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Human Rights Challenges posed by Global Transformations



Recent world-scale developments such as global migration or health crises have created new human rights challenges, or worsened existing ones. For instance, lockdown measures adopted by governments to manage the Covid-19 pandemic have frequently resulted in increased levels of domestic violence, and have caused violent street protests in some countries. In addition, climate change has given rise to a new category of migrants – the so-called climate migrants – who must flee their homes as their lands become inhospitable or even uninhabitable. However, not only negatively charged global transformations give rise to human rights problems: think for example of the increased use of digital technologies, which has brought many advantages in our daily lives, but has also created new concerns relating, among others, to privacy and data protection.

This seminar-based course explores which human rights challenges arise from global transformations, and invites students to reflect on the adequacy of the current governance system in addressing these challenges. It starts with an introduction to the concept of human rights and how different types of rights are affected by global transformations. It then delves into specific case studies. The course also includes one guest lecture by a practitioner involved in human rights governance, a simulation exercise, and several student presentations.

Course objectives

  • To gain knowledge on global transformations and the governance of the ensuing human rights challenges

  • To conduct independent research and engage in critical reflection on relevant case studies

  • To develop students’ skills in academic discussion, academic writing, and oral presentations


See MyTimetable

Mode of instruction

Lectures, seminars, research, simulation exercises

Assessment method

Students will be assessed on the basis of:

  • Written examination with essay questions: 65% of the final grade

  • Group presentations: 25% of the final grade

  • Individual participation: 10% of the final grade

Students who do not receive a sufficient grade in the written examination will have the opportunity for a resit.

Reading list

To be announced on Brightspace.


See tab 'Practical Information'.

This course is earmarked for the specializations NECD and IP


Valentina Carraro: