Human Rights and Human Development
Full course description
Human rights and human development is not a separate branch of public international law or international human rights law. It is rather a hybrid area of social, legal and certainly also academic interest. It draws inspiration from different approaches and disciplines, such as law, development studies, economics, social sciences and globalisation studies that aim to reframe discussion of development from being purely economics oriented, to operating within a background of normative concepts such as rights and responsibilities. For example, UNDP has described development as ‘the process of enlarging people’s choices, by expanding human functionings and capabilities. (..) It represents a process as well as an end.’ (UNDP Development Report 2000, p. 17). Under this understanding rights are neither a tool nor an obstacle for development, but the substance of development itself.
This course is theoretical and practical. At the theoretical level it familiarizes students with interdisciplinary thinking on human rights and economic justice. At the practical level, it seeks to equip students with the tools needed to analyse public policy using human rights as standards. What this course is not is an exploration of the dogmatic content of a field of law (ie. environmental law, international law, etc.). Human rights and human development is a interdisciplinary field that critiques existing law from an external perspective, and although some legal materials may be friendly to human development, these materials do not coalesce into a mature field of law.
In using a right-based approach to sustainable globalization, this course goes beyond the traditional legal boundaries between public and private law and is envisaged as a unifying tool building bridges between the respective bodies of law that affect development issues. It does not necessarily provide new "black letter" law on these questions, but rather a referential framework to observe, analyze and assess the impact of development oriented norms and practices at the local and global levels.
1) Students understand the theoretical notions and concepts underlying the relationship between human rights and development.
2) Students are able to apply theoretical notions to problems in the field of development.
3) Students gain an ability to do research in areas where facts are complex and the law is unsettled.
4) Students understand the demands that law makes on key aspects of the global economic order.
5) Students are able to conduct an analysis of public policy using human rights as a standard for evaluation.
6) Students make a written and oral presentation about a topic where notions of human rights and development interact.
A basic knowledge of human rights law and/or international economic law.
As there is no textbook on Human Rights and Human Development issues from a holistic perspective, the planning group has opted for a combination of different types of materials: a reader, chapters from academic books, on-line journal articles, primary legal sources and materials from websites.