Minor International Relations & Human Rights Law

Broadening minor
Minor code
10 weeks
Belongs to study programme


This minor will examine unresolved theoretical, legal and practical questions concerning the issues of international relations as well as universality of human rights; whose responsibility it is to protect human rights; and whether human rights conventions, laws, and regimes are effective. Thus, the minor looks at the juxtaposition of the traditional claims of states to guard sovereignty and impose order against more recent claims by individuals to freedom, rights, justice, universal moral order and humane treatment. State sovereignty and international relations have a profound impact on the ability of the international community to respond to gross human rights violations. The positive and negative impacts of domestic politics and transnational actors and the collision of human rights ideals with the doctrine of state sovereignty will be recurring themes in the course.
To this end the following questions will be discussed:

  • How do international relations theories view human rights?
  • How do they explain contemporary world politics?
  • What role do human rights play in international relations today?
  • Why do states comply with the human rights treaties?
  • How does the application of human rights treaties affect states’ sovereignty?
  • How are individual rights enforced by states?

Learning objectives

  • Understand the history, theories and issues of international relations theories;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the main human rights provisions and ways of their enforcement;
  • Understand the role of interpretation principles characteristic of human rights;
  • Articulate an informed view about current debates on human rights enforcement in international relations;
  • Analyze and present a case on one of these issues.

Special aspects

Afternoon lectures and whole day study visits.

Overview content

There are two sessions scheduled for each week. There will be eight 3-hour in-class sessions in the nine (9) weeks. Each session will have its own required readings (which have to be read prior to the class). Included in these sessions will be study visits.
The meetings will be in the form of seminars. They will include interactive lectures, simulations and case studies.

Teaching methods

This minor will consist of mixed-method teachings where participatory lectures, cases, group assignments, simulations and presentations will be a part of the curriculum. In addition site visits are anticipated to key institutions, such as the International Criminal Court or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so as to enable the students to witness the practical application of the principles studied.

Teaching materials

Smart board, books, articles.


Method of examination
Papers, moot court presentations, group assignments

Composition final grade
Professional behaviour (10%)
Assignment I (Human Rights Law) (30%)
Assignment II (International Relations) (20%)
Final Essay (40%)

For the papers, the following criteria will be used for feedback:
Clear and comprehensive description of research topic States the research question guiding the essay clearly; Mentions the theory or model, academic approach or method to understand the issue at hand; Briefly outlines the structure of the essay.

Main body, discussion and argumentation
Brief information on the topic and research question; Summarizes, integrates, and critically evaluates the theories/approaches chosen; Is based on academic sources (minimum of 3) plus optional other sources (but always mention/refer to any sources explicitly) ; Is composed of coherent parts that follow a logical and fluent order; Convincingly analyses the research question with plausible arguments and reliable evidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Contact information

Phyllis Livaha
room: EUC office

Faculty website

Broadening minor
Minor code
10 weeks
Belongs to study programme
Erasmus University College
Study points (EC)
Instruction language
Campus Woudestein, Rotterdam | Erasmus University College


Please read the application procedure for more information.