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Human Rights & Development (LAW-795-007)
Meets 6/4/2012 - 6/15/2012
Human rights and development have evolved largely in separate tracks, and even, to a large degree, separate worlds. But times have changed. There are now clear spheres of convergence between these fields in theory, applied research and practice. Many bilateral and multilateral aid organisations, non-governmental organisations and development workers now profess to implement "rights-based approaches" to development. These re-orientations have been warmly embraced in some, but by no means all, quarters. No less a figure than Amartya Sen has remarked: "The suspicion is that there is something a little simple-minded about the entire conceptual structure that underlies the oratory on human rights." Other commentators have derided rights-based approaches to development as mere "rhetorical repackaging." The Human Rights and Development course will critically examine these claims, through a mix of lectures, groupwork discussions and practical exercises. Beginning with a brief historical overview, the course will explore the contemporary conceptions and meanings of human rights and development, laying the ground for a more detailed examination of the points of convergence - as well as tensions - between these fields in both theory and practice. Consideration will be given to how international human rights standards and principles have influenced technical programming approaches of development agencies, as well as points of articulation between human rights and key public policy debates concerning international aid, trade, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), poverty reduction strategies, climate change and anti-globalisation critiques, accentuated by the global financial crisis. There will be a strong institutional focus within the programme, with a close look at the roles and functions of United Nations development agencies, international development and financial institutions including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, transnational corporations and business entities, set against political debates on human rights and development in inter-governmental bodies. Finally, consideration will be given to accountability mechanisms at global, national and local levels, where innovative and practical synergies between human rights and development might be identified. For more information, please see the Human Rights Academy Home page here.
Textbooks and Other Materials
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First Class Readings
Not available at this time.