International Human Rights

Coronavirus: Online classes

From Wednesday (18 March 2020) on, all classes will be either given in a live broadcast every Wednesday (same schedule) or video recorded. Please do not come to the classroom and check on Moodle regularly for further information.

Should you have any questions regarding the syllabus, please continue to use the question forum on Moodle.

General Information

The course generally takes place every Wednesday from 10:15 to 12:00 in room RAI-J-031, exceptions are outlined in the syllabus below. The course will provide an overview of the current international human rights regime, which will be complemented by a second part focusing on the existing and emerging rules on corporate responsibility of multinational enterprises. After an introduction covering the basic mechanisms of human rights protection, we will discuss the role of non-state actors and – in more detail – multinational corporations. The course will also address current human rights issues.

All participants are required to prepare for class and read the assigned papers in advance. Please note that the average reading load is approx. 50-100 pages per week and that the general reading assignments in the programme are subject to change throughout the semester.

Course Material

Syllabus (PDF, 576 KB)

The course is partially based on the following books:

  • for human rights in general: Daniel Moeckli/Sangeeta Shah/Sandesh Sivakumaran (eds.), International Human Rights Law, Third edition, Oxford 2018;
  • for business and human rights specifically: John Ruggie, Just Business – Multinational Corporations and Human Rights, New York/London 2013; Dorothée Baumann-Pauly/Justine Nolan (eds.), Business and Human Rights – From Principles to Practice, London/New York 2016;
  • for the legal sources we recommend Blackstone’s International Human Rights Documents collected by Alison Bisset, 11th Edition, Oxford 2018.

Participants without a law background may find Andrew Clapham, Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction, second edition, Oxford 2015, helpful.

Reading material for specific topics and the slides will be uploaded on the internet-based platform moodle: Moodle Plattform

The platform will be accessible at the start of the lecture (19.2.2019). To access:

  1. Choose "Universität Zürich" from the drop down list.
  2. Log in with your UZH-Account (UZH-Shortname and password).
  3. Search for "International Human Rights FS 2020".
  4. Enroll in the course with the password, which will be communicated in the first lecture.


An exam will take place at the end of the term. More detailed information will be given at the beginning of the course.