This seminar considers major issues in contemporary international human rights from the perspective of the advocate. The initial class sessions will familiarize participants with key human rights standards and their implementation and enforcement through international, regional and national institutions and by non-governmental organizations. The remainder of the seminar will evaluate human rights advocacy tools and strategies applied in current political and social contexts and through case studies. We will critically examine the role of institutions and non-governmental organizations in upholding, advocating or failing to uphold international human rights standards. Topics are wide-ranging and include the challenges and opportunities presented to human rights advocates by: developments in national security and counterterrorism laws and policies; the intersection of international human rights and humanitarian law; and, how "positive" economic and social rights can and should be enforced in market economies and resource-challenged developing countries. We will have several human rights activists as guests.
There are no course prerequisites. This is not a course solely for human rights lawyers and advocates or even only for law students. In prior years, students from a variety of educational, professional and regional backgrounds have participated in the seminar, including experienced human rights advocates and lawyers, graduate students in international affairs and business, journalists and diplomats. This diversity of perspectives has facilitated lively and productive discussion. A paper is required and brief oral presentations on assigned topics also may be required.