Summer 2020 Course Schedule

Rights of Disadvantaged & Vulnerable Groups (LAW-989S-E001)
Eric Rosenthal, Macarena Saez

Meets: 05:00 PM - 06:50 PM (MTuWThF)

Enrolled: 8 / Limit: 22

Administrator Access


All summer 2020 classes will be taught online. Classes may have a combination of live sessions and asynchronous materials/assignments. The block of time listed here will be the maximum amount of live session meeting time expected of you and may be decreased to the extent of asynchronous material added. Students taking AHR and ADH specific classes that want to write a longer paper for an extra credit may enroll in LAW-799 Human Rights & Humanitarian Law Independent Study (1 credit).


The first half of this course will focus on the development of LGBTI rights in international law. The first session will analyze what makes a group “vulnerable” or in a disadvantage position. The class will discuss the problems that arise from the use of the word “vulnerable” to refer to disadvantaged groups and how narratives change depending on whether the groups become powerful enough to come up with their own classifications or they are still so disempowered that the elites get to decide on their denominations. The next sessions will analyze the role of gender and sexuality in legal systems and the role of international law in empowering individuals who do not conform to heterosexuality and/or to the male/female binary. Reading materials will be posted in advance for each session. The second half will examine the rights of another vulnerable group: children and adults with disabilities. The class will focus especially on the concerns of 8-10 million children detained in orphanages worldwide as well as an even larger number of adults with disabilities in psychiatric facilities, social care homes and other closed facilities. The course will examine the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) and the way disability rights and human rights activists have used this new international human rights convention to address abuses against institutionalized children and adults. Topics to be included will be: (1) drafting of the CRPD and the new anti-discrimination framework; (2) segregation of people with disabilities worldwide and the right to full participation in society (3) protections against torture in healthcare settings (4) the right to legal capacity for people with mental disabilities (5) obligations of international donors and the need establish inclusive international development programs, and (6) trafficking, gender-based violence, and the reproductive rights of women with disabilities. In addition to examining new legal protections under the CRPD, the class will examine the use of international oversight bodies, media, public education, policy-advocacy and community organizing to promote rights enforcement.

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 to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.

All Readings will be provided in a digital format. Students will not be required to purchase any textbooks.

First Class Readings

Students will access all readings and syllabus materials in the upcoming weeks via an online portal. More instructions will be sent to registered students. The final syllabus will be updated on May 20, 2020. If you have any questions please email,


Use your MyAU username and password to access the syllabus in the following format(s):