Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


This course is designed to expose students to the theory, law and practice of human rights protection in the context of climate change-induced human displacement. It is primarily concerned with international law, however students will have several opportunities to explore the interaction between international and domestic human rights protections, and consider the comparative positions of various states. The course begins with a consideration of human rights theory and the international human rights framework, with particular focus on key rights such as self-determination, the right to development and the right to a healthy environment. Students will investigate how such human rights can be protected and enforced, and related gaps in human rights protection. Special attention will be given to countries most at risk, including Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and the Cook Islands. The course will conclude with an exploration of how lawyers and law reform may effectively address the human rights risks faced by populations vulnerable to climate change-induced human displacement.


Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate advanced understanding and knowledge of the key international principles and rules on human rights law with a focus on climate change-induced human displacement.

2. Demonstrate specialised understanding of existing human rights mechanisms for addressing climate displacement.

3. Evaluate and critically analyse the role of key actors in the area of climate displacement.

4. Make professional contributions to the future development of law and policy.


The topics in this course include the following:

  1. Introduction to human rights: theory and current issues
  2. Climate change: disasters and displacement
  3. Human rights mechanisms for addressing climate displacement
  4. Key actors in the area of climate displacement: human rights treaty bodies, UN agencies, national governments, civil society actors and affected communities

Assessment items

Participation: Participation: Active learning participation in seminars

Online Learning Activity: Online Learning Activity: Quizzes and blog task

Presentation: Presentation: Individual presentation prepared and delivered in seminar

Written Assignment: Group Work/Written Assignment: Policy/law reform submission

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct


Face to Face On Campus 36 hour(s) per Term Full Term

The course may be delivered wholly in intensive mode; or in an equivalent combination of intensive and on-line delivery

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.