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International Human Rights Law

Université catholique de Louvain via edX

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Overview

Human rights are developed through the constant dialogue between international human rights bodies and domestic courts, in a search that crosses geographical, cultural and legal boundaries. The result is a unique human rights grammar, which this course shall discuss and question, examining the sources of human rights, the rights of individuals, the duties of States, and the mechanisms of protection.

We shall rely extensively on comparative material from different jurisdictions, to study a wide range of topics including, religious freedom in multicultural societies, human rights in employment relationships, economic and social rights in development, or human rights in the context of the fight against terrorism.

Syllabus

1. What are human rights?
1.1. The sources of human rights law
1.2. Human rights and the theory of sources
1.3. The special nature of human rights
1.4. The question of reservations to human rights treaties
1.5. The jus commune of human rights

2. To which situations do human rights apply?
2.1. Jurisdiction – an introduction
2.2. Human rights, State sovereignty, and national territory
2.3. The typology of human rights: respect – protect – fulfill
2.4. Situations of emergency and derogations

3. When may human rights be restricted?
3.1. The absolute prohibition of torture and ill-treatment
3.2. Deportation of aliens and the prohibition of ill-treatment
3.3. Limitations to human rights: legitimacy
3.4. Limitation to human rights: legality
3.5. Limitation to human rights: necessity

4. When must the State intervene to protect human rights?
4.1. The State’s duty to protect human rights: introduction
4.2. Waiver of rights
4.3. Conflicts between human rights in inter-individual relationships
4.4. Transnational corporations

5. How much must States do to fulfill human rights?
5.1. The duty to fulfill – introduction
5.2. What are human rights-based policies?
5.3. How is progress measured? Indicators and benchmarks
5.4. How much is enough? “Progressive realization”

6. What is discrimination?
6.1. When does the non-discrimination requirement apply?
6.2. What are the States’ obligations?
6.3. How to address profiling and stereotyping?
6.4. What is discrimination?

7. How are human rights protected at domestic level?
7.1. What is the right to an effective remedy?
7.2. The justiciability of social rights
7.3. The role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs)

8. How are human rights protected at international level?
8.1. The Human Rights Council and the Universal Periodic Review
8.2. The Human Rights Council and its Special Procedures
8.3. UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies and individual communications

Taught by

Olivier De Schutter

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