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Unit of study_

LAWS6161: International Human Rights

2024 unit information

This unit introduces students to the principles and practice of international human rights law - a field of public international law and policy of ever-expanding dimensions. It will introduce students to some key concepts, debates, documents and institutions in this field, while encouraging critical examination of these from a variety of angles. In summary, this unit considers the question: what happens when we regard a situation or predicament as one involving a breach of international human rights law - what possibilities and problems does this entail? Addressing this question, students in this unit will examine: (a) forums where international human rights law is being produced (international tribunals, domestic courts, multilateral bodies - including United Nations organs - regional agencies, non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, and the media); (b) settings where international human rights law is being deployed (in Australia and elsewhere); and (c) particular identities/subjects that international human rights law aspires to shape, regulate or secure. By the end of this unit, students should be able to formulate written and oral arguments by reference to key international human rights law instruments and principles; give strategic advice as to available avenues of recourse in international human rights law; and advance an informed critique of particular dimensions of international human rights law scholarship and practice, by reference to contemporary literature in this field. Further information about this unit is available in the Sydney Law School timetable, unit of study outline and academic staff profile

Unit details and rules

Managing faculty or University school:


Code LAWS6161
Academic unit Law
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge:

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Critically evaluate key international human rights law and principles and construct sound legal arguments applicable to a variety of scenarios and issues.
  • LO2. Critically analyse the potential strengths and weaknesses of international human rights law, drawing on contemporary literature in the field.
  • LO3. Constructively engage with, analyse, and provide reasoned responses to legal and policy arguments in the context of human rights.
  • LO4. Effectively communicate analyses of specific aspects of international human rights law scholarship and practice, using contemporary literature, to diverse audiences.
  • LO5. Develop and refine advanced oral presentation and discussion skills through active and informed participation in class debates and discussions.

Unit availability

This section lists the session, attendance modes and locations the unit is available in. There is a unit outline for each of the unit availabilities, which gives you information about the unit including assessment details and a schedule of weekly activities.

The outline is published 2 weeks before the first day of teaching. You can look at previous outlines for a guide to the details of a unit.

Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Semester 1b 2024
Block mode Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Semester 2 Early 2020
Normal evening Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Semester 2 2021
Normal evening Remote
Intensive September 2022
Block mode Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Semester 1a 2023
Block mode Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Modes of attendance (MoA)

This refers to the Mode of attendance (MoA) for the unit as it appears when you’re selecting your units in Sydney Student. Find more information about modes of attendance on our website.

Important enrolment information

Departmental permission requirements

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You will be prompted to apply for departmental permission when you select this unit in Sydney Student.

Read our information on departmental permission.