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  1. Texts and Materials 27 items
    1. The recommended textbook for this course is: 1 item
      1. International human rights law - Daniel Moeckli, Sangeeta Shah, Sandesh Sivakumaran, D. J. Harris 2014

        Book  Please note that the third edition of Moeckli, Shah and Sivakumaran will be available in December 2017. However, all required readings for this module will refer to the second edition and not this newer edition.

    2. In addition, students should purchase a copy of: 2 items
      1. This is a collection of relevant international human rights documents and access to the major international human rights treaties will be required in each seminar.

    3. Other texts that may prove useful include: 8 items
      1. Human rights: a very short introduction - Andrew Clapham 2015

        Book 

      2. Human rights: between idealism and realism - Christian Tomuschat 2014

        Book 

      3. Textbook on international human rights - Rhona K. M. Smith 2015

        Book  (the 8th edition is due to be published in December 2017)

      4. International human rights law - Javaid Rehman 2010

        Book 

      5. International human rights law and practice - Ilias Bantekas, Lutz Oette 2016

        Book 

    4. Other resources 1 item
      1. The University of Nottingham's Library (Hallward Library) has an extensive collection of books and journals on international human rights law. Access is also available to many other journals via the electronic journals and Westlaw links.  As a guide, the main human rights journals are referred to in the reading lists.

    5. Useful Websites 15 items
      1. There are also a number of international law and human rights law blogs that you may wish to follow, such as EJIL: Talk!, Opinio Juris, the UK Human Rights Blog, the ECHR Blog, or Strasbourg Observers (find them yourselves).

        There is also a list of useful websites at the end of each chapter of Moeckli, Shah and Sivakumaran.  Information on other useful electronic resources is always welcome.  

  2. Seminar One: Introduction and Historical Overview of International Human Rights Law 20 items
    Sangeeta Shah
    1. What are we studying in this course?  What are human rights?  How did the international system of human rights develop?  What does the current system of international human rights protection look like? These are all questions that we will endeavour to answer in this introductory seminar.

    2. Essential Reading 3 items
      1. History - Bates

        Chapter 

    3. Further Reading 15 items
      1. Human rights: between idealism and realism - Christian Tomuschat 2014

        Book  Chapters 1 and 2

      2. The contentious history of the International Bill of Human Rights - Christopher N. J. Roberts 2015

        Book  Chapter 1

      3. Politics - Mertus

        Chapter 

      4. The evolution of international human rights: visions seen - Paul Gordon Lauren 1998

        Book 

      5. Five Fables about Human Rights - Lukes

        Chapter 

      6. Critiques - Dembour

        Chapter 

      7. Normative and Theoretical Foundations of Human Rights - Langlois

        Chapter 

    4. Issues to Consider 1 item
      1. ·       What are human rights?

         

        ·       What are the origins of human rights?

         

        ·       Why did the international human rights movement develop?

         

        ·       How successful do you think the international human rights movement has been?

         

        ·       Do we need new human rights? 

  3. Seminar Two: Sources of International Human Rights Law 17 items
    Sangeeta Shah
    1. International human rights law binds states. In this seminar we will investigate where human rights are located in law: i.e. we will work out 'where and how to find the law' which states must comply with.  The sources of international human rights law are those that exist for all branches of international law. We will spend some time discussing the various sources of international human rights law and the controversies that surround them.

    2. Required Reading 3 items
      1. Sources - Chinkin

        Chapter 

    3. Further Reading 12 items
      1. International law - Malcolm N. Shaw 2014

        Book  pp. 49-91

      2. International human rights: the successor to International human rights in context : laws, politics and morals : text and materials - Philip Alston, Ryan Goodman, Henry J. Steiner c2013

        Book  pp. 72-90; 113-118; 157-165

      3. See the other articles in the symposium on customary international human rights law in (1995-1996) 25 Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law (issues 1 and 2)

      4. Developing Human Rights Through International Customary Law - Dimitrijevic

        Chapter 

    4. Issues to Consider 1 item
        • What are the sources of international law?

         

        • If international human rights law can be found in treaties, why should we concern ourselves with locating human rights in other sources of international law?

         

        • Is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights part of customary international law? If not, does it bind states anyway? Why?

         

        • What is a jus cogens norm? What human rights are jus cogens?

         

        • Are human rights obligations derived from general principles of international law? What is Simma and Alston's argument in this regard? What is Lillich's critique in this regard?

         

        • Do any obligations arise from General Assembly declarations on human rights? What about the outputs of the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies?

  4. Seminar Three: Human Rights Treaties I: The Nature of Obligations 14 items
    Sangeeta Shah
    1. What are states obliged to do when they sign up to human rights treaties?  What is the nature of human rights treaty obligations? Do different 'categories' of human rights impose different duties on states? Building on last week's class, in this seminar we will try to provide some answers to these questions.  We will examine the unique nature of human rights treaty obligations and consider the utility of the tri-partite typology of 'respect, protect and fulfil'. 

