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Security and Rights




Admissions requirements

Sovereignty and Statehood (required)

Principles of Public International Law (recommended)


Human Rights are basic rights and freedoms that every human being is entitled to, irrespective of his or her nationality, sex, religion, national or ethnic origin, language, place of residence or any other status. Human Rights are provided by law in the form of national legislation, EU law, international treaties, customary international law, and other sources of international law. The different terminology used to address these rights, -i.e. ‘fundamental rights’, ‘human rights’, ‘fundamental freedoms’, ‘civil liberties’, reveals the plurality of normative systems in place for their protection. Human rights become fundamental rights through their Europeanization, and national constitutions are there to guarantee their hierarchical status in positive law. Human Rights entail obligations, and states assume obligations and duties to respect, to protect and to fulfill human rights.

Security, on the other hand, is a main concern for states and individuals, but both the concept and the pursuit of security raise a number of important and difficult questions and challenges. While Security provides for the identification of risk situations, human rights law provides the normative framework and limits to address such security risk situations.

The course focuses on the normative symbiosis/tension of human rights and security. We will examine the different concepts related to security and the international legal framework set in place for the protection of Human Rights. We will examine state obligations under human rights law when confronted with security issues. We will also ponder on the role of regional human rights institutions in protecting human rights and addressing security concerns. To explore how a phenomenon may be framed in terms of rights and security, we will examine the migration/refugee crisis and terrorism.

Topics to be covered during the course include:
*Conceptual outlines of Human Rights (Human Rights, Fundamental Rights, Civil Liberties)
*Overview of the applicable international and European legal framework related to the protection of human rights
*Concepts and Approaches to Security (Human, Economic, Food, Environmental, National, Personal)
*Human Security and Human Rights of undocumented migrants and non-citizens

  • Regional Human Rights Institutions and their role in protecting human rights and addressing security issues.
    *Terrorism and Human Rights

Course objectives

After successful completion of this course, the students will be able to
*Explain the main issues, concepts, and legal framework on Human Rights Law and Security;
*Map the legal sources in international human rights law;
*Evaluate how national, European and international legal norms interact in the field of human rights and security;
*Distinguish the different terms and concepts as employed in legal and political discourse;
*Discern relevant facts and apply legal principles to those facts.

Building on the knowledge, the students will be able to:
*Develop writing skills, by employing appropriate and academically accepted referencing;
*Describe facts and explain legal reasoning and courts judgments;
*Write and present orally a well-structured argument, using different sources and literature;
*Undertake a moderate level of analytical examination and original thought;


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The course consists of interactive lectures, including student presentations, class discussion, as well as an interactive, student-led moot court, where the students will present a case as representatives of the State or as human rights lawyers. Teaching materials include primary sources (legal texts and judgments), secondary literature, and case-studies. Active participation of students is highly valued.


Class participation (10%) (weeks 1-7)
Oral Presentation/Discussion Leader Assignment (10%) (weeks 1-7)
Take-home Essay or Case Note (25%) (Mid-Term)
Moot Court Session (15%) (Week 5/6)
Final Written Examination (40%) (week 8)


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Compulsory Reading:

  • Philip Alston and Ryan Goodman, International Human Rights, Oxford University Press, 2012
    Recommended readings:

  • Bantekas, Ilias, and Lutz Oette. 2016. International Human Rights Law and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, second edition

  • Malcolm Shaw, International Law, Cambridge University Press (Chapter 6: The International Protection of Human Rights)

  • Dorothy Estrada-Tanck, Human Security and Human Rights under International Law, Hart Publishing 2016 (Chapter 1)

Further Readings:

  • Helen Duffy, The ‘War on Terror’ and the Framework of International Law (2nd edn, Cambridge University Press 2015)

  • Louise Doswald-Beck, Human Rights in Times of Conflict and Terrorism (Oxford University Press 2011)

  • M Scheinin (ed), Terrorism and Human Rights (Edward Elgar Publishing 2013)


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Assistant Professor Maria Pichou