Netherlands, Middelburg

Human Rights at the Local level

when 18 June 2018 - 22 June 2018
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 EC
fee EUR 300

Unless human rights have meaning “in small places, close to home … they have little meaning anywhere”. Classic human rights training pays very little attention to the relevance of human rights at the local level, and to the interplay between local government law and international human rights law. And yet, issues like discrimination, housing, education, refugee reception often primarily are addressed by local authorities. This course fills this lacuna with state of the art insight into the place of human rights at the local level.

Often, human rights courses and textbooks focus on the role of legislators and of courts in human rights law and practice. Much of the advances in, and contestations of human rights, however, take place in other places: in municipalities, in the media, in classrooms. Each of these three courses focuses on one of these domains, offering both theoretical and practical insights in the ways in which and the places where human rights are advanced. Participants can follow 1, 2 or 3 of the one-week courses, which can even be combined with the other human rights courses taught by Utrecht University’s SIM. The courses are all taught by instructors who have ample experience in both the theory and the practice of the field covered, in an interactive and participatory manner. They are offered in the human rights city of Middelburg, at University College Roosevelt, Utrecht University’s honors college close to the sea. This beautiful medieval city hosts the Four Freedoms awards once every two years, with Nelson Mandela, Angela Merkel and Malala as some of the former laureates.

It was Eleanor Roosevelt who famously stated that human rights begin in small places, and that, without meaning there, they would have no meaning anywhere. Many of the key human rights objectives are most logically realized at the local level, whether it concerns non-discrimination, protection of the human dignity or the progressive realization of social and economic rights. This course provides students and practitioners insight in the relevance of human rights for local government practice, but also in the relevance of local authorities for rights realization. It discusses the state of the art with respect to the role of local authorities in international law, and case law from different jurisdictions. In addition, there is ample attention for the concept and the practice of human rights cities and sanctuary cities. Apart from a general overview on the interrelationship between local authorities and human rights the course also pays attention to specific issues, like non-discrimination, refugees, undocumented migrants, people living with disabilities, privacy, participation and public order. Teaching is interactive and includes role plays, moot courts, writing legal briefs, guest lectures and case studies. Participants, in the end, will have a comprehensive insight into the ways in which human rights acquire meaning at the local level.

Course leader

Prof. B.M. Oomen

Target group

Bachelor and master students seeking to strengthen their knowledge of new insights into human rights. A background in human rights, or international law, is an advantage but not necessary.

Course aim

To provide insights in the way in which human rights acquire different meaning in the local level.

Credits info

2 EC
Certificate of attendance

Fee info

EUR 300: Course + course materials
EUR 200: Housing

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