Human Rights and Globalisation

Academic year2019-2020                                                               
Number of meetings        7
Dates of all meetings31 October, 7, 14, 21, 28 November, 5 and 12 December 2019
LocationVrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam
RoomBV-1H26 (BelleVUe building is number 1091 at this map. You can reach the building via the main entrance)
LecturerDr. G.N. (Galina) Cornelisse

Course Description

This course focuses on a series of topical issues affecting human rights in Europe and globally. The emphasis is on the challenges posed by social and political evolution and the question of global justice. We will discuss such divergent question as the challenges caused by environmental pollution, the fight against terrorism, the regulation of international migration and global inequality.

A snapshot of the course (we will discuss these divergent areas and discuss common themes and debates that are interlinked in these areas): 

  1. Globalization, sovereignty and international protection of human rights 
  2. Environmental protection and the rights of indigenous peoples 
  3. The fight against terrorism and global security regulation
  4. European regulation of migration, zooming in on new technologies of border control
  5. Human rights and the regulation of the export of arms
  6. Accountability of rights violations by multinational corporations
  7. Equality and justice on a global scale with a focus on questions of distributive justice

The course will look at the aspects of human rights protection that have become topical as a result of social evolution in the recent years. A running theme through the course is that of global justice and the role of law and constitutionalism. We will focus on human rights law from different legal orders, such as established by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, and the European Social Charter. 

Relevance of the course
The course focuses on important contemporary issues affecting human rights protection in a globalizing world. We live in a world where territorial borders are rapidly losing their significance as regards economic activities and other issues, such as pollution. At the same time, questions of justice are still largely tied to the territorial state. We will take an innovative approach to human rights law to find ways in which we can discuss justice on a global scale.

Attainment targets / learning outcomes
Deep insight into the complexity of human rights regulation in Europe;
- Understanding of the mechanism of the human rights protection;
- Ability to select and apply various perspectives from other human rights systems such as established by the African Convention on Human and Peoples Rights and the American Convention;
- Comprehension of the standpoints and motivations taken by various actors (individuals, minorities, states, international organizations, judges, social movements, NGOs, etc.);
- Competence to write a well-structured and balanced response to a legal problem incorporating different perspectives from the lectures and literature.

Practical information
The course consists of the following components:
7 x seminars on the specific themes. The first meeting will also function as an introduction to the course
1 x exam essay

Working formats and activities
The course consists of 7 meetings. Each seminar will include both a lecture and extensive discussion with students, based on the literature and suggested case law. Students will be required to reflect on the regional European framework of human rights regulation (Council of Europe and EU) vis-à-vis other international systems of human rights protection. Furthermore, students prepare, present and report on judgments of various courts. The final assignment will be comprised of an essay question, discussing a certain case study. Students will be asked to assess possibilities and limits of European law, select relevant examples from other systems, and unpack how human rights law relates to social reality.

Assessments method
Individual essay. Students will have an opportunity to safeguard a higher grade via individual or group presentations about relevant judgments of the international tribunals.