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Human Rights for Open Societies

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Utrecht University
2-4 hours (per week)
Human Rights
6 Weeks
Equip yourself and learn more about what human rights are and how they work.


Human rights are under pressure in many places across the globe. Peaceful protests are violently quashed. Voting is tampered with. And minorities are often excluded from decision-making. All of this threatens the ideal of an open society in which each of us can be free and participate equally. A solid protection of human rights is needed for an open society to exist and to flourish. But it is often an uphill battle to work towards that ideal. Equip yourself and learn more about what human rights are and how they work.

The University of Utrecht is launching a massive open online course on human rights available through Coursera. Renowned professors of the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights and Institutions for Open Societies of Utrecht University are facilitating this introductionary course with special emphasis on the European Convention on Human Rights. This massive open online course requires a commitment of six weeks with approximately 2 to 3 hours per week. The course will be taught entirely in English and several graded assignments have to be completed in order to pass the course.

In this course participants will learn about one of the world’s most advanced human rights systems: the European Convention on Human Rights and its mechanisms. Participants will learn about the mechanisms that enable people to turn to the European Court of Human Rights to complain about violations and about how the European Court of Human Rights is trying to solve many of the difficult human rights dilemmas we are facing today. The course will investigate several human rights issues related to the right to freedom of expression, the right to vote, and the prohibition of discrimination. Furthermore the course is going to investigate the rights of migrants, refugees and other vulnerable groups in need of protection. The course will also provide information about possible restrictions to these rights. The course is open for everyone with access to the Internet and there is no specific knowledge, education or academic background necessary to take part.

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Human Rights Careers

Human Rights Careers (HRC) provides information about online courses, jobs, paid internships, masters degrees, scholarships and other opportunities in the human rights sector and related areas.