Human Rights & International Law


The course will undertake a study of the full complexity of current international human rights law, including civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. The following areas will be covered: the history of human rights in international relations; the role of international organizations (IO), and specifically the United Nations, in the development of international norms and rights; the role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), for example Amnesty International, in the formation and implementation of human rights standards; the dialectic between individual human rights and collective human rights; and issues of cultural relativism versus universality. We will examine the extent to which civil rights, cultural rights, economic rights, gay & lesbian rights, political rights, social rights, solidarity rights, and women’s rights have impacted across borders on the behavior of state and non-state actors. In addition, we will explore problems of war prevention and the protection of human rights during warfare. Case studies of U.S. foreign policy and international law will also be examined.