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Human Rights and Conflict

Single Course

SISS Course Name
Course Name
PUBPOL 761.01
Human Rights and Conflict
MW 3:05-4:20 p.m.

One story of the relationship between human rights and conflict is told in the Preamble to the UN Charter: the human rights framework of our age came about because of the 20th century's two world wars. But for the "untold sorrow" brought about by these conflicts, so the story goes, there would have been no effective demand for and no construction of a set of legal, political and ethical norms intended to help "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war". In this course we will examine the link between human rights and conflict in an interdisciplinary fashion. What are the multiple ways in which the law and political advocacy of human rights relate to conflict? Do demands for human rights precipitate or fuel as much as prevent-conflicts, whether as war or in other forms of large scale suffering? Are human rights essential for what the field of conflict resolution has termed "positive peace"? Should policymakers involved in multiple stages of conflict, both inter-and intrastate, be more cautious about viewing rights as a remedy for conflicts? What are relevant ethical considerations? With the benefit of greater analytical and contextual understanding of competing priorities and tradeoffs, what positive role might be cast for human rights in the conflicts of the 21st century? To consider these and other questions, we will draw substantially on historical and policy analyses, learning the legal/political history of the contemporary framework for human rights and connecting it to real world efforts underway by lawyers and other practitioners to reframe and transform conflict and build peace. Consent required by instructor.

YEAR: 2017