Special Topics in International Relations: Inter-American Human Rights System

Discipline: Politics and International Relations
Instructor: Shelton
Credits: 3

Field Class: Costa Rica Download Syllabus

This course will provide an overview of the history, institutions, guarantees and procedures of the Inter-American Human Rights System, established by the Organization of American States. The work of the Inter-American Commission and Court in reference to the countries visited is the primary focus. The course will examine some of the substantive regional standards of human rights law in the context of case studies concerning the rights of indigenous peoples, violence against women, freedom of expression, political rights, and citizen security. The course will look in particular at the impact of the Inter-American system on the port countries visited.

Field Class

Country: Costa Rica

The participants will travel from Port Limon to San Jose, Costa Rica, where they will visit the Inter-American Court, meet with representatives of the Court (including any judge in residence), see the courtroom and other facilities and learn how human rights cases are presented and litigated before the court. They will also be able to discuss the limitations and problems faced by the Court as its caseload rises. Nearby they will visit the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, which supports the work of the Court through teaching, research and training. Either at the Institute or at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they will discuss with Costa Rican government officials the cases brought against Costa Rica, the issues involved, and the challenges faced in complying with the decisions of international human rights bodies. Students should come away from the field trip with a good understanding of the potential and limitations of international litigation to promote and protect human rights in a given country.