Netherlands, Nijmegen

Localising Human Rights: The Road to Human Dignity?

when 1 August 2016 - 5 August 2016
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS
fee EUR 490

Localising Human Rights: The Road to Human Dignity?

Groups in the global south appeal to human rights when their human dignity is under threat. When and why do they do so, and what are their chances of success? Sessions on concepts and methodology will be combined with exchanges on findings from ongoing socio-legal fieldwork on the use of human rights by local groups, primarily in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

This is an interactive, interdisciplinary course that discusses the effectiveness of human rights in providing human dignity to users, particularly in the global south. It is based on ten years of ongoing research at the research group on law and development of the University of Antwerp in collaboration with partners in China, the DRC, India and Nicaragua.

The aim of the course is to share experiences with engaging in socio-legal fieldwork on the use of human rights, both from a methodological and substantive perspective. Course participants will be expected to contribute on the relevance of their own research and/or professional expertise to the general theme of the course.

Issues discussed will include:

- Local groups as the 'primary authors of human rights' (U.Baxi) - do we share an understanding of human rights?
- The complexity of interdisciplinary work.
- Why and how do human rights claims emerge? who decides (including gender and other power dimensions with groups) to formulate which claim? conflicts within groups;
- Human rights strategies developed by local groups - the importance of networks;
- Factors determining the response (accommodation, rejection) by the state as the conventional duty-bearer- are states in the global south different?
- Responses by non-state actors that are targeted in human rights claims.
- Defining an appropriate role for development partners.
- The UN Human Rights System from below: are local voices heard?
- An Enabling International Environment: how is the local impacted upon by the global?
- Success and Failure of the Use of Human Rights- and how to determine it.

Use will be made throughout of examples from field research on the right to water for slum dwellers in New Delhi; UNICEF's rights-based sanitised villages project in the Bas-Congo (DRC) and on the right to education of rural-urban migrants in Chongqing, China.

The course will consist of a mix of interactive lectures (mornings), workshops and presentations by participants (afternoons).

For further information on research supporting the course, please consult:

Course leader

Prof. K. De Feyter
Professsor of International Law
University of Antwerp

Target group

- Researchers who are embarking on, are engaged in: research on the use of human rights in a non-Western context. - Professionals who use, or wish to reflect on: human rights approaches to development.

Course aim

After this course you are able to:
- Critically reflect on the effectiveness of human rights in providing human dignity.
- Engage with lessons learned from your participation in the course in your own research or work.
- Connect to a research community practising interdisciplinary human rights work.

Fee info

EUR 490: The course fee includes the registration fee, course materials, access to library and IT facilities, coffee/tea, lunch, and a number of social activities.

10% discount for early bird applicants. The early bird deadline is 1 April 2016.
15% discount for students and PhD candidates from Radboud University and partner universities.
EUR 195: Housing (optional)