Utrecht University
Human Rights for Open Societies
Utrecht University

Human Rights for Open Societies

Taught in English

Some content may not be translated

45,123 already enrolled

Course

Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Janneke Gerards
Antoine Buyse
Matilda Rados

Instructors: Janneke Gerards

4.8

(495 reviews)

Beginner level
No prior experience required
14 hours to complete
3 weeks at 4 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

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Assessments

16 quizzes

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There are 6 modules in this course

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.

What's included

3 videos6 readings4 quizzes

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.

What's included

5 videos2 readings5 quizzes

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.

What's included

3 videos2 readings2 quizzes1 peer review

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.

What's included

4 videos2 readings2 quizzes1 peer review

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.

What's included

3 videos2 readings2 quizzes

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.

What's included

1 reading1 quiz1 peer review

Instructors

Instructor ratings
4.8 (92 ratings)
Janneke Gerards
Utrecht University
2 Courses45,842 learners
Antoine Buyse
Utrecht University
2 Courses45,842 learners
Matilda Rados
Utrecht University
2 Courses45,842 learners

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