Introduction to Social Legal Studies
Principles of Public International Law is recommended, but not required.
The realisation and protection of Human Rights worldwide remains an ongoing struggle. Often we witness how aspirations for political, social and economic freedoms are repressed in countries such as Russia, China, Syria, Darfur and North Korea. In addition, problems caused by poverty and gross disparities of income, such as unequal access to education, work and health care, often lead to serious violations of human rights. Thus, it is not surprising that human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch annually report on critical human rights situations in over 90 countries and territories worldwide.
The objective of this course is to develop your critical understanding of the principles, structures and institutions of international and regional human rights law and their role in a changing world order. The course will examine the abuse of civil and political rights as well as violations of economic and social rights within the context of the international and regional human rights systems. It will also refer to the progressive development of a third category of human rights, namely collective rights such as for example the right to peace and the right to a safe environment. In the process, the course will provide you with tools to investigate and analyse human rights violations and to consider the possible responses with a particular focus on the role of judiciary mechanisms.
Conduct research on issues and cases in the area of international and regional human rights
Apply your knowledge of the international and regional human rights systems to the analysis of specific cases of human rights abuse
Write qualitative papers on issues or cases relating to international and regional human rights systems
Orally defend legal arguments relating to international and regional human rights issues by way of a moot court exercise
Understand the international and regional human rights systems
Locate human rights violations in the broader context of our globalized society and critically evaluate the actions or omissions of the actors involved.
Identify and examine critical successes and failures in the trajectory of current (or past) efforts to improve human rights in national and/or international contexts.
Once available, timetables will be published here.
Mode of instruction
This course combines class discussions with lectures and “moot court” debates based on the decisions of different international and regional human rights bodies, ranging from the UN Human Rights Committee to the European, Inter-American and African Courts of Human Rights. Accordingly, two weekly interactive seminars – and their preparation – will provide you with the opportunity for thoughtful participation in class discussions and mock debates, based on the careful analysis of required readings and group work.
Written work (one policy brief on a current issue of human rights abuse in the form of a note addressed to a relevant ministry outlining the issue and providing policy recommendations due at the end of week 3, a 1000 word essay due at the end of week 5 and a 3000 word final essay due at the end of week 8) will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your critical appreciation and effective application of international and regional human rights frameworks, and to conduct research by applying your improved skills and knowledge to this interdisciplinary field. To that effect, your oral debate and written essays will address complex human rights challenges, past, present or in the future.
In-class participation – 10% – Ongoing Weeks 1-7
Policy brief – 15% - week 3
1000 word essay – 20% - Week 5
Moot court – 20% - week 7
Final research essay (3000 words) – 35% – 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.
Course textbook to be purchased by students: International Human Rights – Law and Practice by Ilias Bantekas and Lutz Oeter
Additional required reading material will be made available on Blackboard.
This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Hanne Cuyckens