nl en

International and Regional Human Rights


Admission requirements

Recommended course(s):

  • Introduction to Social Legal Studies


This course examines the history, development, structure and substance of international and regional human rights law. The course introduces students to the sources, nature, and scope of human rights law, the institutional architecture of the field, and the different contexts in which the language of human rights law is relied upon in practice. Drawing on contemporary case studies, the course invites students to think critically about the value and the limits of human rights law as a vocabulary for addressing different societal challenges. The course focuses on a selection of substantive human rights – including both civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights – and explores the operation of human rights law in different domains, including migration, poverty, and digital technology.

Course Objectives


  • Understand the sources, nature, scope, and institutional architecture of international and regional human rights law

  • Critically evaluate the value and limits of international and regional human rights law as a framework for addressing different societal challenges

  • Understand the tensions and challenges confronted by the operation of international and regional human rights law in different societal domains


  • Apply legal research and writing skills to a topical issue or case in the field of international and regional human rights law

  • Critically examine, orally present and nurture discussions on tensions and challenges related to the application of international and regional human rights law in practice

  • Creatively and collectively develop a short course on a thematic area related to international and regional human rights law


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2021-2022 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

This course uses a variety of teaching methods, including interactive lectures, student-led class debates, research assignments, and student presentations. Before each class students are required to have read the compulsory readings and considered any accompanying discussion questions in preparation for the session. Active participation in class is expected. In-class debates will be based on analysis of thematic issues and concrete cases in the field of international and regional human rights law.

Assessment Method

  • Class Participation – 12% – Ongoing Weeks 1-7

  • Critical Debate Leadership – 18% – Weeks 2-6

  • Innovate Human Rights Education Assignment – 30% (18% for written syllabus; 12% for oral presentation) – Week 7

  • Research Paper – 40% – Week 8

Please note:

  • In accordance with article 4.8 of the Course and Examination Regulations (OER), within 30 days after the publication of grades, the instructor will provide students the opportunity to inspect their exams/coursework.

  • There is a no re-sit policy at Leiden University College.

Reading list

A complete list of required reading materials will be made available prior to the start of the course.

For background reading, the following texts are recommended:

  • Moeckli, D et al (eds), International Human Rights Law (3rd ed, OUP 2017)

  • Marks, S, and Clapham, A, International Human Rights Lexicon (OUP 2005)

  • Bisset, A (ed), Blackstone’s International Human Rights Documents (OUP 2020)

  • Bantekas, I and Oeter, L, International Human Rights – Law and Practice (CUP 2016)

  • Gearty, C and Douzinas, C (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Human Rights Law (CUP 2012)

  • Kapur, R, Gender, Alterity and Human Rights (Edward Elgar 2018)

  • Baxi, U, The Future of Human Rights (OUP 2008)

  • Orford, A (ed), International Law and Its Others (CUP 2006)

  • Rajagopal, B, International Law From Below: Development, Social Movements, and Third World Resistance (CUP 2003)

  • Mutua, M, Human Rights: A Political and Cultural Critique (University of Pennsylvania Press 2002)


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr Barrie Sander