Course - Law


Recommended Courses:

Public International Law


This course provides students with an overview of the theory and practice of international human rights law. It will focus on various human rights problems of contemporary significance and the role of international law and institutions in addressing those problems.  Topics include civil and political rights, economic and social rights, the environment and development, gender and equality issues, indigenous peoples, minorities, individual criminal responsibility, and human rights in times of conflict.  The course examines the evolution and content of human rights norms, their sources and legal status, and domestic and international mechanisms for implementing the norms.  Students will become familiar with the United Nations human rights system, as well as with regional regimes, especially that of the Organization of American States.  Themes throughout the course will include the tensions between universalism and cultural diversity, rights and duties as organizing conceptions, evolving notions of statehood and sovereignty, the responsibilities of states and other actors, the relevance of the private-public distinction, and the relationship between the domestic and international legal orders.


Hannum, Anaya, and Shelton, International Human Rights: Problems of Law, Policy, and Practice (Aspen Publishers, 5th ed. 2011) and its Documentary Supplement.

Course Format

Lecture, class discussion, and problem simulation.

Written Assignments

Short papers commenting on assigned readings and, for those taking the class for substantial paper credit, a longer paper building on one of the topics addressed in the course text.

Type of Exam


Basis for grading

Written assignments and class participation.

Additional Comments

This is a required course for Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy LL.M. students.


This class will meet for a total of 10 sessions only.

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