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Human Rights, Ways of Life, and the Future

Explore human rights law and particular ways of life, the impact of the Global COVID-19 pandemic, and strategies for the future.

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  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Included in an ExpertTrack

    Course 3 of 3
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Examine what the future could bring for human rights law

The defence of human rights was born of struggle but human rights law has already changed law and practice in many countries. What more can be done?

On this four-week course, you’ll examine the challenge to human rights law posed by the ways of life of indigenous peoples and people of faith. You’ll also consider the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic on human rights, before considering the future of human rights law.

Explore religious freedom in international human rights law

Religion has been the cause of controversy and war across the world for centuries, which is why there have been many attempts made to protect religious freedom.

The first week of this course will examine the right to religious freedom and its importance. You’ll then focus on the freedom of European Muslim women to wear garments that cover their faces in public. By looking at the responses of some governments, you’ll develop insights into the state of tolerance in 21st Century Europe.

Discover the protections of Indigenous Peoples

Many indigenous peoples’ ways of life are being destroyed by individuals and companies who are engaged in land grabbing.

On this course, you’ll learn how indigenous peoples have made creative use of existing human rights standards to protect their ways of life.

Investigate how the pandemic has affected human rights

There is growing evidence that the problems of poverty and inequality have been exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

You’ll consider the effects of the pandemic on different groups of people and the impacts of emergency responses on democratic processes and human rights.

What can you do to promote human rights in the future?

This week, you are asked to come with ideas for improving human rights protection, especially of the poor and marginalised people.


  • Week 1

    People of Faith and Human Rights

    • Introduction to the Course and to the Right to Religious Freedom

      Here you will be introduced to the final course which forms part of Critical International Human Rights Law, and you will also be introduced to the topic for the current week.

    • Religious Freedom in International Human Rights Law

      Here you will discover the value placed on religious freedom by international human rights institutions.

    • Religious Freedom in the World

      Here you will consider the rise of religious intolerance in the world, as well as the ways in which national constitutions and legislation attempt to address this problem.

    • The European Court of Human Rights and Religious Freedom

      Here you will consider the European Court of Human Rights’ approach to religious freedom, and in particular, its approach to cases involving Muslim women wishing to wear certain apparel.

    • Wrap Up

      Here you will find a repeat poll, a list of resources and a summary of the week.

  • Week 2

    The Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples

    • Who is Indigenous?

      Here you learn more about Tiuri to whom you were introduced in Course 1 Week 3. You will also consider the definition of indigenous peoples and you will undertake some research to discover who is indigenous in your jurisdiction.

    • Protection of Indigenous Peoples

      Here you will learn that while there is no UN treaty dedicated to indigenous peoples’ rights, there is a declaration on indigenous peoples’ rights which has acquired a significance beyond its non binding status.

    • Indigenous Peoples' Land Rights

      Here you will consider some of the case law of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights interpreting the right to property in a manner that embraces indigenous peoples’ way of life.

    • Wrap Up

      Here you will find a repeat poll, a list of resources and a summary of the week.

  • Week 3

    The Global COVID-19 Pandemic and Human Rights

    • Impact of the Pandemic on Poverty and Inequality

      Here you will consider the impact of the pandemic on both the rich and the poor.

    • States of Emergency and Democracy

      Here you will learn that many states issued emergency legislation to try to curb the spread of the disease and you will consider the impact of such legislation on democracy.

    • COVID-19 and Austerity

      Here you will consider the confluence of COVID-19 and the measures taken by states to meet its challenge, against the backdrop of years of austerity measures.

    • The Pandemic and its Disparate Impacts

      Here you will consider the evidence that the pandemic has had disparate impacts on people, meaning that we are not all in this together.

    • Some Positive Aspects of the Pandemic

      Here you will discover that some groups, apart from the rich, have benefited at least temporarily from the measures taken to stem the spread of coronavirus.

    • Wrap Up

      Here you will find a list of resources and a summary of the week.

  • Week 4

    Is There a Future for International Human Rights Law?

    • Overview and the Future

      This week we will look back at the material we have covered in the three courses. We will also start to think about what you each could do to promote human rights.

    • Signs of hope

      Here you will consider some of the gains already made, and consider what you can do to improve the protection of human rights in the world.

    • Plans for the Future

      Here you will consider a strategy for improving human rights protection.

    • Wrap Up

      Here you will find a test consisting of multiple choice questions covering this 4-week course, a list of resources and a summary of the week.

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of what constitutes international human rights law, its norms, systems and institutions.
  • Explore the history of international human rights law.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone working for national and international governmental and non-governmental organisations, as well as lawyers looking to deepen their knowledge base.

Who will you learn with?

I am Senior Lecturer in Law at Kent Law School, University of Kent. I specialise in International Human Rights Law and International Migration Law.

Who developed the course?

The University of Kent

The University of Kent, the UK’s European university, is one of the country’s most dynamic universities. Established in 1965, it now has 19,850 students studying at its various campuses.

About this ExpertTrack

Explore human rights across the globe, how the law helps or hinders marginalised groups, and how we can protect human rights.

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