Human rights have become the dominant moral language of our time. Rights are used to help build civil society, to establish international law, to give the oppressed hope, and even to justify foreign military intervention. When we speak of rights, then, we speak of a ubiquitous presence in our world. How did this come to be? This course examines the historical development of international human rights from their definition by the United Nations in 1948 to the present day. Our main questions will be how a powerful discourse of human rights has developed, who has spoken on its behalf, and how human rights claims have intersected with existing political, institutional, and legal structures.
Field WorkCountry: Myanmar (Burma)
Day: 2 - Rangoon - 28 February
We will visit with government officials, leaders of various NGOs connected to human rights in Burma, and officials with Burma’s National Human Rights Commission. During these meetings, we will discuss issues of child trafficking, human rights, political reform, and international law in a Burmese context. Academic Objectives:
- Identify key human rights issues facing Burma today.
- Explore human rights in a Burmese context.
- Assess the relationship between transitional justice and international law in Burma.