3 ECTS credits
90 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 6001585FNR for all students in the 1st semester at a (F) Master - specialised level.

1st semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method
Grading (scale from 0 to 20)
Can retake in second session
Taught in
Faculty of Law and Criminology
International and European Law
Educational team
Kebene Wodajo (course titular)
External teachers
Kebene Wodajo
Activities and contact hours
26 contact hours Lecture
64 contact hours Independent or External Form of Study
Course Content

The course aims at providing a broad overview of international and European human rights law, case law, policy and practice. The course is divided into 3 parts.

The first part focuses on the history and development of human rights; identifies the particular position of human rights law in international law (the human as a “subject” of international law); discusses and compares the different categories (or “generations”) of rights in their historical and political contexts;  endeavors to distinguish and articulate the political, ethical and legal modes of existing of human rights; and presents an overview of the law and institutional structures for international/universal and regional protection and promotion of human rights.

The second part looks closer at the different institutional and procedural systems of protection and promotion of human rights: the universal UN-system, and the regional systems at European (both CoE and EU), Inter-American and African level. It compares their principles and implementation mechanisms.

The third part is devoted to the analysis and discussion of more substantial issues in human rights, such as, for example:

- collective rights and the right to self-determination of peoples;

- privacy and personal data protection;

- the prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment, and imprisonment;

- the right to food and the fight against hunger;

- freedom of expression (on the internet);

- cultural diversity and universal human rights;

- freedom of religion in secular states;

- …

For the third part, guest professors, specialised in a certain field, will be invited to speak about specific human rights issues (e.g., prevention of torture, human trafficking, ...).

Course material
Handbook (Required) : International Human Rights Law, Latest edition, Oxford University Press
Additional info


Learning Outcomes

Algemene competenties

This course has the following learning objectives:

- to introduce the history and theory of human rights;

- to provide an overview and analysis of the universal and regional human rights system, including the UN-system, the European systems, the African or/and Inter-American systems;

- to deepen the knowledge of the two European systems of protecting and promoting human rights, respectively the Council of Europe system and the EU-system; and,

- to discuss and critically examine the role and practices of human rights in the contemporary world.

After the course, students should have thorough knowledge of the most important features of international and European human rights law (objectives, principles, institutional frameworks, decision-making mechanisms, and most pertinent challenges) and should be familiar with a number of substantial issues of international and European human rights law (the role of human rights law in democratic constitutional states, the right of self-determination of peoples and collective human rights, the rights to privacy and personal data protection, torture and inhuman treatment, human trafficking, the right to food, depending on current issues).

On this basis, students should be able to effectively address issues of international and European human rights law for both academic and practical-legal purposes.


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:
Written Exam determines 100% of the final mark.

Within the Written Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Written Exam with a relative weight of 100 which comprises 100% of the final mark.

Additional info regarding evaluation


Allowed unsatisfactory mark
The supplementary Teaching and Examination Regulations of your faculty stipulate whether an allowed unsatisfactory mark for this programme unit is permitted.

Academic context

This offer is part of the following study plans:
Master of International and European Law: Standaard traject