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UOL International Protection of Human Rights

International Protection of Human Rights explores the nature of human rights, the legal mechanisms established to enforce them, and key thematic areas such as the prohibition of torture, racial discrimination, and the rights of refugees. This module allows students to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities inherent in the global pursuit of human rights.


This section sets the stage for the entire module, providing an overview of the concept of human rights, its historical evolution, and the importance of protecting these rights. It introduces the basic principles and the rationale behind the international community's commitment to uphold human rights.

Nature of Human Rights

This topic delves into the characteristics and classifications of human rights, distinguishing between civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. It discusses the universality, inalienability, interdependence, and indivisibility of human rights, emphasising how these rights are inherent to all human beings regardless of nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status.

International Law

This section focuses on the role of international law in the protection of human rights. It covers the sources of international law, including treaties, customary international law, general principles, and the significant contributions of judicial decisions and the teachings of highly qualified publicists.

International Legal Order

This section explains the system of laws and principles that govern the relations between states and other international actors. It emphasises the legal frameworks and mechanisms that support the enforcement of human rights at the international level, including the principle of sovereignty and the limits placed on it by human rights obligations.

United Nations System

This section examines the United Nations' role in promoting and protecting human rights globally. It covers the structure and functions of key UN bodies involved in human rights, such as the UN Human Rights Council, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and various treaty-based committees.

European System

This topic explores the European framework for human rights protection, focusing on the European Convention on Human Rights and the role of the European Court of Human Rights. It discusses the Council of Europe's contributions to human rights protection and the enforcement mechanisms within the European system.

Inter-American System

This section examines the Inter-American system for the protection of human rights, highlighting the American Convention on Human Rights and the work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

African System

This section covers the African human rights system, focusing on the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Banjul Charter) and the roles of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights.

Prohibition of Torture

This section discusses the international legal instruments and mechanisms aimed at preventing torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. It covers the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its implications for states' parties.

Racial Discrimination

This topic addresses the international efforts to combat racial discrimination, focusing on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the work of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Rights of Women

This topic explores the protection and promotion of women's rights on the international stage, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the role of the CEDAW Committee.

Rights of Children

This section discusses the rights of children and the international legal framework for their protection, with a focus on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its optional protocols, as well as the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Rights of Refugees

This section offers an overview of the legal protections afforded to refugees, focusing on the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, and the role of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in protecting and assisting refugees.

Right to Religious Freedom

This topic explores the international legal protections for the right to freedom of religion or belief, including relevant provisions in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.

Dealing with Gross Atrocities

This topic discusses the international community's response to gross human rights violations and atrocities, including genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. It covers the role of international tribunals, such as the International Criminal Court, and the principle of the Responsibility to Protect.

The module examines various aspects of international human rights protection, from legal principles and mechanisms to thematic issues and regional systems. Through the course, students will deepen their understanding of the challenges and opportunities inherent in the pursuit of a more just and equitable world.

Check out our exam-focused International Protection of Human Rights notes now.

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