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Meets 5/29/2012 - 6/15/2012
The first component of the course will concern the Inter-American Human Rights System. It will review the development of the system, and how the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Inter-American Court of Human Rights discharge their respective mandates of protection. With respect to the Inter-American Commission, it will focus on the individual petition system, on site visits and special country reports, and thematic rapporteurships. One of the issues we will examine across the various areas of the Commission's competence is the resources it offers for enhancing the protection of women's human rights. This component will also discuss the approaches the system offers with respect to economic, social and cultural rights. With respect to the Inter-American Court, we will examine both its advisory and contentious forms of jurisdiction, and highlight some innovations in its recent jurisprudence. In practical terms, this component will highlight the question of efficacy, including with respect to how the work of the regional human rights system can be integrated into strategies at the national level, which is where it must ultimately find effect. The second part of the course will explore the African regional system for the protection of human rights, developed under the auspices of the African Union (AU) and its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity. It will cover the question whether there is a unique African concept of human rights; the structures in place for the protection of human rights in Africa, under the AU and its development programme, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD); the norms recognized in the various instruments; and the jurisprudence of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The third part of the course will be focused on regional human rights initiatives in Asia. Asia differs from the other two regions in that there is a conspicuous absence of any region-wide human rights regime; even nascent institutional apparatus upon which such a regime might be established are few and unspecialised. In this part we will explore what few initiatives have been made (including both state based and civil society based proposals) and examine the reasons why they have failed or at least have not been taken further. The thorny problem of the claim to there being certain 'Asian values' that distinguish the region such that universal human rights norms do not apply there, or apply differently, will be critically examined and both the philosophical and practical ramifications of the various arguments assessed. To close the course, students will participate in an activity designed to compare and contrast procedural and substantive approaches of the American and African systems, and to reflect on the lessons that might be learnt thereby for the establishment of a regional human rights regime for Asia. For more information, please see the Human Rights Academy Home page here.
Textbooks and Other Materials
The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check here to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.
First Class Readings
Not available at this time.