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Theory and practice of Human Rights - programma
Theory and practice of Human Rights - programma

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NICOLA RIVA , responsabile dell'insegnamento

Corso di laurea in SCIENZE POLITICHE (SPO) Immatricolati dall'a.a. 2014/15 - Laurea - POLITICS AND ECONOMICS - 2018/2019

Insegnamento obbligatorioNo
Anno di corso3
Periodo di svolgimentoprimo trimestre
Settori scientifico disciplinari
  • IUS/20 - Filosofia del diritto
Crediti (CFU) obbligatori6
Crediti (CFU) facoltativi-

Informazioni generali

Obiettivi: The course articulates three levels of Human Rights: law, theories and practice. It aims at providing knowledge and understanding concerning the concept of human rights, the process of internationalization of rights, focusing on the most relevant human rights norms and institutions and on the relations between human rights law and practice. It will also consider moral, legal and political debates on human rights. At the end of the course students should be able to apply the acquired knowledge and understanding in order to take actively part in discussions concerning both normative and empirical aspects of human rights and to form individual judgements. During the course students will be required to read texts, to discuss them and to elaborate personal opinions in order to exercise their learning, critical and communication skills.

Lingua dell'insegnamento: English

Metodi didattici: Lectures and class discussion.

Programma di studio

Short course description english flag

The course will be divided into two parts.
The first part will focus on the law and practice of human rights. It will consider: what are human rights today, how they can be classified, what role they play within international law and who has responsibility, and what responsibility, for ensuring them (lecture 1); the ideological roots of human rights (lecture 2); the core UN documents on human rights and their content (lecture 3); humanitarian law, international criminal law and the international penal court (lecture 4); the regional human rights “systems” or “regimes” (lecture 5); the attempt to measure human rights’ effectivity (lecture 6); the human rights of women and LGBT people (lectures 7-8); minority rights, group rights and peoples’ rights (lecture 9); the challenges to human rights’ claim to universal validity and enforceability (lecture 10).
The second part of the course will focus on philosophical theories and debates on human rights. It will consider: why we need a justification for human rights and what kind of justification we should look for (lecture 11); the formal structure and central problems of a theory of human rights (lecture 12); naturalistic, practical and political theories of human rights (lecture 13); normative arguments defending the universalism of a non-minimalistic conception of human rights (lecture 14); social rights as human rights and international distributive responsibility (lecture 15); migration, secession and human rights (lectures 16-17); the legitimacy of global institutions and the justifiability of humanitarian interventions (lectures 18-19); human rights and environmentalism (lecture 20).

Modalità di esame, prerequisiti, esami propedeutici

Esame in un'unica volta o suddiviso in partiunico
Modalità di accertamento conoscenzeEsame
Giudiziovoto verbalizzato in trentesimi

Prerequisiti e modalità di esame In order to be considered attending student, attendance of 4/5 of the lectures is required.
The exam for attending students will consist in a written test of twelve open-ended questions to be answered in two hours and in an optional oral test. Attending students will have the opportunity to divide the exam in two parts.

Prerequisiti e modalità di esame per non frequentanti The exam for non-attending students will consist in a written test made of twelve open-ended questions to be answered in two hours and in an optional oral test.

Organizzazione della didattica

Settori e relativi crediti

  • Settore: IUS/20 - Filosofia del diritto - Crediti: 6
Attività didattiche previste

Lezioni: 40 ore

Ricevimento Docenti

Orario di ricevimento Docenti
DocenteOrario di ricevimentoLuogo di ricevimento
NICOLA RIVA , responsabile dell'insegnamentoOgni lunedì dalle 15:00 alle 18:00.Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche e Sociali - Stanza 206 (secondo piano dell'edificio che si affaccia su via Passione)

Avvertenze e altre informazioni

Unit 1

- Ignatieff, M., “Human Rights as Politics / Human Rights ad Idolatry”, The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, Princeton University, Princeton, 2000.

Students are required to read and know the general content of the following human rights documents easily accessible through the Internet:

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948);
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965);
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) with the two Optional Protocols;
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) with the Optional Protocol;
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979) with the Optional Protocol (1999);
- Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) with three Optional Protocols (2000, 2012).

- American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Men (1948);
- American Convention on Human Rights (1969);
- European Convention on Human Rights (1950) with Protocols;
- European Social Charter (1961);
- African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1981);
- Arab Charter of Human Rights (2004).

Unit 2

- Sen, A., “Elements of a Theory of Human Rights”, Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol. 32, no. 4, 2004, pp. 315-356.
- Sen, A., “Human Rights and Asian Values”, Sixteenth Morgenthau Memorial Lecture on Ethics & Foreign Policy, Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, New York, 1997.
- Nussbaum, M.C., “In Defense of Universal Values”, Women and Human Development. The Fifth Annual Hesburgh Lectures on Ethics and Public Policy, University of Notre Dame, 1999.
- Gewirth, A., “The Basis and Content of Human Rights”, Nomos, vol. 23, Human Rights, 1981, pp. 119-147.
- Griffin, J., “First Steps in an Account of Human Rights”, European Journal of Philosophy, vol. 9, no. 3, 2001, pp. 306-327.
- Rawls, J., “The Law of Peoples”, Critical Inquiry, vol. 20, no. 1, 1993, pp. 36-68.
- Cohen, J., “Minimalism about Human Rights: The Most We Can Hope For”, The Journal of Political Philosophy, vol. 12, no. 2, 2004, pp. 190-213.
- Beitz, C., The Idea of Human Rights, chaps. 5 (“A Fresh Start”), 6 (“Normativity”), 7 (“International Concerns”), Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009, pp. 96-196.
- Pogge, T.W., “The International Significance of Human Rights”, The Journal of Ethics, vol. 4, no. 1/2, 2000, pp. 45-69.
- Pogge, T.W., “Severe Poverty as a Human Rights Violation”, in UNESCO, Freedom from Poverty as a Human Right. 1. Who Owes What to the Very Poor?, ed. by. T.W. Pogge, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007, pp. 11-53.

Non-attending students should prepare all the texts listed for attending students (see above) and, additionally, the following text:

- Nickel, J., Making Sense of Human Rights, Second Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, 2007.