    2. Essential Reading 4 items
      1. Nature of Obligations - Mégret

        Chapter  pages 124-134 only

      2. General Comment No. 31 - Human Rights Committee 26 May 2004

        Document 

      3. General Comment No. 3 - Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 14 December 1990

        Document  p.83

    3. Further Reading 8 items
      1. General Comment No. 9 - Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 3 December 1998

        Document 

      2. General Comment No. 19 on the Right to Social Security - Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

        Document 

    4. Issues to Consider 1 item
        • In what ways are human rights treaty obligations different to those in other types of treaty? Why should they be different?

         

        • Are there any differences in the type of obligations set out in the ICCPR and ICESCR?

         

        • What do the terms 'respect', 'protect' and 'fulfil' mean? How useful are they when considering the human rights obligations under the ICCPR and ICESCR? Is there a different typology which would more useful?

         

        • When a right imposes an obligation of 'progressive realisation' or is subject to 'maximum available resources', is it robbed of any concrete value from the perspective of right-holders?

  5. Seminar Four: Human Rights Treaties II: Limitations to Obligations. The Right to Private Life 15 items
    Sangeeta Shah
    1. Are all human rights absolute? The simple answer to this question is 'no'. Rights of an absolute character are the exception and, in fact, most human rights treaties provide for limitations to the enjoyment of rights.  We will explore the conditions for a legitimate limitation to the enjoyment of human rights in this seminar. The right to private life will be used as an example to show how different international institutions have applied these conditions  

    2. Required Reading 3 items
      (read in order presented; you will need to read the cases carefully to note the reasoning etc employed by the different institutions):
      1. Nature of Obligations - Mégret

        Chapter  pages 110-114 only

      2. A, B AND C v. IRELAND

        Legal Case Document  paras 11-91, 167-268 and dissenting opinions only.

    3. Further Reading 10 items
    4. Issues to Consider 1 item
        • What is the regime for a legitimate limitation to a right? Does the regime differ depending on whether one is considering positive action to be taken by the state (i.e. positive obligations) or a state's obligation to refrain from certain conduct (i.e. negative obligations)?

         

        • How useful is the concept of 'proportionality' when considering whether a limitation is legitimate?

         

        • What are the differences between the approaches of the Human Rights Committee and the European Court of Human Rights when assessing limitations to the right to private life?

         

         

        • What is the margin of appreciation? What are the benefits of affording states a margin of appreciation? Are there any disadvantages?

  6. Seminar Five: Human Rights Treaties III: Derogations 13 items
    Sangeeta Shah
    1. Required Reading 4 items
      1. General Comment No. 29 - Human Rights Committee 31 August 2001

        Document 

      2. A and others v Secretary of State for Home Affairs (Belmarsh Detainees) [2004] UKHL 56

        Legal Case Document  particularly the judgments of Lords Bingham, Hoffmann, and Walker

    2. Further Reading 8 items
    3. Issues to Consider 1 item
        • What are the requirements for a valid 'derogation' from a human rights treaty?

         

        • Should the threat of terrorism be considered a 'public emergency threatening the life of the nation'? Should natural disasters, such as Hurricane Irma, qualify as such an emergency?

         

        • Should States have a margin of appreciation when it comes to derogations?

         

         

        • Why do we need derogation clauses in human rights treaties? Do limitations clauses achieve the same result?

  7. Seminar Six: Economic and Social Rights I: An Overview 16 items
    Aoife Nolan
    1. This seminar centres on economic and social rights (ESR). Extensive debate exists as to the nature of these rights, as well as to their amenability to judicial enforcement (that is, their justiciability). This seminar will explore the protection of ESR at the international level, with a particular focus on the potential operation of the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR that was adopted in December 2008.

    2. Essential reading 6 items
    3. Further reading 8 items
      1. International human rights law - Daniel Moeckli, Sangeeta Shah, Sandesh Sivakumaran, D. J. Harris 2014

        Book  Chapter 10

      2. International human rights: the successor to International human rights in context : laws, politics and morals : text and materials - Philip Alston, Ryan Goodman, Henry J. Steiner c2013

        Book  pages 269-78, 313-21.

      3. The Origins of the Optional Protocol - Catherine de Albuquerque, Malcolm Langford

        Chapter 

      4. International human rights law - Javaid Rehman 2010

        Book 

      5. Social rights jurisprudence: emerging trends in international and comparative law - Malcolm Langford 2008

        Book  Read Chapter 1 and Chapter 21

    4. Issues to Consider 1 item
        • Why is it that economic and social rights have historically received far less consideration than their civil and political counterparts?

         

        • Do you think economic and social rights are justiciable in a different way from civil and political rights? If so, how and why?

         

        • How effective do you think the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR will be in terms of ensuring protection of ESR? What are its key strengths and its key weaknesses?

