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This subject examines the theory and practice of international human rights. It explores the historical origin of the idea of human rights culminating in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and critically examines the development of human rights regimes and practice at the international and regional levels. Key issues examined include the philosophical and political debates about the foundations and practice of human rights, including whether human rights have outgrown their western origins; the relationship between international human rights law and international and domestic politics; human rights advocacy and the role of NGOs; international responses to human rights abuses; and the challenge of human rights enforcement, including the role of international courts and tribunals. These issues will be explored through a range of case studies, such as the rights of refugees, protection against people trafficking, protection against torture, gender discrimination and the rights of ethnic minorities.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Develop a critical understanding of the historical evolution of international human rights;
- Develop a critical understanding of the key issues, challenges, actors, and institutions associated with human rights advocacy and protection, standard setting and enforcement;
- Develop a critical understanding of the key philosophical and political debates on human rights;
- Develop a sound knowledge of the human rights practice across a range of different issue areas;
- Develop a critical understanding of the possibilities and limits of international human rights.
On successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
- Apply research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry;
- Develop persuasive arguments on a given topic;
- Communicate oral and written arguments and ideas effectively;
- Develop cross-cultural understanding.
Last updated: 3 November 2022