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International Relations & Human Rights LawOrganization logo: Erasmus University Rotterdam

About this minor

Examine unresolved theoretical, legal and practical questions concerning the issues of international relations as well as universality of human rights. Whose responsibility it is to protect human rights? And whether human rights conventions, laws, and regimes are effective.

The minor will explore how governments, non-governmental organisations and international institutions interact in their efforts to protect human rights.It will trace the evolution of human rights concepts and how they inspire the negotiation of intergovernmental treaties and the establishment of international institutions and courts to protect human rights. It will also provide a brief review of the most prominent International Relations (IR) theories and explore how these theories address the role of human rights in international politics.

Thus, the course looks at the juxtaposition of the traditional claims of states to guard sovereignty and impose order against more recent claims by individuals to freedom, rights, justice, universal moral order and humane treatment. State sovereignty and international relations have a profound impact on the ability of the international community to respond to gross human rights violations. The positive and negative impacts of domestic politics and transnational actors and the collision of human rights ideals with the doctrine of state sovereignty will be recurring themes in the course.

Examine unresolved theoretical, legal and practical questions concerning the issues of international relations as well as universality of human rights. Whose responsibility it is to protect human rights? And whether human rights conventions, laws, and regimes are effective.

The minor will explore how governments, non-governmental organisations and international institutions interact in their efforts to protect human rights.It will trace the evolution of human rights concepts and how they inspire the negotiation of intergovernmental treaties and the establishment of international institutions and courts to protect human rights. It will also provide a brief review of the most prominent International Relations (IR) theories and explore how these theories address the role of human rights in international politics.
Thus, the course looks at the juxtaposition of the traditional claims of states to guard sovereignty and impose order against more recent claims by individuals to freedom, rights, justice, universal moral order and humane treatment. State sovereignty and international relations have a profound impact on the ability of the international community to respond to gross human rights violations. The positive and negative impacts of domestic politics and transnational actors and the collision of human rights ideals with the doctrine of state sovereignty will be recurring themes in the course.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the history, theories and issues of international relations;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the main human rights provisions and ways of their enforcement;
  • Understand the role of interpretation principles characteristic of human rights;
  • Articulate an informed view about current debates on human rights enforcement in international relations.
  • Analyze and present a case on one of these issues

Teaching method and examination

Teaching method:
This minor will consist of mixed-method teachings where participatory lectures, cases, group assignments, simulations and presentations will be a part of the curriculum.
In addition, site visits are anticipated to key institutions, such as the International Criminal Court or Cordaid, to enable the students to witness the practical application of the principles studied.

Teaching materials:
Smart board, books, articles.

Method of Examination:
Written pleadings and essays, moot court presentations, group assignments, take-home exam

Composition of final grade:
Written pleadings and essays, moot court presentations, group assignments, take-home exam
Professional behaviour (10%)
Assignment I (International Relations) (20%)
Assignment II (Human Rights Law) (30%)
Final Essay (40%)

Good to know

Afternoon in-class lectures (offline) and whole day study visits.

Additional information

  • Code
    MINUC001
  • Theme
    Interdisciplinary
  • Credits
    ECTS 15
  • Selection minor
    No
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