Human Rights, Human Wrongs

Human rights are critical for achieving the UN’s Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. Across the globe many people’s rights are violated everyday, creating injustice and instability that threatens our collective future.

"Human Rights, Human Wrongs: Challenging Poverty, Vulnerability and Social Exclusion" is an 11-week course that focuses on human rights and their link to the sustainable development context, particularly in terms of the advances, or lack thereof, in achieving women’s rights across the globe. The course brings together two different perspectives on rights – the legal and the social– to explore what implementing a rights-based agenda entails. The course examines how rights are understood and lived around the world, and what are the barriers that prevent rights from becoming a reality.

"Human Rights, Human Wrongs" begins by discussing the evolution of the international human rights frameworks. It discusses how human rights, and their denial affects the lives of excluded groups, and the ability of countries to deal with the challenges of sustainable development. The course brings a particular focus to the global politics around the human rights discourse, with a discussion on the nuances of promoting ‘inclusive’ approaches and their possible effects on shifting the responsibility of alleviating poverty to the excluded groups themselves. It highlights the intersections of issues related to human rights, such as how gender interplays with ethnicity and the rights of indigenous peoples, as well as how human rights influences responses to conflict and disaster. The course not only describes pathways to a more inclusive and just society (SDGs 5, 10 and 16), but also raises questions on the role that human rights can play in achieving all of the SDGs. The course is designed to engage students in debating and discussing difficult, complex issues at the intersection of politics, human rights, gender relations, social relations and economics and power.

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