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About HRP

The Human Rights Program explores the theory and practice of human rights, combining academic study with hands-on experience. By addressing both the theoretical and practical underpinning of current human rights debates, the program gives students the tools they need to engage intelligently with contemporary social problems.

Students in the Human Rights Program learn about human rights law, theory and practice, and about how human rights norms and aspirations shape public policy, international relations, and corporate behavior. They study such issues such as freedom of expression, international justice, humanitarian intervention, child labor, and the treatment of refugees. They are introduced to the structure of human rights enforcement mechanisms, assessing the way in which international treaties and multilateral institutions influence the behavior of national governments.

Classes offered by the Human Rights Program are interactive and participatory.  Students discuss contemporary human rights problems and debate how best to resolve them.  They consider questions that range from the practical — e.g., how to prevent children from being recruited to serve as combatants — to the theoretical — e.g., can human rights meaningfully be described as universal and indivisible?

Students are encouraged to bring examples from art, literature, and the media to these discussions. While Human Rights Program courses aim to hone students’ writing and analytic skills, some student projects use audiovisual means of communication.  Artists, film students, bloggers and Twitter addicts are all welcome in the Human Rights Program.

The Human Rights Program offices are located at Roosevelt House, 47-49 East 65th Street.