International Human Rights (LAWS6161)


This unit introduces students to the principles and practice of international human rights law - a field of public international law and policy of ever-expanding dimensions. It will introduce students to some key concepts, debates, documents and institutions in this field, while encouraging critical examination of these from a variety of angles. In summary, this unit considers the question: what happens when we regard a situation or predicament as one involving a breach of international human rights law - what possibilities and problems does this entail? Addressing this question, students in this unit will examine: (a) forums where international human rights law is being produced (international tribunals, domestic courts, multilateral bodies - including United Nations organs - regional agencies, non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, and the media); (b) settings where international human rights law is being deployed (in Australia and elsewhere); and (c) particular identities/subjects that international human rights law aspires to shape, regulate or secure. By the end of this unit, students should be able to formulate written and oral arguments by reference to key international human rights law instruments and principles; give strategic advice as to available avenues of recourse in international human rights law; and advance an informed critique of particular dimensions of international human rights law scholarship and practice, by reference to contemporary literature in this field.

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Further unit of study information


Aug 11, 12 & 18, 19 (9-5)


2000wd assignment (30%) and 5000wd essay (70%) or 7000wd (100%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules



Additional Information

Available to MLLR students who commenced after Jan 2015.

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.