APU 2021 Human Rights (English)

Detailed Syllabus

Detailed Syllabus will be made available to registered students through manaba.


This course will be offered inhybrid (HyFlex) mode.

Course Topics
international human rights law, dignity and freedom, treaties, the UN
Requirements for Enrollement
Students are expected to be familiar with basic concepts of international relations, such as State sovereignty.
Students may find it useful to have taken International Law EA, but it is not required.
Course Overview
The protection and promotion of human rights have become one of the key purposes of modern international society. When speaking of human rights, people often make recourse to ethical, moral, or religious grounds. We can also see that the contents of human rights are sometimes shaped through politics or social discourses. In the international society that we live in with diverse historical and cultural backgrounds, international law plays a crucial role in providing a common ground for discussion and seeking accountability by victims.
In this course, students will learn international human rights law, including its history, basic principles, and institutional mechanisms. In addition to understanding the contents of international human rights law, students will acquire basic competency in legal thinking, writing, and research, which will enable them to contribute to making our society respect the inherent dignity and promote freedom of all members of the human family.
Course Objectives
Students in this course will be expected to achieve the following APS Learning Goals:
1. Academic Knowledge and Understanding
1-a. Students have acquired a basic knowledge of the global society with an emphasis on the Asia Pacific region and other related knowledge.
1-b. Students have progressed toward a comprehensive understanding of the area of study (International Relations and Peace Studies)
2. Abilities and Skills
2-a. Students have improved their logical and critical thinking.

This course will be structured around the following specific learning outcomes:
i) Students can identify the value clashes and structural problems around the world and explain their issues through the lens of human rights
ii) Students can explain the nature and legal characteristics of human rights (e.g. typology of obligations);
iii) Students can apply legal principles and standards to assess human rights conditions in controversial cases;
iv) Students can explain the functions of major international institutional mechanisms in promoting the realization of human rights.
Teaching Methods
Class time will be used for a combination of lectures, discussions, and group exercises. Students are expected to read materials prior to each class and to offer their findings and share their opinion in class.
Overview of Each Class
Each week, two class-hours will be jointed and will be divided into three themes, covering (1) theory or key concepts, (2) substantive rights, and (3) implementation mechanisms.

Week 1:
- "International human rights law"
- Discrimination and equality
- The International Court of Justice (ICJ)
Week 2:
- Obligation
- The rights of an absolute character
- The UN system
Week 3:
- Democracy
- Freedom of opinion, expression, and censorship
- Treaty bodies
Week 4:
- Remedy
- Freedom to manifest one’s religion and belief
- Regional mechanisms
Week 5:
- Foreigners
- Refugees
- International organizations (Ex. UNHCR)
Week 6:
- Feminism and queer theory
- Women's rights / Sexual orientation and gender identity, human rights
- Domestic courts
Week 7:
- Human rights and development
- Children and persons with disabilities
- Development agencies & business

Note that some of the themes and their order may be changed so that actual issues could be integrated into the classes.
Pre-class Study and Revision Load
Preparation: Students are expected to visit manaba prior to each class and get familiar with the class materials. The quiz will be asked based on the preparation assignments.

Review: There will be a review assignment between Week 2 and 6. In case of absence, students are expected to catch up based on the instructions provided on manaba. Each review assignment will require some 600 words report.
Method of Grade Evaluation
Quiz (20%)
Review assignments (40%)
Final report (40%)
There will be no points given by just attending classes.
Method of Implementing Multicultural Collaborative Learning
“International law offers a vocabulary for political debate” (Klabbers, 2017). This course will not provide legal answers to specific questions, like state A acted legally or in violation of international human rights law. Rather, this course will train students to assess a certain situation through a legal lens and also to conduct legal argumentation. In order to disassociate their personal feelings from legal thinking, students may be asked to provide legal justifications of the positions that do not necessarily match their moral or cultural perspectives.
Students will be required to actively participate in the classroom through the online tool (ex. respon) and group work. Group works are particularly important for students to practice such skills through a dialogic process.
Requirements for Students
Priorities: (1) Your safety > (2) Stress management > (3) Class participation and assignments
(1) An up-most important principle is that you stay safe and reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 disease. In case of any sickness, please take measures needed to recover; there’s no need to take part in classes in such a situation.
(2) You will be taking classes in a stressful time and you may not be in the best environment to study. In order to sustainably study, do not over-burden yourself. If you face difficulties, please contact the Lecturer.
(3) The Course is designed to meet the needs of healthy students with the willingness to study, while taking a flexible approach to accommodate specific needs that arise from the above reasons. There will be no penalties for being absent from some classes or late submission of review assignments. Please carefully read the detailed syllabus, which will be made available on the first day of the class.
Rules for Zoom-based classes
(1) It is your responsibility to arrange an environment that suits Zoom (internet connection, headsets, camera, study space etc.). Contact APU Office for support.
(2) No recording or photo-taking is allowed. (Exceptions apply in case of reasonable accommodation)
(3) In principle, students are expected to turn on their videos. In case of feeling stressed to be watched throughout the class, a student can turn off her/his video during lectures, and turn it on again when discussion takes place.
(4) Do not speak without permission from the Lecturer to avoid disruptions. You can notify Lecturer about questions or issues via chat.
(5) It is advisable that students divide breaks and classes to keep concentration. For this reason, eating during class is discouraged.
(6) Do not share meeting ID and password to others.
Malcolm Evans (ed), Blackstone's International Law Documents(Oxford University Press, 14th edition, 2019).
Students can use older versions. This compilation of documents is also used at "Globalization and Law EA" (Spring 1Q) and "International Law" (Fall 1Q).
Alternatively, a student wishing to study human rights in depth could purchase the following instead: Bisset, A. (ed) (2020) Blackstone's International Human Rights Documents 12th ed. Oxford University Press.
Other materials
Clapham, A. (2015). Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.
Further materials will be listed on manaba.
Misc. Notes
This Syllabus may be subject to updates or modifications. Any changes will be announced in a class and the latest version will be uploaded to manaba.