Introduction to the Protection of Human Rights
Course description: Mandatory course
This foundational course serves an introduction to human rights and their regional protection in Europe and the Americas. It provides a broad and critical understanding of the field of human rights and examines essential aspects of human rights, including their historical origins and philosophical foundations; the universalism versus cultural relativism debate; alternative approaches to classifying human rights; the effects of reservations to and derogations from human rights treaties; and rights of an absolute character and rights which, under certain conditions, may be limited. Furthermore, the course introduces students to the European and the Inter-American human rights systems. It provides an overview of the institutional settings and the competences of the relevant human rights bodies (i.e. the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights), the available procedures and remedies. Through examples taken from the rich jurisprudence of the respective bodies students will be acquainted with the interpretative techniques and will be encouraged to critically engage in a comparative analysis bearing in mind the peculiarities of the two systems.
1. Ability to demonstrate substantial knowledge of human rights protection mechanisms in major jurisdictions – basic level.
2. Ability to demonstrate substantial knowledge of international human rights law – basic level.
3. Ability to benefit from a substantial knowledge of human rights law and protection mechanisms on the supranational level.
4. Ability to benefit from a substantial understanding of the institutional and procedural framework of human rights enforcement.
5. Ability to explain the main institutional and procedural features of regional institutions protecting human rights.
6. Ability to demonstrate knowledge about key human rights concepts, themes and debates in the field.
7. Ability to use legal reasoning at a basic level.
8. Ability to use cases and precedents in legal reasoning at a basic level.
9. Ability to thinking critically at a basic level.
10. Ability to construct well-reasoned arguments about human rights issues at a basic level.
11. Ability to draw comparative conclusions at a basic level.