International Human Rights Law in Context - LW644

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
Canterbury Autumn
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6 15 (7.5)
Canterbury Spring
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6 15 (7.5) DR DS Dinsmore


LW642 or LW506. Students can take LW644 along side LW642.





The module will examine the evolution, principles, institutions and functions of international human rights law in their political, social and economic contexts. It will provide students with detailed knowledge and understanding of the origins and development of human rights law through critical study and analysis of key theoretical perspectives and debates. The module will enable students to consider the relevance, or otherwise, of international human rights law to historical and/or contemporary challenges and to critically assess its limitations and effects.

An indicative list of topics is as follows:

  • The History of Human Rights Law and Contemporary Approaches to Human Rights Law.
  • United Nations Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures.
  • Regional Human Rights Systems and Approaches.
  • The International Bill of Human Rights: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
  • The Prohibition of Torture.
  • Human Rights in Times of Crisis.
  • Rights of Women.
  • Rights of the Child.
  • Minority Rights.
  • Indigenous People's Rights.
  • Forced Migration and Displacement.
  • Right to Development.
  • Details

    This module appears in:

    Contact hours

    One hour lecture and one hour seminar weekly.


    Autumn term.

    Method of assessment

    100% coursework consisting of two essays.

    Preliminary reading

    See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

    See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

    Learning outcomes

    On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

    1. Critically review the origins, development and current key debates on human rights in international law drawing on evidence from a range of sources.
    2. Critically evaluate the central principles and institutions of international and regional human rights frameworks in the contemporary global, political, economic and social context.
    3. Appreciate the limits of international human rights law by applying and analysing different theoretical perspectives and critical concerns.
    4. Apply international human rights law to a series of case studies of historical or contemporary concern.

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