International Human Rights Law


This course is designed to expose students to the laws which deal with the protection of individuals and groups against violations by governments of certain internationally guaranteed human rights.



  • Semester 1 - 2017

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Knowledge and understanding of the current practical and theoretical issues relating to international human rights law as demonstrated through oral participation and written submissions.

2. Knowledge and understanding of the structures and processes through which international human rights norms are established and transformed into rights.

3. Knowledge and understanding of the relationship of international human rights norms to the Australian legal system.

4. Sound development in the skills of legal research in relation to a topic in international human rights law, high level interpersonal and oral and written communication skills, synthesis and analysis of primary and secondary legal materials, and analysis and evaluation of competing policy considerations.

5. A capacity effectively to relate the practice of international human rights law to the complex theoretical, historical, social and political contexts in which the law operates.


  1. Introduction to the Themes of the Course- Background to the International Human Rights Movement.
  2. Relevant United Nations Treaties (ICCPR & ICESCR).
  3. National Security, Terrorism and Limitations on Human Rights.
  4. United Nations Investigation of Human Rights Violations.
  5. United Nations Treaty Bodies: The ICCPR Human Rights Committee.
  6. Enforcement Mechanisms and Humanitarian Intervention.
  7. State Enforcement of International Human Rights including Australia.
  8. Interaction between evolving norms of universal human rights and domestic laws.
  9. Conflicting Traditions and Rights: Gender, Religion, Dress and Symbols, Immigration and Multiculturalism and Freedom of Speech.
  10. Current Topics: Massive Human Rights Tragedies: Prosecutions and Truth Commissions.
  11. Current Topics: Non-State Actors (eg. transnational corporations) and Human Rights.
  12. Human Rights, Development and Climate Change.
  13. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws and associated combined degree programs or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and associated combined degree programs.

Assumed Knowledge

LAWS1001A, LAWS1001B, LAWS1002A, LAWS1002B, LAWS2003A, LAWS2003B, LAWS3004A, LAWS3004B, LAWS3005, LAWS4001.

Assessment Items

Participation: Oral Participation

Online Learning Activity: Reflective Blog

Presentation: Class Presentation and Written Summary of Research Topic

Written Assignment: Research paper

Contact Hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term