

My university experience of giving presentations, organizing events, and meeting people is all coming to use now.

I was also one of the finalists for the recently concluded Study UK Alumni Awards 2022 in Mauritius! The #UKAlumniAwards celebrate the achievements of alumni and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education.

What are your ambitions?

My private endeavour now is to create a proper victim support office for Mauritius and Rodrigues which is not government-owned but made up of professionals who wish to support society and the welfare of the younger generation.

Sexual assault and child prostitution are becoming too much a recurrent feature now to turn a blind eye to.

This is the reason why I applied for the Chevening Scholarship: to bring about social change and make a difference in Mauritian society.

Who has been your biggest influence and why?

My major influence has been working in Rodrigues because it was an opportunity to be closer to the community and to make a real difference in the lives of the people. The two years spent here have really inspired and influenced me.

When I came back from the UK, I continued to carry out work in Rodrigues. I worked with children who are discriminated against and looked down upon, and who are referred to by many as future criminals. I formed a community and taught them vocational subjects.

I intend to set up a scholarship in a leading university in London and my preference would always be my alma mater, Queen Mary. These children would be able to receive a good education and bring back a lot of value to their communities, because I strongly believe that education is key to the eradication of poverty.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

Cases of sexual abuse have been on the rise in Rodrigues. I went to the authorities and asked for a court to be built specifically for women and children who are victims of domestic violence, offering a psychologist, a safe space where their voices are heard. My concern was to get those children on the right track.

A kind politician who has also been a key influence in my life understood my concern and spoke with the chief commissioner of Rodrigues. A meeting fixed, we discussed the matter and the commissioner agreed to provide us with funds. I wanted to bring in a change and I took the first step towards a safer future for those children.

What are the open issues you would like to see addressed in your field?

  1. An action plan from the government on tackling gender-based violence at grass roots level.
  2. Police stations’ treatment of women who are victims of domestic violence and how are they and their concerns are addressed
  3. Rehabilitation of perpetrators.

What would be your words of advice for upcoming students for the course you pursued?

Make use of the opportunities around you. Even when there aren’t any, create them yourself and be willing to put in an effort.

I would advise students to actively take part in networking events and conferences and be at the forefront. Never shy away from new things. 

I’m always willing to help aspiring students who either wish to apply to the course or to the Chevening Scholarship.

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