Understanding Human Rights

UNSW Sydney

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Understanding Human Rights

  • Host University

    UNSW Sydney

  • Location

    Sydney, Australia

  • Area of Study

    International Affairs, International Politics, International Studies, Legal Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    The Understanding Human Rights course seeks to correct this. The course examines the notion of rights from its origins in philosophy and religion to contemporary usage. Although concentrating on Western ideas, it also explores the notion of rights in non-Western religions and societies. It investigates the major historic documents relating to the protection of rights, and the development of some important international human rights instruments. It looks into the different generations of rights and whether they are adequately protected. It also examines Australia?s approach to human rights protection.
    The course introduces students to Public International Law, especially in the area of International Human Rights Law, and touches on some of the controversies surrounding recent developments in International Humanitarian Law, including the notion of the 'Responsibility to Protect'.
    Since a great deal of human rights language has a distinctly Western bias, the course examines issues such as universalism, cultural relativism and pluralism. It also explores the relationship between rights and responsibilities, and the implications of this for contemporary notions of human rights.
    Finally, in an age of increasing globalisation, and ethnic and religious assertiveness, it asks whether the current human rights language is adequate to sustain a continuing human rights discourse, and looks at alternatives.
    The course will take an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating insights from history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, studies in religion and law.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.


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