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United Nations Human Rights Practice Micro-credential


Subject Area Law
Credits 10
Start Date January 2024
Duration 12 weeks
Time Friday 9:00 - 10:50 (Subject to change.) 
Mode of Delivery Hybrid
Lead Academic Assoc. Prof. Suzanne Egan
Fee €1430
Application Deadline TBC

This micro-credential aims to train learners to engage in a practical way with the procedures of United Nations human rights bodies frequently used by lawyers, civil society actors, and national human rights institutions as advocacy tools. The course will consist of a critical exploration of the UN’s international human rights architecture, focusing on the practice and procedure of the human rights treaty bodies, special rapporteurs and the Human Rights Council. 

Learners will critically reflect on key challenges facing those systems in securing effective protection of human rights. This micro-credential utilises active learning methods, enabling learners to develop their knowledge by working together in small groups on practical activities related to the UN human rights procedures.

This micro-credential has both online and on-campus attendance options, depending on the learner’s circumstances and requirements.

Key Features

This micro-credential will be of particular interest to those looking to develop the knowledge and skills required to engage effectively with the wide range of human rights procedures that operate at the United Nations for promoting and protecting human rights. This includes people working for non-governmental organisations, charities, national human rights institutions, government bodies and state agencies in the human rights field.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this micro-credential, learners will be able to:

  • Demonstrate detailed knowledge of the normative evolution and substance of the UN international human rights framework.
  • Critically engage with the practice and procedure of the core UN human rights institutions i.e., the UN human rights treaty bodies as well as the system of special rapporteurs and universal periodic review of the UN Human Rights Council.
  • Have a good understanding of the interpenetration and interaction between the international human rights system and domestic human rights law and institutions.
  • Critically evaluate the operation and effectiveness of UN human rights procedures as legal and policy tools.
  • Be able to demonstrate interpersonal skills and competence in teamwork and interpersonal communication.

  • The Normative Evolution of the International Human Rights Framework
  • The UN Human Rights Regime
  • Participants in the Regime
  • UN Human Rights Treaty-Based State Reporting Procedures
  • UN Treaty-Based Inquiry and Investigative Procedures
  • UN Treaty-based Individual Complaint Procedures
  • Reform of the UN Human Rights Treaty System
  • The UN Human Rights Council and Universal Periodic Review
  • The System of UN Special Procedures
  • The Effectiveness of the UN Human Rights System in Practice

UN human rights procedures are essential tools that can be used by lawyers, civil society actors, and national human rights institutions to seek accountability for human rights violations at the international level. Government bodies are also required to account regularly to UN human rights bodies under these procedures on their progress in implementing human rights in their jurisdiction. This micro-credential comprises a practical, in-depth examination of the operation of these various procedures, including the practice and procedure of the UN Human Rights Treaty System and the UN Human Rights Council.A key benefit of this module will be that learners will be guided through the practical steps necessary to interface with these procedures in order to engage on human rights issues or claims at the international level. The module will also encourage students to reflect critically on the key challenges facing the procedures in ensuring effective protection of human rights.

This micro-credential is taught by a leading expert in the field of International Human Rights Law with extensive knowledge and experience of working with UN human rights procedures.

This is an experiential learning micro-credential in that it aims for learners to discover the potential as well as the limitations of the UN human rights system for addressing human rights issues on the ground. It will take a constructivist pedagogical approach whereby learners will be encouraged to learn by means of in-class activities; reflective learning; and task-based learning. The teaching activities can be engaged with on campus at UCD (face to face) or remotely (online), depending on the learner’s circumstances and requirements.

A repository of resources will be available to support your learning, and as a UCD student you will have full access to the library. 

This is a 10 ECTS micro-credential and involves approximately 200 hours of learner effort.

Applicants must hold a degree in law or another relevant discipline, including the social and natural sciences. An upper second-class honours Level 8 degree (GPA 3.08), or international equivalent is required.

Applications will also be accepted from those with significant, relevant, practical experience or those with a graduate qualification relevant to the micro-credential.

Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate proof of English proficiency as per UCD's minimum English language requirements.

All applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

  • Individual Self-reflection via Learning Journal (300 words) – 70%

  • Group project – 30%

  • Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
  • Group/class feedback, post-assessment
  • Peer review activities

This micro-credential is also a module on the UCD Sutherland School of Law’s LLM International Human Rights.

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