Human Rights Law Centre

Distance Learning Course - International Human Rights Law

This course studies in-depth UN human rights standards and the UN procedures for monitoring compliance with them.

The course is aimed at those for whom knowledge of the increasingly important subject of international human rights law is of value in their work, or wish to embark upon a career in human rights.

It begins by considering certain basic international law and human rights concepts and issues, including the elements of the law of treaties, the universality and categories of human rights and cultural relativity. It then examines the rights guaranteed in the key UN human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Rights such as the right to life, the right to adequate standard of living, freedom from torture, the right to a fair trial, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination. The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child are also considered.

Cases decided under these treaties by the Human Rights Committee and other treaty monitoring bodies are critiqued. The role of the UN Human Rights Council is examined, particularly its role in operating the new Universal Periodic Review procedure and its Special Procedures.

Course highlights

  • Study Guide
  • Essay topics and self-study questions, as well as interaction with experts in the area
  • Certificate of completion

The academic director of the course is Professor Sangeeta Shah. She has published widely in the area of international law and human rights and is the co-editor of the leading international textbook on International Human Rights Law, which is published by Oxford University Press and is now in its fourth edition.

Teaching materials

Students access a Study Guide which provides a programme of work for each of the units of the course. It has textbook material written for the module, plus the texts of treaties and other relevant source materials, as well as key academic articles and book chapters. It also includes further reading lists and case studies, as well as self-test questions. Through the course online platform Moodle, students can discuss the module online with Professor Shah.

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Applications, fees and dates

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Contact us

Human Rights Law Centre

School of Law
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

+44 (0)115 846 8506