Human Rights and the United Nations-Study Trip (LAWM704)

StaffDr Ana Beduschi - Convenor
Credit Value15
Academic Year2013/4
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module aims to place a particular emphasis on the law and processes of the United Nations. It aims to provide you with an opportunity to learn about the UN human rights system in practice, through a visit to the UN institutions, agencies and bodies in Geneva. It will give you the opportunity to meet with UN officials and you will be expected to follow the sessions of a treaty body in Geneva. Accordingly, this module intends to enable you to critically assess the protection of human rights by the UN. In particular, the module aims to enable you to develop a critical analysis of international human rights via the study of UN reports and treaty bodies’ documents.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Critically examine the mandate and working of the United Nations in the field of human rights;
  • 2. Undertake an integrated assessment of the impact of the UN institutions, agencies and bodies in the field of human rights protection;
  • 3. Understand and apply to a high standard the theories used in the practice of the United Nations human rights institutions, agencies and bodies;
  • 4. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the practical problems faced and raised by international human rights law within the UN;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Use, in an effective and comprehensive manner, primary and secondary sources of UN human rights law;
  • 6. Demonstrate a high level of ability to apply general principles of law to UN human rights law;
  • 7. Demonstrate a high level of ability to apply principles of human rights law to a practical case study;

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. Demonstrate the capacity to conduct independent study and group work, including the ability to present material developed through the mode of learning for group discussion;
  • 9. Research original and secondary sources for purposes of preparing, within a deadline, a coherent and analytical account of the results of the research.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover the following topics in the order indicated:

Prior to the trip to Geneva:

Seminar 1: Introductory seminar: Overview of Human Rights in International Law, module objectives, learning outcomes and allocation of tasks

Seminar 2: UN and Human Rights: Charter-based, Agencies and other mechanisms

Seminar 3: UN and Human Rights: Treaty-based mechanisms


Trip to Geneva (term 1, between week 6-9):

Study abroad: 3-5 day visit to Geneva


Following the trip to Geneva:

Seminar 4: Reflective feedback session and report from Geneva

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
8 6280

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities84 x 2 hr seminars
Guided independent study30Preparation for Seminars
Guided independent study32Preparation for assessed/summative essay.
Placement / study abroad804-5 day visit to Geneva

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Oral Presentation (10-15 minutes). 1-9 Written Feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay100Maximum 3,750 words.1-9Formal written individualised feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (Maximum 3,750 words)1-9August/September reassessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Olivier de Schutter, International Human Rights Law. Cases, Materials, Commentary (CUP 2010)

Michael Hass, International Human Rights. A comprehensive Introduction (Routledge 2013)

Daniel Moeckli, Sangeeta Shah and Sandesh Sivakumaran (eds), International Human Rights Law (OUP 2010)

Ilias Bantekas and Lutz Oette, International Human Rights. Law and Practice (CUP 2013)

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:

United Nations Human Rights Council:

UN High Commissioner for Refugees:

International Labour Organization:

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Human Rights United Nations-Study Trip