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International and Regional Human Rights




Admissions requirements

Introduction to Social Legal Studies
Principles of Public International Law is recommended, but not required.


The purpose of this module is to examine the history, development, structure and efficacy of international and regional human rights law. 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 explore the progressive development of human rights, for example, relating to indigenous peoples, the environment and cultural heritage.
In developing a critical understanding of role of human rights in a changing world order, students will assess the remedies that exist for violations of human rights law in the various judicial systems and examine concrete case studies that highlight the synergies and antagonisms present in many human rights debates. The course will provide students with the tools to investigate and analyse human rights violations and to consider possible responses with a particular focus on access to justice.

Course objectives


  • 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 an in-class debate

  • 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 past and current efforts to improve human rights in national, regional and international contexts


Once available, timetables will be published in the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

This course is taught through interactive lectures, discussion and debate. Before each class students are required to have read the essential materials and consider the questions/ discussion points in preparation for the class. In-class debates will based on analysis of concrete cases and international and regional decisions - from the UN Human Rights Committee, as well as the European, Inter-American and African Courts of Human Rights.

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 students the opportunity to demonstrate their critical appreciation and effective application of international and regional human rights frameworks, and to conduct research by applying the acquired skills and knowledge to this interdisciplinary field. To that effect, oral debate and written essays will address complex human rights challenges, both past and present.


  • In-class participation – 10% – Ongoing Weeks 1-7

  • Policy brief – 15% - week 3

  • 1000 word essay – 22% - Week 5

  • Debate/moot court – 18% - week 7

  • Final research essay (3000 words) – 35% – 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.


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

Course textbook to be purchased by students: Ilias Bantekas and Lutz Oeter, International Human Rights – Law and Practice, Cambridge University Press, 2016.

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


Dr Amy Strecker