Introduction to International Human Rights
Full course description
Human rights are a universal language intended to end discrimination and violence, reduce human suffering and promote human development. In this course, we analyse human rights from the perspective of international law, specifically examining the following issues: the obligations of states to uphold universal standards and the mechanisms in place to transform national injustices into international concerns, giving rise to recommendations to governments (but not necessarily imposing sanctions per se). These obligations and mechanisms were created after 1948, when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN).
The group sessions in this course are devoted to problem-based and discussion tasks. In addition, there will be a lecture and/or recorded knowledge clip(s) every week.
- Final exam with open questions, accounting for 85% of the grade of the course.
- A mid-term assignment, in the form of an oral contribution, such as (but not necessarily) a presentation or participation in a debate or moot court. This assignment will not be graded, but will be assessed on a pass/fail basis. The assignment will count for 15% of the final grade for the course. Therefore, a pass means that the student receives one and a half points; a fail means that the student receives no points. The final grade is calculated as follows: [Exam grade x 0.85] + [Assignment grade: pass (1.5) or fail (0)]. In the event that a student has to take a re-sit exam, the assessment for the assignment remains valid.
- To provide an introduction to international human rights law and the institutional framework of the UN.
- The student analyses the legal status and nature of international (UN) human rights norms and state obligations.
- The student examines the position and role of non-state actors in relation to international human rights.
- The student finds their way through the major international (UN) human rights treaties (ICERD 1965, ICCPR and ICESCR 1966, CEDAW 1979, CAT 1984, CRC 1989, CRPD 2006) and relevant documents related to the institutional framework of the UN.
- The student applies international (UN) human rights norms with critical reasoning and legal argumentation to concrete problems.
- The student distinguishes between, and becomes familiar with, treaty- and UN Charter-based mechanisms (especially, special procedures and UPR).
Students must have followed one or more law courses at Bachelor level.
Obligatory 2 books:
- Bisset, Alison (ed.), International Human Rights Documents. Oxford: OUP (12th Edition, 2020), ISBN 9780198860921.
Moeckli, Daniel, et al. (eds.), International Human Rights Law. Oxford: OUP (Third Edition, 2017): ISBN 9780198767237.