Human Rights Law in a changing world

General Presentation

Overview of the program

The aim of this English-taught program is to provide students from all over the world access to a high-level education in Human Rights Law. Human Rights is an essential component of a vibrant democratic regime. Despite a very strong support and development post WWII, Human Rights are now facing a backlash in different parts of the world. Disputed in their theoretical basis, their implementation is in danger because of various regressive movements, from the “Rule of Law backsliding” to war, to name only a few of the contemporary challenges Human Rights are facing in a changing world. In addition, Human Rights Law is an evolving subject, which encounters new challenges due to the evolution of our societies: climate change and a degrading environment, new technologies bringing positive developments but also threats, etc.

The purpose of this program is to build on the excellence of Human Rights education in Strasbourg University, and the institutional environment of the city, to provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills to become high-level Human Rights Law experts, so as to contribute to the defence, implementation and furtherance of Human Rights in their country and on the international stage.

The program naturally fits into the European environment of the University of Strasbourg, characterized by the presence of European institutions, emblematic of the protection of human rights and democracy: the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, the Venice Commission and the European Parliament.

The program is part of semester 3 and 4 of the Master Droit des Libertés.
Semester 3 (september-december) is dedicated to on-site courses.
Semester 4 (January-September) is dedicated to a long-term internship (4 months minimum; internships may take place until the 30th of September) or to writing a thesis (defended before a jury in early July).
For 2023-2024, recruitment will take place at the Master 2 level by application on the e-candidat platform

Intended learning outcomes

The Program intends to train lawyers in the field of human rights, and develop awareness as to the many challenges arising in this field at National, European and International level. It will offer students an opportunity to acquire advanced legal knowledge and skills to understand and analyze these challenges.
The program is both practical and theoretical and leads, depending on the project of the student, to the delivery of a master's degree with a professional (internship) or research aspect (thesis). Courses are taught by both academics and practitioners (judges or members of the registry of the European Court of Human Rights, experts from the Council Europe, lawyers specialized in Human Rights, etc.).

Knowledge

After having completed the program, students will have acquired advanced knowledge about:

  • The interplay between the defence of Human Rights and the defence of the Rule of Law and Democracy
  • The legal framework related to various contemporary issues affecting Human Rights (migration, environment, poverty, new technologies…)
  • The roles and actions played by European and International actors in the promotion and protection of Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Democracy
  • The importance of interdependence between the various categories of Human Rights

Skills

After having completed the program, students will be able to:

  • Search and identify primary sources in different legal systems and academic literature about the various topics covered during the classes, and prioritize information.
  • Critically appraise the material, in particular students will be able to analyze and assess the case law of the Regional Human Rights Courts, the UN Committees, the Court of Justice of the European Union…
  • Apprehend the challenges of Human Rights Law implementation in the modern world.
  • Manage the administrative and legal aspects of litigation in the field of International and European Human Rights Law
  • Present complex arguments orally and in writing and participate in legal discussion about Human Rights in a constructive and critical way
  • Improve autonomy in work, apply knowledge and problem-solving skills in the relevant areas
  • Demonstrate open-mindedness and team spirit essential for an international career in the field of Human Rights.

Research center

The Master 2 program is hosted by the Research Institute Carré de Malberg (UR 3399). Students benefit from the Law Research Library resources for the preparation of the seminars and assessments, and from the various activities organised by the research center (conferences, seminars…).

Contact:

Peggy Ducoulombier
ducoulombier@unistra.fr

Entry requirements

In order to access the Master 2 degree program, students must have a diploma in Law (or political sciences with a good training in Law) equivalent to 4 years of studies in a Higher education institution.

For students coming from the French Higher Education system, recommended masters are Droit des Libertés, Droit international, Droit européen.

Students must demonstrate that they have solid basic knowledge in International and European Human Rights Law.

Students must demonstrate excellent grades, in particular in Fundamental Freedoms and Human Rights, International Public Law, European Law, or similar courses.

Proficiency (B2/C1) in English is a pre-requisite as courses and assessments take place in English (proof of level by certification or other means demonstrating the required level).

A second language class must be followed during semester 3. For French, German or Spanish Language, courses are delivered within the Law Faculty for non-beginners (minimum B1 level, it is not possible for a native speaker to follow a class in his/her native language).

For students who cannot follow French, German or Spanish classes or who would like to learn another language, it is possible to follow language courses at the LANSAD department.

langues.unistra.fr/formation/ue-de-langues-ue4

Passive knowledge of French is a plus in order to enjoy life in Strasbourg. It is also possible to self-train in French at the Lansad.

lansad.unistra.fr/formations/etudiants/