| Human Rights Law

Course Information

  • 2022-23
  • 5-Year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.)
  • IV
  • Mar 2023
  • Core Course

Human rights, that was launched as a Declaration in the United Nations about 70 years, today has become a universal normative system of global governance. Its realization confounds governments, societies and individuals equally. The course focusses mainly on the United Nations system of human rights as this is arguably the most ‘universal’ in its application and hence, has evolved into a global grammar of governance. The aim of this course is to familiarise and enable students to critically engage with the design and structure of the international human rights system, its implications for India and the Global South, and to think about the potentialities of the human rights discourse to address the challenges of the present.

The aim of the course is to critically understand the theoretical foundation of human rights discourse, its implications as a system of global governance, and the challenges it faces today. Hence, the initial part of the course discusses the history and theoretical foundations of HR, followed by the discussion on its evolution within the UN system and later engages with some important critiques of HR as a universal governance regime.

HRL is a mandatory, standalone course taught in the IV year. Teaching will involve a combination of lectures and Socratic discussions. Students will be given reading material for the classes and will be instructed at the end of each lecture, the reading requirements for the next class. The course relies on primary and secondary materials.


  • To familiarise students with the political history of human rights within the United Nations framework.
  • To develop an understanding of the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights encapsulated in international bill of human rights by studying the UNDR, ICCPR and ICESCR.
  • To gain a basic understanding of the monitoring and implementation mechanisms of human rights.
  • To critically engage with the UN human rights framework and its implications for governance, culture and individual freedoms, with a focus on India.
  • To appreciate the concept of intersectionality by examining the interrelation of rights-based treaties such as the CEDAW, CRC, CRPD, and CERD and their capability to effect change for those most marginalized.
  • To explore the emerging field of technology and artificial intelligence and evaluate the adequacy of the human rights framework to address emerging issues.


Rashmi Venkatesan

Assistant Professor of Law