         

        • Are courts or regional decision-making bodies the best fora in which to protect economic and social rights? What are the flaws usually apparent in litigation-based human rights campaigning? What other bodies do you think play key roles in terms of the enforcement of economic and social rights?

         

         

        • To what extent does the decision in IDG v Spain succeed in answering the concerns raised by those were opposed to the OP-ICESCR on the grounds that ESR are non-justiciable?

  8. Seminar Seven: Economic and Social Rights II: The Right to Adequate Housing 12 items
    Aoife Nolan
    1. Basing our discussions on General Comment Nos 4 and 7 of the CESCR, we will examine the normative content of the right to adequate housing. In doing so, we will consider some of the key issues that arise with regard to defining and applying economic and social rights obligations, whether progressive or immediate in nature. Looking beyond specific instances of housing rights violations, we will consider some of the systemic challenges faced in housing rights terms. In particular, using the 2012 Report on of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing as our primary source, we will consider the implications of the global phenomenon of financialisation of housing for efforts to secure the right to adequate housing for the most vulnerable in society. This session will also explore the role of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing – a UN human rights actor that has played a key role in defining of the content of the right to adequate housing and in clarifying how that right applies with regard to specific groups and contexts. 

    2. Required Reading 5 items
    3. Further Reading 5 items
    4. Issues to Consider 1 item
        • What is the content of the right to adequate housing? What does it protect?

         

        • What obligations does the right to adequate housing impose on states and private actors, respectively?

         

        • How does the right to adequate housing affect the enjoyment of other human rights?

         

        • To what extent do General Comments 4 and 7 capture contemporary housing rights challenges? Should they be updated? If so, how?

         

         

        • To what extent does the work of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing 'fill the gaps' in the right to adequate housing framework? Is this desirable?

  9. Seminar Eight: International Oversight of Human Rights I: The UN Treaty Bodies 26 items
    Sandesh Sivakumaran
    1. In seminars 8 and 9, we will consider the oversight and enforcement of human rights at the international level. Seminar 8 will focus on the work of the various UN bodies that monitor the principal human rights treaties (the UN treaty bodies) while seminar 9 will consider the UN Human Rights Council and other UN mechanisms.

    2. Required Reading 5 items
      1. United Nations - Connors, Schmidt

        Chapter 

      2. General Comment 24 - Human Rights Committee

        Document 

      3. Extract from Chapter 10, Section 3. The making of treaties, from: Cases and materials on international law - D.J. Harris 2015

        Chapter  Compare the excerpted response of France, the UK and the US at pages 667-9 (also available on moodle)

    3. Further Reading 19 items
      1. The Role and Impact of Treaty Bodies - Nigel Rodley

        Chapter 

      2. The future of UN human rights treaty monitoring - Philip Alston, James Crawford 2000

        Book 

      3. The UN human rights treaty system in the 21st century - Anne F. Bayefsky 2000

        Book 

      4. UN human rights treaty bodies: law and legitimacy - Helen Keller, Geir Ulfstein, Leena Grover 2012

        Book 

      5. Defining Civil and Political Rights - Conte, Alex 2009

        Book  Chapter 2, especially 20-34 on the criteria for admissibility

      6. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: cases, materials, and commentary - Sarah Joseph, Melissa Castan c2013

        Book  Part II [on admissibility]

    4. Issues to Consider 1 item
        • What precisely is the role of a UN human rights treaty body?

         

        • How does a communication end up before a treaty body?

         

        • How useful are the treaty bodies?

         

        • What are the weaknesses of the treaty bodies?

         

        • What do you think of the proposal to substitute the various individual treaty bodies for a single, unified body?  Or to substitute it with a World Court of human rights?

  10. Seminar Nine: International Oversight of Human Rights II: The UN Human Rights Council and other UN bodies 26 items
    Sandesh Sivakumaran
    1. Following on from the UN human rights treaty bodies, we will turn our attention to the UN Human Rights Council and other UN bodies that have a role to play in the oversight and enforcement of human rights. The main entity in this regard is that of the Human Rights Council. Other bodies, such as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Security Council will also be considered. 

    2. Required Reading 3 items
      1. United Nations - Connors, Schmidt

        Chapter  360-375 and 388-396

      2. UK’s Universal Periodic Review – Annex Document, September 2012, A/HRC.21/9 Add.1

        Document  Annex E (on moodle) [have a quick read of the various UPR recommendations and the UK’s position on these recommendations]

    3. Further Reading 21 items
      1. The United Nations and human rights: a critical appraisal - Philip Alston 1992

        Book  [an old but important work]

      2. The United Nations special procedures system - Aoife Nolan, Rosa Freedman, Thérèse Murphy 2017

        Book 

    4. Issues to Consider 1 item
        • To what extent is the Human Rights Council politicized? Can such a body ever be apolitical?

         

        • What role, if any, should the General Assembly and Security Council play in the enforcement of human rights?

         

        • Does the work of the Charter-based bodies complement or overlap with the work of the treaty bodies?

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