This course introduces students to contemporary global human rights issues. We will examine the international, moral, ethical, and legal issues that emerge in port countries when accepted human rights principles clash with political, social, cultural, and economic interests; customs, traditions, and religion; and informal and formal policies and laws. Course topics include the identification and definition of human rights under international statutes; due process and accepted international human rights principles; genocide and “ethnic cleansing;” indigenous groups and land rights; xenophobia; gender, ethnic, racial, class, caste, religious, and other minority group discrimination and violence; sexual morality, culture, and laws; human rights in conflict zones; torture and killings by police, soldiers, or militias; international corporations, globalization, and exploitation of labor and natural resources; poverty; contemporary slavery; and the impact of government and private corruption on human rights. We will analyze the efforts by the UN, national governments, human rights NGOs, recent war crimes tribunals, and the international community to promote and protect human rights and deter human rights violations. This course will rely on case studies from port countries.
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