International Human Rights

Van Tuyl, P. (PI)
Section Number
This course offers an introduction to the theory and practice of human rights. We will examine major sources of international human rights law---including treaties, customary international law, and national law---as well as the institutions in which human rights are contested, adjudicated, and enforced. Key situses of human rights activity include multilateral organizations, like the United Nations Security Council and Human Rights Council; international, regional, and national courts and tribunals; and quasi-judicial treaty bodies, like the U.N. Committee Against Torture. This degree of jurisdictional redundancy offers an opportunity to explore questions of institutional design and interaction as well as processes of normative diffusion. The course will also consider the role of non-state actors---including non-governmental organizations, corporations, terrorist organizations, and ordinary individuals---in promoting and violating human rights. In addition to this survey of the human rights ecosystem, the course will engage some of the fundamental theoretical debates underlying the international human rights project with a focus on perennial questions of legitimacy, justiciability, compliance, and efficacy. Finally, we will explore a range of threats and challenges to the promotion of human rights---both perennial and novel---including economic under-development, terrorism, national security over-reach, patriarchy, and racism. We will read case law originating from all over the world, including the United States. Special Instructions: A limited number of students have the option to write a long research paper in lieu of the final exam with consent of instructor. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. Elements used in grading: Class participation; exam or final long research paper. Cross-listed with Human Rights (HUMRTS 117) and International Policy (INTLPOL 355).
Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail
Course Tags
Academic Year
Section Days
Monday Wednesday
Start Time
2:15 PM
End Time
3:45 PM