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Human rights are under pressure in many places across the globe. Peaceful protests are violently quashed. Voting is tampered with. And minorities are often excluded from decision-making. All of this threatens the ideal of an open society in which each of us can be free and participate equally. A solid protection of human rights is needed for an open society to exist and to flourish. But it is often an uphill battle to work towards that ideal. Equip yourself and learn more about what human rights are and how they work. In this course, we will introduce you to one of the world’s most intricate human rights systems: the European Convention on Human Rights. You will see when and how people can turn to the European Court of Human Rights to complain about human rights violations. You will learn how the Court tries to solve many of the difficult human rights dilemmas of today. We will look, amongst other things, at the freedom of expression and demonstration, the right to vote, and the prohibition of discrimination. And we will address the rights of migrants, refugees, and other vulnerable groups. And, of course, we will see whether it is possible to restrict rights and if so under what conditions. You will even encounter watchdogs and ice cream in this course. We invite you to follow us on a journey of discovery into the European Convention!
Globe

Curso 100 % en línea

Comienza de inmediato y aprende a tu propio ritmo.
Beginner Level

Nivel principiante

Clock

Aprox. 17 horas para completar

Sugerido: 6 Weeks of study, approximately 2-3 hours per week.
Comment Dots

English

Subtítulos: English
Globe

Curso 100 % en línea

Comienza de inmediato y aprende a tu propio ritmo.
Beginner Level

Nivel principiante

Clock

Aprox. 17 horas para completar

Sugerido: 6 Weeks of study, approximately 2-3 hours per week.
Comment Dots

English

Subtítulos: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Introduction to the ECHR

The protection of human rights is closely linked to the idea of open societies. In an open society, people enjoy freedom and they are to a large extent free to live their lives as they wish. This week, we explore the idea of open societies and see how it relates to the protection of human rights. We also introduce you to the European Convention on Human Rights. This document forms the foundation for one of the world’s most intricate international human rights systems. Finally, you learn about the background and history of the Convention, the rights that are protected therein and the procedure which individuals can use to lodge a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights....
Reading
3 videos (Total 31 min), 5 readings, 4 quizzes
Video3 videos
The foundations of the ECHR8m
The admissibility requirements10m
Reading5 readings
The birth of the ECHR12m
The European Convention on Human Rights15m
The institutions of the Council of Europe12m
Articles 34 and 35 ECHR15m
Procedure in Strasbourg and execution of judgments15m
Quiz4 practice exercises
The linkages between the ECHR and an open society12m
Where to find rights in the ECHR?12m
The admissibility checklist of the ECtHR applied15m
Test your knowledge on the foundations of the ECHR15m

2

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

General principles

When someone complains that his or her right to privacy or right to freedom of expression has been violated, the European Court of Human Rights has to assess whether that is truly the case. But how does it do this? In this part of the course, we will focus on the general principles and methods the Court uses in order to assess whether a State has violated the Convention. We will see how the Court approaches human rights cases and learn about the dilemmas it faces in this regard in the context of open societies....
Reading
5 videos (Total 55 min), 2 readings, 5 quizzes
Video5 videos
The principles and methods of interpretation12m
Categories of rights in the ECHR and possibilities for limitation9m
Conditions for restriction of ECHR rights11m
The intensity of review of restrictions and the margin of appreciation doctrine13m
Reading2 readings
Additional reading on principles and methods of interpretation10m
Positive and negative obligations35m
Quiz5 practice exercises
How to interpret the ECHR in a concrete case?30m
Determining States' obligations in practice20m
The justification of restrictions - a practical exercise20m
The impact of the margin of appreciation in concrete cases25m
Test your knowledge on the consideration of fundamental rights cases by the ECtHR15m

3

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Human rights and democracy

Open societies require a democratic form of government. But how are human rights and democracy linked? In this part of the course, we focus on what democracy entails from a human rights perspective. We also address what voting rights are and how political parties are protected under the European Convention on Human Rights. Finally, we take a look at the protection of political rights in countries in transitions from war to peace and from dictatorship to democracy....
Reading
3 videos (Total 30 min), 2 readings, 3 quizzes
Video3 videos
Political parties9m
Human rights in transitions to democracy9m
Reading2 readings
The right to vote and the right to stand for election45m
Article 11 ECHR - the freedom of assembly and association10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Restricting the freedom of association5m
Test your knowledge on the connection between human rights and democracy15m

