Can the concept of human rights be applied across borders or are rights culturally specific? Is it realistic, or even desirable, to aim at an international system based on universal principles of justice? This free course, Rights and justice in international relations, takes a critical view of the assumption that 'rights are a good thing' and looks at the problems that arise when they are applied in the international arena.
Course learning outcomes
After studying this course, you should be able to:
understand the different interpretations of internationally recognised notions of rights and justice
give examples of implementing justice in an international sphere
investigate questions in international studies
analyse the different agencies of change in the international system.
I found the course very useful in examining international human rights and international relations from different perspectives.
I feel helpess nevertheless, when a country can claim sovereignty while another can be occupied brcause self-deterrmination is opposed, thus human rights breaches happen on a daily, hourly basis.
It is useful to try to understand international relations within a human rights context, and, as has been indicated there are positive examples of 'justice' being exacted eg at the ICC. Nevertheless if countries can (a) claim to be sovereign and (b) act independently within that claimed, and then established sovereignty its difficult to see how there can be a univesal response to breaches of human rights.
I think the Nuremberg trials following The Holocaust, which first brought the terms genocide and crimes against humanity to international notice helped to fix a wider notion of global interrnational human rights. There are nevertheless, so many ways in which states can avoid intervention with mere censure.
I think political power and where it lies determines how international law is applied or ignored.
Great to be studying again on the OU