The University of Southampton
Courses

LAWS6074 International Protection of Human Rights

Module Overview

Following the atrocities of World War II, states explicitly agreed to safeguard the inherent dignity of every human being by protecting inalienable rights to which all members of the human family were equally entitled. Those rights, internationally recognised as ‘human rights’, are still relevant today. Rights such as life, health, freedom from torture, education, freedom of religion, work, fair trial, housing etc. remain heavily violated worldwide and require protection. Various mechanisms have been established at the international and regional levels to monitor human rights’ implementation. Furthermore, various actors have come into play. Human rights law is not limited to interactions between states and international organisations anymore; it also involves the civil society and must face challenges raised by non-state actors. These interactions, embedded in issues of poverty, terrorism and democracy, have created a rich and fascinating corpus of law: this is what the module International Protection of Human Rights will explore. This module is designed for students to explore and analyse the development of international law as a means of protecting human rights.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To explore and analyse the development of international law as a means of protecting human rights. The aims and objectives are: • An appreciation and appraisal of the international legal framework for human rights law, through a study of the main UN procedures and selected regional arrangements (the latter with a particular emphasis on the Council of Europe). • To enable participants to acquire and develop the skills of identifying, using, and comparing international human rights law material. • To enable participants to acquire and develop the skills of understanding how such material may be interpreted or applied in practice, and to analyse subsequent shortcomings. • To leave the student with a solid understanding and critical overview of the evolution of international human rights law, so as to gain perspectives on its further evolution.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The protection of human rights by the United Nations: key institutions and instruments
  • The protection of human rights by regional frameworks: key institutions and instruments
  • The relationship between civil and political rights, with economic, social and cultural rights
  • The actors in the realisation of human rights law: right-holders and duty-bearers
  • The supranational legal standards on civil and political rights: key instruments and jurisprudence
  • The supranational legal standards on economic, social and cultural rights: key instruments and jurisprudence
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify, locate and analyse key international human rights instruments and jurisprudence
  • Reflect upon, appraise the importance of, and compare the main mechanisms of human rights protection at the international and regional level
  • Reflect upon and appraise the strengths and weaknesses of the key institutions created in the arena of international human rights law
  • Criticise and analyse the leading jurisprudence on selected substantive rights (see Knowledge and Understanding)
  • Analyse and assess the limitations of international human rights law/explain and rationalise such limitations
  • Produce effectively reasoned and structured responses to a given proposition or statement, which are supported by reference to legal authority
  • Communicate in writing an understanding and critical analysis of key aspects of international human rights law; formulate effective arguments with clear and accurate use of language and legal terminology
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse, interpret and evaluate complex material
  • Effectively apply knowledge to solve practical problems
  • Formulate an effectively reasoned and structured argument
  • Communicate and present written arguments supported by appropriate references
  • Critically analyse contemporary issues in the light of human rights law

Syllabus

Aims and Objectives Semester 1 will cover supranational mechanisms of human rights protection. We will, thus, examine the main international and regional frameworks, the rights they protect, the instruments on which they rely, as well as the actors and possibly other fields of law with which they interact. Semester 2 will cover international human rights law jurisprudence. We will, therefore, study the substantive content of a selection of civil and political rights (e.g. right to life, freedom from torture) and of a selection of economic, social and cultural rights (e.g. right to food, right to health). Syllabus 1 – Mechanisms of human rights protection in the United Nations and in regional systems 2 – Scope and key actors in human rights law 3 – Human rights law jurisprudence: substantive content of a selection of civil and political rights 4 – Human rights law jurisprudence: substantive content of a selection of economic, social and cultural rights

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching Methods include: 1. Seminars (2 hours per week) - they will provide knowledge and information within a structured context – reading is required in preparation 2. Tutorials (1 hour every two weeks) 3. One to one feedback on essays Learning Activities include: 1. Directed reading, assisted by reading lists and (sometimes) availability of materials on Blackboard; 2. Accessing electronic resources in the form of international legal instruments, journal articles and case materials; 3. Reviewing and evaluating complex material 4. Tackling and solving factual problems of international law 5. Formulating and presenting in oral form (through class participation) and in written form (assessed and non-assessed essays) reasoned and structured arguments 6. Reading groups 7. Debates 8. Completions of formative and summative assessments identified below Lectures will develop: • The structure of the subject and the key applicable principles and role of international law in the fields under consideration • Your understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the key institutions created in the arena of international human rights law • Your understanding of the limitations of international human rights law • A critical perspective upon the leading human rights jurisprudence on selected substantive rights Preparation for and participation in tutorials/seminars will develop: • Your knowledge of the substantive principles of international human rights law • Your ability to manage and access a diverse range of sources of law • Your ability to collate arguments for and against propositions relating to the law • Your ability to critical assess new perspectives on the law • Your ability to participate constructively in oral discussions concerning the above

TypeHours
Teaching40
Independent Study260
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Daniel Moeckli, Sangeeta Shah and Sandesh Sikumaran (2014). International Human Rights Law. 

journal articles available via ‘Heinonline’. 

Alison Bisset (ed) (2014). Blackstone’s International Human Rights Documents. 

Robin CA White andClare Ovey, Jacobs, White & Ovey (2010). The European Convention on Human Rights. 

cases from legal databases/institutions’ websites. 

Henry Steiner and Philip Alston (2012). International human rights [the successor to international human rights in context]. 

international treaty texts available from the UN’s website. 

Resources. All reading lists/lecture hand-outs etc. are made available via ‘Blackboard’.

Assessment

Formative

Oral presentation

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (5000 words) 50%
Essay  (5000 words) 50%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (5000 words) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (5000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Costs

Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Textbooks

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the core/ recommended text as appropriate.

Other textbook

Core textbook

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Google+ Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×