Methodology Of Human Rights Research And Education

Rule of Law, Democracy & Human Rights

Course Overview

Human rights research needs a more rigorous and coherent focus on methodological issues. The subject is complex and needs careful attention over a period of time.

Human rights research is not in itself an academic discipline but a field of research where different disciplines apply their own research questions, approaches and methodologies. While the legal discipline obviously has a long history of studying rights, social science has only recently overcome their human rights skepticism and delved into this field of inquiry.

In conducting research, there seems to be a certain degree of sloppiness in terms of awareness of methodological rigor in much of today’s human rights research.

Course Objectives

  • to strengthen respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms
  • to value human dignity and develop individual self-respect and respect for others
  • to develop attitudes and behaviours that will lead to respect for the rights of others
  • to ensure genuine gender equality and equal opportunities for women and men in all spheres
  • to promote respect, understanding and appreciation of diversity, particularly towards different national, ethnic, religious, linguistic and other minorities and communities
  • to empower people towards more active citizenship
  • to promote democracy, development, social justice, communal harmony, solidarity and friendship among people and nations
  • to further the activities of international institutions aimed at the creation of a culture of peace, based upon universal values of human rights, international understanding, tolerance and non-violence.

Course Outline

CONCEPTUAL BACKGROUND OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND DUTIES

  • Rights : inherent, inalienable, universal, indivisible
  • Values : Dignity, liberty, equality, justice, unity in diversity
  • Need for balance between Rights and Duties, Freedom and Responsibility

PHILOSOPHICAL AND HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES

  • Theories of human rights
  • History of human rights civilization
  • Human rights movements

INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS STANDARDS

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 

HUMAN RIGHTS AND DUTIES IN AFRICA

  • Evolution: Independence movement, making of the Constitution
  • Fundamental Rights
  • Directive Principles
  • Fundamental duties
  • Their Interrelationship
  • Enforcement and protection mechanism of human rights in Africa
  • Judiciary
  • National Human Rights Commission and other Commissions and Committees
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Information Media
  • Education

SOCIETAL PROBLEMS

  • Poverty, underdevelopment and illiteracy
  • Women, children and the disadvantaged groups

IMPORTANCE OF INTERNALIZING HUMAN RIGHTS AND DUTIES
Importance of internalizing Human Rights Values - Urgent need for not only sensitizing others of human rights and duties, but of practising oneself those values: self-inculcation, endeavour to live up to those ideals - Duty to respect others' rights, respect each other's human dignity

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