Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment One essay of 5000 words  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the justification for the international legal protection of human rights.
2. Display knowledge of the international legal and institutional frameworks for the protection of human rights.
3. Assess and explain the operation of the different mechanisms for the protection of human rights and evaluate their effectiveness.
4. Conduct research and find legal solutions related to the protection of international human rights.
5. Situate human rights issues in the broad context of international and national law.
6. Demonstrate critical and analytical skills and apply them to concrete cases and situations.


1. The universality/relativism of human rights. The justification of international human rights protection and its implications for states, groups and individuals.

2. The legal structures for the protection of human rights: universal and regional systems and their characteristics.
3. The United Nations and the Bill of Human Rights: Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
4. The interpretation of selected rights from the ICCPR and ICESCR.

5. The United Nations system: the Human Rights Council and the specialized bodies.
6. Regional organizations, institutions and mechanisms.
7. International tribunals, courts and other mechanisms (e.g. Truth and Reconciliation Commissions).
8. Non-Governmental Organizations and domestic measures for the protection of human rights, and their relationship with the international system.

Brief description

This module will provide students with a sound knowledge of the relevant international legal regulations and mechanisms concerning the legal protection of human rights. Human rights protection is strictly linked to the development of international law. Students will have to understand the key substantive issues which constitute the international law of human rights, within the broader framework of the concepts and problems of international law. The aim of this module is to provide the understanding of the complex international system for the protection of human rights, with a particular focus on practical problems that may be relevant for professional aims. The module will provide the background knowledge to understand other and more specialized topics which are, or may be, linked to the international protection of human rights.

The module will provide a general overview of the most relevant issues concerning the international protection of human rights. These will include the international and universal approach to the definition and protection of human rights, and the implications for states, groups and individuals. The module will focus on the international law related to human rights, in particular the International Bill of Human Rights. The role of the United Nations and relevant regional organizations will be discussed, as well as the main mechanisms available at international and regional level, such as international courts and other mechanisms. The role of Non-Governmental Organizations will also be considered.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Written communication is developed by the presentation of information and argument in written answers and in a more informal way by the use of Blackboard to encourage communication among students and between students and staff. Oral communication skills are developed at the residential study schools. Written communication assessed only.
Improving own Learning and Performance Distance learning, by its very nature, requires strong individual learning and performance structures and this module further develops key skills in this area.
Information Technology The module is delivered almost entirely by distance learning which relies heavily on the use of electronic information resources and on-line learning and teaching
Personal Development and Career planning Independent learning enhances time management skills. Studying the module will also develop an enhanced capacity for critical thought and the ability to work independently.
Problem solving By the examination and discussion of questions raised in the module.
Research skills Students will be required to read and study beyond the set module texts and to locate further materials and research findings on the subject.
Subject Specific Skills None
Team work Team working skills will be developed in group activities and discussions at the residential study schools.


This module is at CQFW Level 7