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Course E0610: The European System of Human Rights Protection and Promotion

5 March-15 April 2014 (E061014) | Register for this course (opens in new window)
Instructor: Dr. Gerd Oberleitner

This e-learning course provides participants with practical guidance on how to protect human rights through the European human rights system, and specifically the institutions and treaties of the Council of Europe. Participants will be introduced to the main European human rights conventions and jurisprudence, primarily as developed through the European Court of Human Rights. The course addresses European human rights standards as they apply to civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights.

The course is primarily intended for advanced (under)graduate students of (international) law or social and political sciences; civic education and history teachers; and NGO staff members from Council of Europe member states. Participants should have a good written command of English (the course language is English), have high competence and comfort with computer and Internet use, and have regular access to e-mail and the Internet.

This certificate course involves approximately 30 hours of reading, on-line working groups, interaction among students and instructor, webinars, a written assignment and quizzes, and is offered over a 6-week period. This course will integrate active and participatory learning approaches within activities and assignments, with an emphasis on reflective and collaborative learning. Participants will do the required reading, and participate in group discussions and webinars.

The maximum number of course participants is 25. Students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Participation. It is also possible to audit the course.

Course outline

Week 1. Human rights in Europe: an overview of the Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE
Week 2. The European Convention on Human Rights
Week 3. The European Court of Human Rights
Week 4. The European Social Charter
Week 5. The European Convention on the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Week 6. The Council of Europe Framework Convention on National Minorities

About the instructor

Dr. Gerd Oberleitner is lecturer at the Institute of International Law and International Relations of the University of Graz, Austria, and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). An international lawyer by training, his main research interest is international human rights law. From 1998 to 1999 he served as legal adviser in the human rights department of the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and has in subsequent years joined the Austrian governmental delegation to sessions of the UN Human Rights Commission. From 1999 to 2002 he worked as Executive Secretary of the European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (ETC) in Graz, where he is now member of the Executive Board. From 2002 to 2004 he was Lecturer in Human Rights at the London School of Economics. For more than ten years he has taught international human rights law in various programmes at the LSE, the University of Graz and at various other institutions, including the European human rights master programmes in Sarajevo and Venice. He has been an instructor for HREA e-learning courses since 2003. His latest book is Global Human Rights Institutions: Between Remedy and Ritual (Cambridge, Polity, 2007).

Who should apply

The course is particularly intended for university students, teachers and NGO staff members of human rights/social justice organisations from Council of Europe member states. Participants should have a good written command of English and have high competence and comfort with computer and Internet use. The number of participants is limited to 25 per course. HREA aims to ensure equal gender and geographical distribution across the selected participants.


Tuition fee for participants: US$ 575; tuition for auditors: US$ 215.

Payments can be made online with major credit cards (Discover, MasterCard, Visa), PayPal, and bank and wire transfer. Bulk rates are available.


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