International Human Rights Protection

Results of the course evaluation (PDF, 89 KB)

Wednesday10:15 - 12:00RAI J-031

For general information please take note of this document:

Course Syllabus 2013 (PDF, 154 KB)

20.2.Class postponed to 27.2.

Foundations and history of human rights

General concept of human rights

  • From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
  • Overview of the key features of the ICCPR and the ICESCR
  • Relationship between the UDHR and the ICCPR

Reading AssignmentsAdditional Reading
  • Bates, in Moeckli/Shah/Sivakumaran (eds.), p. 17-38
  • Clapham, p. 1-56 (Chapters 1 and 2)


Economic, social and cultural rights

The ICESCR; respect, protect and fulfil

  • Origin and legal foundations of economic and social rights
  • Key features
  • Differences and relationship between the ICCPR and the ICESCR
  • The problem of resources
  • Obligations to respect, protect and fulfil
  • The issue of justiciability
Reading Assignments Additional Reading
Non-state Actors and Human Rights
  • Overview
  • Non-state actors and globalization, privatization and trade liberalization
  • Legal Framework
  • Status of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in international law
  • Case study
Reading AssignmentsAdditional Reading
  • Clapham, in Moeckli/Shah/Sivakumaran (eds.), p. 561-582 (Chapter 25)
New UN-Framework for business and human rights
  • Draft norms on the responsibility of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with regard to human rights
  • Appointment of Special Representative John Ruggie
  • Framework: protect, respect and remedy
  • Recent developments: adoption of the Guiding Principles, follow-up
Reading AssignmentsAdditional Reading

All material issued by the UNSRSG can be found at

27.3. (4 hours: 10:15-13:45 / Room KO2-F-152)New UN-Framework for business and human rights (cont.)

Special guest lecture by Prof. Michael Addo, member of the UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises:


  • What is so special about the UN Framework and Guiding Principles?

Mandate of the Working Group

  • Why a Working Group?
  • Lessons from the Ruggie Mandate
  • Scope of tasks
  • Challenges 
  • Strategy of the Working Group
    • Priorities
    • Projects and activities
    • Partnerships

The Annual Forum

  • Context
  • Objectives
  • Outcomes
  • Follow-up

The Future of the Mandate

Reading AssignmentsAdditional Reading
Please read the summary of discussions carefully in order to prepare for a group assignment!
3.4.No classes - Easter break
10.4. Business and Human Rights in ASEAN, A Baseline Study
Challenges in implementing the UN Framework
  • Overview of the OECD's mandate and work; OECD Declaration on international investment and multinational enterprises
  • Principles and standards for responsible business conduct
  • Recent devleopments: Update of the OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises
  • Application of the guidelines to human rights and supply chains (investment nexus and sphere of influence; due diligence)

IFC Sustainability Framework

  • Overview of the IFC mandate and work
  • Recent developments: Update of the IFC Sustainability Framework
Reading AssignmentsAdditional Reading
24.4.Access to remedy I: Monitoring human rights compliance
  • Existing general mechanisms
  • The role of UN institutions, especially the Human Rights Council in observing member states' compliance
Reading AssignmentsAdditional Reading
Clapham, p. 57-80 (Chapter 3)

No classes - Public Holiday "Tag der Arbeit"

8.5.Due to unforeseen circumstances, Prof. Kaufmann will not be able to hold the International Human Rights lecture. We will inform you in due course as to when and how the material will be caught up.
15.5.Access to remedy II: The role of the OECD National Contact Points for implementing the corporate responsibility to respect human rights and recent developments
  • OECD's mandate for NCPs
  • Implementation options
  • A renewed EU strategy for Corporate Social Responsibility
  • EU and US: Shared Principles for International Investment
  • US: Dodd-Frank-Act
  • Case study: Norwegian NCP case
  • France: Loi Grenelle II
Reading AssignmentsAdditional Reading

(4 hours: 10:15-13:45 / Room KOL-G-217)

Special guest lecture by John Morrsion, Executive Director, Institute for Human Rights and Business, London

The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights: Some Challenges of Interpretation and Application

Reading AssignmentsAdditional Reading
Special focus on labour rights
  • ILO core labour rights
  • Case study: Chocolate and Child labour, Nestlés policy

Reading AssignmentsAdditional Reading