Clearing 2021
MA Public Opinion and Political Behaviour
LLM International Humanitarian Law options

Year 1, Component 05

Option(s) from list
Human Rights Clinic

Want to work as a human rights professional? Using the UN human rights mechanisms, learn the essential skills to become a human rights practitioner. Apply this knowledge practically through engagement with projects by our Human Rights Centre Clinic.

Religion and Human Rights

How do Islamic legal traditions impact on international human rights discourse? And on Muslim state practice? Study the debates surrounding Islam and universal human rights. Examine the diversity of perspectives surrounding human rights in Islamic thought and practice. Develop the tools for cross-cultural understanding and engagement.

Human Rights, International Relations and Diplomacy

How does the international system enhance the advancement of human rights? And how does it constrain it? Study the international system and its influence on human rights. Examine the role of foreign policy instruments in promoting human rights. Analyse how human rights can advance foreign policy goals by states.

Human Rights, Social Justice and Social Change

Until very recently, it was frequently claimed that human rights were the dominant moral instruments for regulating global politics and law. Indeed, many went so far as to claim that we were living in an age of human rights. Is this still true today? Human rights are increasingly challenged from a variety of perspectives. Indeed, an increasing number of people describe the global human rights project to be in a state of real crisis. With human rights increasingly challenged, it is vitally important that we are able to understand the basis and extent of this challenge, in order to overcome the challenge. This module provides an opportunity to do just that. We will situate the theory and the practice of human rights within the broader moral and political contexts within which contemporary human rights unfolds. We will also connect theory with practice in order to examine key spheres in which the challenge to human rights occurs.

Plagues, Pandemics, and Panics

This module provides a multi-disciplinary and contextual understanding of how the international community, states, and communities respond to pandemics and similar public health emergencies by drawing on expertise across seven departments at Essex: Government, Health & Social Care, History, Law, LIFTS, Philosophy & Art History, and Sociology.

Human Rights: Global Diversity and Global Challenges
Gender, Race, Identity and Human Rights
Regional Human Rights Systems
International Law of Armed Conflict

How can international law protect vulnerable groups during times of armed conflict? And can it be improved? Build knowledge of international law by examining the rules and legal classifications of armed conflict. Evaluate how international law tries to prevent and punish violations. Gain practical experience by studying real-life examples.

Current Challenges in the Law of Armed Conflict

How do you protect the environment during armed conflict? What role does the media play in conflict situations? What are the implications of asymmetric warfare? Undertake in-depth analysis of problems associated with armed conflict. Examine real-life issues that interest you, to see how different laws, institutions and competing interests combine.

International Criminal Law

How does international criminal law deal with terrorism? Or with genocide and crimes against humanity? What role does the International Criminal Court play? Study international criminal law and the principles of jurisdiction. Analyse the idea of state criminal responsibility. Build knowledge of human rights in relation to international criminal law.

Conflict and the United Nations: the Law related to the Use of Force, Sanctions and Peacekeeping

How does public international law apply to peace and field operations? What about international human rights law? Or the international law of armed conflict? Understand the institutional law of the United Nations. Examine foundational legal aspects of peace operations, as well as key unresolved legal issues.

Acute Crises and Displacement

Most displaced persons in the world are part of a mass displacement that may or may not cross an international border which has important consequences for the legal framework of protection. In this module you will look at the protection offered by international law to those displaced in time of acute crisis.

Public International Law

What does it mean to be an international lawyer? Understand the founding principles of international laws. Apply the tools and techniques of legal reasoning to the international system. Understand how the system of international law works and form your own views through discussion of contemporary issues.

The Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in International Law

What protection does international law offer refugees and internally displaced persons? Examine legal definitions of refugee status. Understand the guarantees provided for such groups by international human rights law. Evaluate the limitations of such laws by states in Europe and North America.

Human Rights and Development

What does right to development mean? How does it relate to human rights treaties? What is a human rights-based approach to development? Study international human rights law, exploring theoretical and practical implications of linking human rights and development. Analyse specific human rights themes. Evaluate the role of governments and organisations.

Investment, Environment and Human Rights

What are the global standards set by the GATT/World Trade Organisation? And by World Bank policies? Examine relationships between human rights, international trade and foreign investment. Study legal issues, plus ethical, political and economic arguments on current topics. Evaluate cases to see the practical effect of linking trade and rights.

