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  3. International Human Rights Law

International Human Rights Law (LAWS70264)

Graduate coursework level 7Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 7
Subject codeLAWS70264
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

The field of international human rights law is today composed of a multitude of legal instruments, implementation bodies, special procedures, human rights NGOs and transitional justice mechanisms. This subject provides the opportunity to examine this field in many of its dimensions, equipping students to navigate the system and critically assess its fundamental features. It will be of interest to all students who want to develop a detailed understanding of how the international human rights law system operates, including those with limited or no background in the area. The two lecturers have significant experience across a diverse range of topics and issues within international human rights law, which they draw upon to create an engaging and thought-provoking subject.

Principal topics include:

  • Human rights and the challenges posed by state sovereignty and national security
  • The contested universality of human rights
  • The international institutional framework for the protection of human rights, with a special focus on the Human Rights Council and treaty monitoring system
  • The interpretation and application of selected rights from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
  • Domestic measures for the implementation of human rights, such as judicial implementation of economic, social and cultural rights
  • The norm of non-discrimination as it relates to race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity
  • The contribution of truth and reconciliation commissions to the protection of human rights
  • Human rights law relating to refugees and asylum-seekers
  • The challenges posed by economic globalisation.


Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated knowledge of the international legal and institutional frameworks for the protection of human rights
  • Be able to critically examine and analyse the history of international human rights
  • Be an engaged participant in debates about the contested universality of international human rights
  • Be able to make a sophisticated assessment of the effectiveness of different mechanisms for implementing or enforcing human rights, such as judicial implementation, periodic reporting, international criminal courts, and truth and reconciliation commissions
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine and critically evaluate current issues by reference to international human rights standards
  • Be able to analyse, interpret and assess the challenges posed to the implementation of international human rights in the context of globalisation
  • Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and advocate in the field of international human rights law.

Last updated: 7 September 2019