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Human Rights Conceptions in a Pluralist World


Admission requirements
Master degree

This course is set up as a Capita Selecta type of course. It explores several topics that are in the forefront of human rights discourse and/or constitute emerging themes that deserve more attention than could be covered in the other courses against the backdrop of the ever evolving conceptualization of human rights in today’s pluralist world. As a consequence the subject matter of this course may change over the years.
For the academic year 2019-2020 the following topics are envisaged:
-refugee and migration law
-theory and practice of social rights
-human rights and climate change
-local authorities and international human rights (t.b.c.)

To conclude not just this course, but also the years teaching, we look ahead at the future of human rights regarding a specific theme at a special conference organized for the occasion; the topic of this conference will be selected in due time.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course and achievement levels
Students gain profound knowledge and understanding regarding the topics covered;
students can articulate and discuss the main debates and latest developments regarding the topics covered;
students can assess and evaluate how these debates and developments may play out in concrete legal cases.
students get acquainted with participating in an academic conference on a topical human rights issue.*

Mode of instruction

  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 10 Lectures/seminars of 2 hours each

  • Names of lecturers: Dr. E.S. Arenas Catalán (coordinator); dr. Mark Klaassen and guest lecturers (t.b.c.)

  • Required preparation by students: read the compulsory course materials; participation in class, prepare questions and cases; prepare individual and/or group presentations; find and analyze additional materials to prepare for such assignments.

Assessment method

Examination form(s)
Assessment method(s) and the weighting of each form of assessment towards the final grade

  • Written Take-Home Paper on refugee and migration law (40% of the final mark).

  • Written closed-book exam on the theory and practice of social rights (40% of the mark).

  • Written Take-Home Essay regarding the lectures of the guest lecturers (20% of the final mark).

Submission procedures
Written exams: hard copy
Paper: hardcopy and via Blackboard.

Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading (literature) for the course, the course information guide and the subjects taught in the lectures, the seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.

Reading List
Obligatory course materials

  • YES, on Blackboard

Recommended course materials
To be announced on Blackboard

Contact information

  • Co-ordinator: Dr. Eduardo Arenas Catalán

  • Contact information: Leiden University, Faculty of Law, Institute of Public Law
    Kamerlingh Onnes Gebouw, Steenschuur 25, 2311 ES Leiden, Room number B133
    Tel. +31 71 527 5054


  • Institute: Public law

  • Administration advanced masters: BIO

  • Mahshid Alizadeh LLM,