Human Rights and Women

You’ll receive an introduction to the protection and promotion of women’s and girls’ human rights under international law. Your focus will be on the universal human rights mechanisms, with some analysis of regional human rights mechanisms, especially relating to violence against women. You’ll consider sexual and reproductive rights, economic, social and cultural rights, administration of justice, women’s rights in conflict and post-conflict, and violence against women. You’ll also look at the persistence of gender stereotyping, theories of equality and discrimination, and the efforts of human rights defenders.

Business and Human Rights

What are the human rights responsibilities of private companies? And what about public or private institutions financing projects aimed at world development? Evaluate principles regulating human rights and examine how they contrast with principles regulating multinational commercial interests. Consider real-life cases from both national and international courts.

Transitional Justice

Broadly speaking transitional justice refers to the belief that any State where mass atrocities have taken place should engage with a set of judicial and non-judicial processes in order to achieve a successful transition from conflict to peace or repression to democracy. You’ll receive an overview of the history, theory, legal background and dilemmas of transitional justice, followed by in-depth discussions of the four pillars of transitional justice – truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence, and of their interrelatedness.

Contemporary Challenges in Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Human Rights of LGBTI Persons
Human Rights and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence never seems to be far from the headlines. Sarah O`Connor of the Financial Times was quoted in a recent House of Lords report as stating that `if you ever write an article that has robots or artificial intelligence in the headline, you are guaranteed that it will have twice as many people clicking on it`. The advent of big data and more advanced and cheaper computational power has meant that machine learning has become much more accessible and available to a wide range of actors. AI is no longer the preserve of science fiction but is already a reality with many forms of machine learning and robotics already being used today. Within the last few years, governments and major technology companies have started to release AI strategies and major investments are being made in innovation and in understanding how AI will benefit and present risks to society. AI is already offering many opportunities for the better protection of human rights while at the same time presenting serious risks. While many actors describe these risks narrowly (focusing on the right to privacy), the threats (as well as the opportunities) affect the entire human rights spectrum. For example, AI applications may be used to document human rights violations; implement the Sustainable Development Goals; respond more effectively to the refugee `crisis`; and manage the impacts of climate change. They potentially offer innovative ways to enhance access to education; enable persons with disabilities and older persons to live more autonomously; advance the right to the highest attainable standard of health; and provide ways to tackle human trafficking and forced labour. At the same time, the use of big data and AI can present significant risks to human rights, even in contexts where they are used with the intention to advance them. They can introduce new threats and aggravate and amplify existing challenges to human rights, for example by reducing accountability for rights violations due to opaque decision-making processes, or by widening inequality. This could be due to factors such as uneven distribution of benefits, discriminatory impacts and biased datasets. Big data and AI have wide ranging effects across society and individuals` lives, including collective impact, many of which are not yet fully understood. They can put the full spectrum of human rights – civil, cultural, economic, political and social – at risk. Many actors involved in the governance and regulation of AI as well as key international, regional and national human rights institutions and NGOs are starting to work on the human rights impact of AI and to develop responses, although this remains at an embryonic stage. This module is designed to enable you to learn about the different technologies that fall under the broad and popular heading of `AI` and to understand and analyse how their use in different contexts affects human rights. The module is offered by the ESRC Human Rights, Big Data and Technology project based at the University of Essex. We are a major ESRC investment examining the risks and opportunities for human rights posed by big data and technology and developing effective policy, governance and regulatory responses. We work internationally on these issues and will integrate our ongoing research and practical experience on these issues into the module. This will enable you to engage with technological and policy developments as they happen in a rapidly changing field. As many international organisations, governments, technology companies and NGOs are starting to grapple with the impact of AI on human rights and the way in which they work, this module will provide preparation for study and employment after the LLM and MA across a range of domains and institutions.

Gender, Peace, Security and the Law

This module provides an in-depth overview of the legal and political frameworks developed at the international level governing gender, peace and security. Such frameworks were developed particularly to address the relative invisibility of women and gender more broadly in articulations of threats to peace and security and with a view to promoting and extending the roles of women in the development and implementation of strategies to address such threats. The module highlights the interface between feminist legal theory, international human rights law, international relations theory and additional legal frameworks relevant to key subject areas which are particularly relevant to gender, peace and security. These consist of: displacement, peacekeeping, terrorism, weapons and disarmament, investigations and commissions of inquiry, prosecutions and reparations. In the exploration of each of these subject areas, particular emphasis is placed on exploring the specific gender dimensions – both in how the subject areas are framed but equally, in understanding the tensions within those framings and the legal and policy responses that have been developed to address them and the gaps that remain.

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