International Relations & Human Rights Law Minor (EUC)

Name minor:

International Relations & Human Rights Law



Teaching language:


Programme which has the coordinating role for this minor:

Erasmus University College (EUC)

Other programmes which are contributing to the minor:



See toelatingsmatrix


The minor will explore how governments, non-governmental organisations and international institutions interact in their efforts to protect human rights. It will trace the evolution of human rights concepts and how they inspire the negotiation of intergovernmental treaties and the establishment of international institutions and courts to protect human rights. The latter is thus examined from a historic point of view.
State sovereignty and international relations have a profound impact on the ability of the international community to respond to gross human rights violations. Thus, in this course, 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.  Instruments of statecraft ranging from diplomacy, monitoring and mediation to peacekeeping and humanitarian military intervention are depicted and analyzed in the light of case studies. The course will examine unresolved practical, theoretical (and maybe philosophical) issues and questions concerning the universality of human rights; whose responsibility it is to protect human rights; and whether human rights conventions, laws, and regimes are effective. Thus, the course 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.

Learning objectives:

1)      Understanding the history, theories and issues of International Relations 2)      Understanding foundational values and basic doctrines of fundamental rights, being able to apply the latter in concrete cases 3)      Understanding the interaction between sovereignty concerns for states with ‘legitimacy concerns’ of international courts, and being able to identify the tension with the effective protection of fundamental rights. 4)      Understanding the role of interpretation principles characteristic of human rights in this regard.

Specific characteristics:

This minor will consist of mixed-method teachings where participatory lectures, cases, 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, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), so as to enable the students to witness the practical application of the principles studied.Meetings/lecturesThe duration of the minor in International relations and human rights law is ten weeks. During this course, we will use mixed methods. Meetings will be held every week. Each meeting will take about 3 hours. The total workload will be approximately 40 hours a week; this includes preparing for the meetings and attending the meetings and lectures. The lectures will provide insight into the practical relevance of the various topics. Besides that, guest lecturers will be invited to talk about the subjects of discussion. The exam will include questions on topics dealt with during each of these lectures. Thus, students who attend all lectures will greatly benefit.


Maximum number of students that can participate in the minor:

30 (of which 20 EUC students)

Minimum number of students that can participate in the minor:


Contact hours: 54

Overview modules:

Module 1: titel/Title

  • Code:

    Human Rights Law: foundational principles, basic doctrines, contemporary challenges, including sovereignty, democracy, religion, etc.
  • ECTS:

  • Content:

    The foundational principles, basic doctrines and contemporary challenges of Human Rights Law
  • Teaching method:

    mixed methods
  • Teaching materials:

    titles of books, chapters and papers will be uploaded on CollegeWeb
  • Contact hours: 2 per week

 Module 2: titel/Title

  • Code:

    Traditional and Contemporary Theories of International Relations
  • ECTS:

  • Content:

    Traditional and contemporary theories of International Relations will be discussed as well as    current debates relating to IR.
  • Teaching method:

    mixed methods
  • Teaching materials:

    titles of books, chapters and papers will be uploaded on CollegeWeb
  • Contact hours: 2 per week

Module 3: titel/Title

  • Code:

      International practices from a human rights perspective, including sovereignty, democracy, international responsibility, etc.
  • ECTS:

  • Content:

  • Teaching



    mixed methods
  • Teaching materials:

    titles of books, chapters and papers will be uploaded on CollegeWeb
  • Contact hours: 2 per week


Method of examination:

Overall, the assessment will consist of three components. The final grade will include the combination of the three individual components as is outlined below.

Composition of final grade:

Grade distribution is outlined below






10 %

Final Exam


Presentation and Essay

50 %


Feedback will consist of mainly oral feedback and grading required by the EUC feedback grid.

Contact information

Contact person:

Name: Phyllis Livaha
Phonenumber: 0620312597
Room: EUC Office

Faculty website: