Securing Human Rights I: Actors and Mechanisms, Skills and Strategies

10 ECTS Credits – Autumn Term

This module is optional for students undertaking the Latin America pathway but is compulsory for other students.

Aims and Objectives

This module critically examines strategies employed by inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, civil society groups and governmental agencies to secure human rights. It also reflects on and builds skills for human rights practice. It exposes students to the practical work of various human rights actors, the contexts in which they operate, the techniques they use, and the challenges they face. It comprises weekly required readings, lectures, workshops and seminars; the emphasis throughout is on participation, while assignments are designed to support the acquisition of relevant skills. The module includes substantial contributions from practitioners, who will engage directly with the students. Overall, it provides insights into the practices and contexts of effective human rights activism.

Module Outline

Section A – Actors and Mechanisms gives students an overview of the role of various key players in implementing human rights. It also explores the processes, institutions and ideational and material factors that influence state behaviour vis-à-vis human rights obligations. Starting with an initial overview of key theories of norm adherence and normative change in human rights, lectures move to look in-depth at the role of the state and NGOs in securing human rights, followed by a review of domestic and international protection mechanisms for human rights.  Section B – Skills and Strategies familiarises students with practical abilities needed to run human rights projects at different levels. It offers insight and expertise on lobbying; media; campaigning; and research, monitoring, reporting.  The learning format uses simulations and practical exercises aimed at developing or improving skills further. In addition, students will be introduced to key operational skills, specifically, to human rights-based approaches to project cycle management and to fundraising strategies.

Assessment

4,000 word essay = 45% of the total grade.
3,000 word funding proposal and oral presentation = 45%
Seminar participation = 10% of the total grade.

This module is ordinarily taught on Thursdays. Lectures usually take place from 10.00am to 12.00 and individual classes are held at 12.30 to 1.30pm, 2.30pm to 3.30pm or 3.45pm to 4.45pm.

This module is taught by Dr. Corinne Lennox.