Master of International Affairs   Master of Public Policy  

Fundamental debates in human rights in the 21st century

This course is about the fundamental debates that have shaped and continue to shape our understandings of human rights. Through a critical analysis of the developments of human rights law and many of its prevailing controversies, it asks how human rights operates as a central normative concern in domestic and global governance practices.  This is a course for those interested in exploring the central debates concerning if, and how, human rights should guide decision-making at domestic and international levels.

The course has two parts:

  • Part 1 starts with grand and classic debates about human rights, such as the universality/relativity of human rights, the legitimacy of human rights lawmaking, enforceability of socio-economic rights and the absolute character of certain human rights.
  • Part 2 focuses on contemporary debates, including rights of religious minorities, corporate accountability for human rights violations, human rights of future generations from the scourges of climate change and issues emerging from the developments of new technologies.