Human Rights & Development Syllabus: developed for the Centre for Development and Human Rights (CDHR) by Nyiri Karakas (February 2014)
Description: This Human Rights and Development course syllabus is designed to introduce students to the field of human rights and development. The aim of the proposed course is to allow students to better understand how these two fields interact across various thematic areas. The course begins with a re-cap of the human rights framework and its composite parts, and is followed in Weeks 2, 3, and 4 with more broadly focused discussions on human rights, poverty, and development work. In Weeks 5, 6, and 7, the discussion becomes more focused while looking at the roles of market-based actors and institutional and economic forces in the backdrop of human rights and development. Week 8 and 9 focus specifically on the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as these are the defining parameters of a lot of development work. Week 10 looks at the right to a healthy environment and the rights of nature. The literature on this topic, especially the links between environmental based rights and development work is rather scarce. This week provides a unique opportunity for students to begin conceptualizing the links between an emergent area of rights and development work and to propose their own ideas. Week 11 introduces a discussion on indigenous rights and development. Indigenous rights. like environmental based rights (discussed in week 10) are seen as increasingly important areas of discussion and action, especially in the face of neoliberal globalization and its accompanying forces. Week 12 looks at the role of NGOs as they work across human rights and development fields. Week 13 takes on the right to food as its central focus, embedded within the context of development work. Week 14 is focused on the indispensable human rights monitoring structure. By this week, students should be able to see across the synergies of development and human rights based work, and apply this knowledge to understanding the nuances of the human rights monitoring structure and how it could play a stronger role (or not) in the linking of human rights and development work. Week 15 has purposefully been left open to allow students to discuss the future of human rights and development through whichever means they please.