Human Rights Field Study - UN-Geneva



2018 Spring

About This Class

This one-credit field study of a week at the United Nations in Geneva enables students to observe first-hand the work of the U.N. Human Rights Council, and to meet in person with U.N. Special Rapporteurs, NGO advocates, staff attorneys in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, state delegations to the U.N. and, if one or more U.N. human rights treaty bodies are in session at that time, members of those treaty bodies. Through first-hand observation and direct interaction, students deepen their understanding of the U.N. Human Rights Council, and of the roles and activities of the range of stakeholders there, something that can only be fully understood by being on site. Students also gain insights into how advocates make strategic use of the various human rights mechanisms available through the Council. Through meetings with human rights advocates and with other players at the Council sessions, the course also contributes to students’ professional and career development. The week of field study in Geneva will take place in March. Participation in this class may therefore require students to miss a week of classes in March, depending on the Human Rights Council schedule, an initial draft of which is not determined by the U.N. until some time in December. Students will work with Professor Farrior to minimize the impact that their absence may have on their other classes. Students in this course are responsible for making and paying for their own travel and lodging arrangements. Students must schedule their travel to arrive in Geneva the weekend before the field study begins at the U.N. Class sessions and week in the field: This course has three class sessions prior to departure for Geneva and one class session afterward. During their week at the U.N. Human Rights Council, students must undertake the essential activities on the checklist below to gain a deeper understanding of the workings of the Council: • Observe at least one full Interactive Dialogue (“ID”) between a UN special procedure and member states, and observe NGO interventions at that ID; • Attend at least two Side Events on current human rights issues; • Attend at least one High Level Panel or Panel Discussion; • Attend at least two drafting sessions of draft Human Rights Council resolutions; • Participate in at least two meetings Prof. Farrior will arrange for students with a UN Special Rapporteur, UN human rights treaty body member, NGO representative to the UN, or OHCHR staff attorney. In addition, depending on schedules, there may be a visit to the UN office of an NGO, such as Amnesty International, International Commission of Jurists, Quaker UN Office, Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’homme, or International Service for Human Rights. Pre-requisite: INT7424.A International Human Rights Method of evaluation: Participation in each of the designated activities in Geneva (checklist above), participation in the four class sessions, and paper of a minimum of ten double-spaced pages. Graded: Pass-Fail

Class Code



International Law