The protection of human rights at the international level is a relatively new branch of law. Since World War Two there has been a huge growth in the number and variety of human rights standards set out in international treaties and in other so-called 'soft law' documents. These standards are not always fully implemented and the international mechanisms for trying to get them implemented are defective.
This LLM provides students with an opportunity to gain an in-depth appreciation of what has gone right or wrong and to suggest ways in which human rights could be protected more effectively so that human beings everywhere can realise their full potential.
The School has more than 25 years' experience in delivering an LLM in Human Rights Law and has constantly reviewed and revised what it offers as part of this degree, changing content to reflect the human rights issues that are currently most prominent.
The focus is on international human rights law (including at regional levels in Europe, Africa and the Americas) with a concentration on the practice of human rights, especially in the contexts of discrimination, armed conflicts, terrorism and migration. The School's joint expertise is harnessed so as to provide a vibrant and relevant course which will stimulate the hearts as well as the minds of students who are taking it.
Human rights research and teaching has been carried out under the auspices of the Human Rights Centre at Queen's since 1990. The Centre has strong links with civil society organisations, statutory human rights bodies and international human rights institutions and networks, and organises a speaker series and a number of conferences annually.
It participates in the Utrecht Network of Human Rights Centres and the Venice-based Masters in Human Rights and Democratisation and also has links with universities worldwide. The Centre co-ordinates field visits to institutions dedicated to human rights issues in Belfast, eg NI Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. During the summer, the Centre organises a field trip to human rights institutions abroad, eg the European Court of Human Rights and the UN (Geneva).
The Centre has strong contacts with local NGOs and other human rights institutions and can assist students with internship/voluntary work.