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School of Law

LAW6034 International Human Rights Law

Over the last three decades, human rights have become the dominant intellectual, political and legal framework through which contemporary challenges are addressed. Poverty, inequality, environmental disasters, political repression, even war: these are only a few examples of the range of issues that tend increasingly to be framed in human rights terms and for which solutions are sought at the level of international human rights law. This module aims to provide students with a unique and thorough doctrinal, theoretical and contextual knowledge of the subject, alongside a critical understanding of the potential and limitations of the international human rights law framework as a medium for thinking about broader moral, political and social issues. The module has three main components. A 'general' historical and institutional part, which traces the concept and evolution of human rights up to their modern international incarnation and assesses the contemporary systems of international human rights protection, including the UN and regional systems. A 'specific' part, which explores a number of different rights (e.g. the right to life) and issues (e.g. the war on terror). And finally a theoretical component, which introduces students to the main theories and critiques of rights (e.g. feminism; post-colonialism), prompting them to think critically about the emancipatory potential of human rights law and institutions. Through the dissertation, the module also encourages students to pursue their own independent interests within the subject.

Method of assessment

  • 15% essay (2000 words)
  • 85% dissertation (13,000 words)

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