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Issues in International Law and Human Rights (Intensive)


Wednesday 14 June - Tuesday 20 June 2023, 9am-12.30pm

5 sessions - Check class timetable
Availability limited


This intensive postgraduate-level course, Issues in International Law and Human Rights, examines the contemporary significance of human rights and the historical, political and social reasons for it becoming such a powerful discourse. The course combines a theoretical and historical approach with a more direct, practical and campaigning attitude. In the first part of the course we will explore the concepts and philosophies of human rights in the context of challenges to traditional international law in the last two or three decades. We will also look at the liberal or ‘humanitarian’ theory of rights from non-liberal standpoints, grouped under the term ‘liberationist’ perspectives.

The second part of the course describes the major institutions and documents that serve as a basis for the protection of human rights worldwide. Familiarity with these sources of human rights law in the international arena is a must for anyone wishing to engage in the defence and promotion of human rights. We will also examine the ongoing merging of the discourse and practice of human rights with security concerns and development.

We also analyse the protection of human rights around the world and the case law of European human rights and Commonwealth institutions. We will focus upon subjects such as:

  • race
  • torture
  • gender
  • migrants
  • self-determination
  • liberation
  • wars
  • terrorism.

The old conflict between those promoting traditional civil and political rights and those prioritising social and economic rights has been transformed after the end of the Cold War into a debate between those promoting the universalism or the cultural specificity of rights. In turn, after 9/11, this state of affairs is yet again being reshaped by the discussion regarding the use of violence for the purposes of achieving liberation and economic justice, and international terrorism. We will examine these lively and highly significant debates and we will then turn to a number of current problems around the theme of violence, human rights and the law.

This course is ideal if you have a professional or personal interest in the field of law. You will also find it of particular interest if you wish to enhance your career through Continuing Professional Development in this area.

This short course is assessed by a 4000-word essay.

30 credits at level 7

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students.

    This short course has no prerequisites.

    As part of the enrolment process, you may be required to submit a copy of a suitable form of ID.

    International students who wish to come to the UK to study a short course can apply for a Visitor visa. Please note that it is not possible to obtain a Student visa to study a short course.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You register directly onto the classes you would like to take. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis - so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then register onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.