4

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Insiders and outsiders: non-discrimination, vulnerable groups, migrants and asylum seekers

Open societies are all about inclusion. In an open society, everyone should be allowed to participate on an equal footing. No one should be excluded. Equally, human rights should be enjoyed by all people and discrimination is prohibited. Yet, even in an open society, universality of human rights and the prohibition of discrimination may raise many questions. For example, what about the rights of people who are not (yet) citizens of that society, such as asylum seekers? On the one hand, asylum seekers find themselves in the extremely difficult and vulnerable position of being in transit. For that reason, their needs deserve extra consideration. For example, they may need special protection against hostile responses by the local population, they may need food, education and housing, and they must be protected against discrimination. On the other hand, not being citizens, the question is often raised to what extent they should be included and benefit from the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the European Convention on Human Rights. Finding the right balance and solving such dilemmas is crucial in open societies. In this week, we focus on (1) the rights and freedoms of insiders and outsiders under the European Convention, (2) non-discrimination and (3) the protection of vulnerable groups. To illustrate, we pay special attention to the rights of migrants and asylum seekers, as well as of other minority groups....
Reading
4 videos (Total 40 min), 2 readings, 3 quizzes
Video4 videos
Non-discrimination9m
Vulnerable groups11m
The rights of migrants and asylum seekers under the ECHR9m
Reading2 readings
Article 14 ECHR - the prohibition of discrimination10m
Suspect grounds of discrimination and the very weighty reasons test12m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Grounds of discrimination - a practical exercise20m
Test your knowledge on the inclusion and exclusion of vulnerable groups, migrants and asylum seekers under the ECHR15m

5

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Freedom of expression and public protest

The right to freely express yourself, the freedom of the press to report news and the right to protest are essential in an open society. The freedom of expression enables you to gather information about public issues and to let others know what you think. The media plays an important role in conveying information about matters of general interest. And public protest enables you to publicly support a cause you believe in. Together, these rights provide the essential conditions for the free and peaceful sharing of thoughts and ideas. Nevertheless, the unlimited freedom to say whatever you want and the freedom to protest might also undermine the openness of society. Hate speech and discriminatory speech, for example, might contribute to the exclusion of minority groups. In this learning unit, we take a closer look at the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom of assembly. Thereby, we also address the limits of these rights in an open society. ...
Reading
3 videos (Total 28 min), 2 readings, 2 quizzes
Video3 videos
The ECHR and the role of the media9m
The freedom of public protest8m
Reading2 readings
Article 10 ECHR - the freedom of expression10m
The importance of the freedom of expression in the political arena25m
Quiz2 practice exercises
ECHR criteria for protection of the media30m
ECHR criteria for freedom of expression for politicians12m

6

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Closure

This is the final assignment of the course on Human Rights for Open Societies. In this assignment, the various topics of the course are brought together. The first aim is to help you test the knowledge and insights you have acquired during the course. The second aim is to help you understand the interrelatedness of the main topics discussed....
Reading
1 reading, 2 quizzes
Reading1 readings
Final Survey10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
The case of Jacob Scholten0m
4.7

Top Reviews

By DMJun 11th 2017

Very good to find out the basics. What are human rights, what they represent and in which way we should interpret them. Also, it has an easy language so you don't need law school or other studies.

By SGJun 19th 2017

This has been a great introduction to the European Convention and Court of Human Rights. It has really helped deepen understanding of the treaty and how the court functions.

Instructors

About Utrecht University

Utrecht University is a research university comprising seven faculties which collectively span the entire academic spectrum in teaching and research. Founded in 1636, the University is now a modern, leading institute enjoying a growing international reputation. In the Shanghai Ranking, Utrecht University ranks 1st in the Netherlands, 17th in Europe and 56th worldwide. The research focuses on four main strategic themes: Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability. Our motto is: Bright minds, better future....

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