Faculty of Arts


International Relations and Human Rights


This course traces the evolution of human rights concepts and how they inspire the negotiation of inter-governmental treaties and the establishment of international institutions and courts. The positive and negative impacts of domestic politics and transnational actors and the collision of human rights ideals with the doctrine of state sovereignty are recurring themes. Also analysed are asylum seeking, trafficking, humanitarian intervention and the clash of counter-terrorism policies with civil liberties. Instruments of statecraft ranging from diplomacy, monitoring and mediation to peacekeeping and humanitarian military intervention are described and assessed in light of case studies.

Broadly, this course juxtaposes the traditional claims of states to guard sovereignty and impose order against more recent claims by individuals to freedom, rights, justice and humane treatment. While common lectures and readings are presented, students will have a wide choice of essay and oral report topics to make best use of their interests, skills and experiences.

NB: enrolment is limited to 35 students, with selection criteria as follows: 1) admission to the MProfStuds in International Relations and Human Rights; 2) admission to a postgraduate programme in Political Studies or Development Studies; 3) results in previous tertiary study in relevant subjects.

Availability 2012

Semester 1


Coordinator(s) Associate Professor Stephen Hoadley


New Zealand Handbook on International Human Rights (Wellington: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2008)


POLITICS 750: 15.0 points

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