Human rights, History

Human Rights

1. In the world of human rights, is it possible to reconcile Universalist and Cultural Relativist views? In your answer,

(i) Discuss the main tensions in the current debate, and;

(ii) Consider and develop some examples. (Please ensure that your paper has a sufficiently legal focus.)

2. According to the UN, "All human rights are indivisible, whether they are civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, , or collective rights, ..., [all rights] are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent. The improvement of one right facilitates advancement of the others. Likewise, the deprivation of one right adversely affects the others." Do you agree? In your answer,

(i) Consider how the three generations of rights are articulated and monitored in UN treaties and/or regional human rights treaties.

(ii) Use case studies to support your arguments.

3. In what ways does Australia's system of immigration detention violate Article 9 of the ICCPR? In your answer,

 (i) analyse the relevant jurisprudence of the UN Human Rights Committee (including a critical analysis of those decisions on the basis of Australia's arguments and responses, and the relevant dissenting or individual opinions adopted by committee members);

 (ii) discuss the import of the Australian Human Rights Commission case of Heyward v DIAC [2011] AusHRC 47, and;

(iii) explain the current legislative position of the Australian government and how the requirements of the ICCPR relate to Australian law and the Australian legal system.

4. In 2007 the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing concluded that "Australia has failed to implement the human right to adequate housing". Do you agree with this assessment? In your answer, consider

 (i) the legal framework for implementing this right in Australia

(ii) the jurisprudence of the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights on this right; (iii) the South African and Kenyan cases on the right to housing (referred to in the week 6 reading guide), and;

(iv)whether the constitutional entrenchment of the right to housing, as articulated in the ICESCR, would provide a remedy to this perceived problem in Australia.

5. In the past the Australian Government has subjected the UN human rights system to intense criticism. What is Australia's relationship to the UN system of human rights protection? In your answer, consider:

(i) the extent to which these criticisms are warranted;

(ii) how well Australia is fulfilling its obligations under core treaties, specifically the ICCPR and the ICESCR (using 1-2 examples from each);

(iii) Australia's response to the 2011 Universal Periodic Review (UPR), and;

(iv) what legal challenges the federal government faces in fulfilling its international human rights obligations.


In your answer, compare and contrast the potential effectiveness of the UN's mechanisms for human rights scrutiny.

6. What are the main benefits and drawbacks of regional systems of human rights monitoring? Should Australia be part of an Asia-Pacific system or is it sufficient for it to rely on the international system as well as a network of national human rights institutions? In your answer,

 (i) use an existing regional system of human rights monitoring as a measure;

(ii) illustrate your answer through comparing one or two concrete rights provisions and their level of enforcement, and;

(iii) consider whether it is difficult to talk of an 'Asian position' on human rights by looking at the position of some Asian countries.

7. Many scholars and practitioners believe that the fields of international human rights law and international humanitarian law are converging. Do you believe that the benefits of this convergence outweigh the drawbacks for the field of international human rights law? In your answer, use some case examples to develop your argument.

8. Do you believe that international human rights law currently provides sufficient protection of women's human rights? In your answer,

(i) analyse the main ways in which the current level of protection manifests itself;

(ii) consider and critically assess recent developments, and;

(iii) use one or two case examples to explain your evaluation.

9. How well has international criminal law incorporated international human rights guarantees (such as those found in the core international human rights treaties)? Is there room for further improvement? In your answer, critically assess the development and operation of:

(i) the ad hoc international tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and/or Rwanda, and;

(ii) the International Criminal Court.

10. Do you believe that the granting of amnesty for crimes against humanity can ever be justified under international human rights law? Do international human rights guarantees ever impede the path toward building peace or are these guarantees essential for facilitating peace?

Posted Date: 2/16/2013 5:58:45 AM | Location : United States

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