Human Rights Clinic

The details
Human Rights Centre
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
16 September 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module is concerned with the practice of human rights, and is linked to the Human Rights Centre Clinic. It will develop students' ability to critically evaluate - and effectively engage with - some of the principal forums available to human rights practitioners, as well as providing students with the skill set necessary to work as human rights professionals.

The module focuses on human rights advocacy. It begins by looking at how theory and practice of human rights interact, from a critical standpoint. We will examine how major critiques of human rights discourse affect the way in which we transform theory into practice. We then go on to look at domestic and international strategies for making use of international human rights law. The module then turns to examining specific advocacy routes, including making use of the UN Human Rights Council, Special Procedures and Treaty Monitoring Bodies. Specific advocacy tools are then examined, including evidence gathering (interviewing skills and documentation preservation), strategic litigation and assessing the impact of advocacy projects. The module finishes by bringing together all the material studied during the term to look at how we formulate advocacy strategies.

Module aims

This module aims to prepare students for advocacy in the field of human rights. It examines the nature of human rights discourse and it tackles the major critiques to that body of theory from several different angles. The module then presents students with several different avenues for domestic and international advocacy with a focus on developing the ability to strategise to address diverse human rights issues; across the spring term students will be presented with case studies of successful and unsuccessful advocacy. Finally, students will also learn how to deploy several different advocacy skills, such as interviewing, measuring impact and learning how to navigate international protection mechanisms. Some sessions will also be dedicated to workplace skills and employability advice.

Module learning outcomes

(i) Students will gain an understanding of the political and theoretical basis of human rights law; (ii) Students will learn about and address the major critiques to human rights law and discourse; (iii) Students are encouraged to overcome the un-nuanced understanding of human rights discourse as untainted and acknowledge its weak points in order to improve human rights advocacy; (iv) Students will develop analytical and critical skills and the ability to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of advocacy strategies; (v) Students will learn how to construct concrete and context-specific advocacy strategies; (vi) students will learn specific advocacy skills that will assist them in their future fieldwork and increase their prospects of employability.

Module information

The module is open only to students who have been admitted to the Human Rights Centre Clinic. Please refer to the HRC Clinic page to find out how to apply by going onto this link:

HU902 runs in parallel to the Human Rights Centre Clinic and all students working on the Clinic must enrol in HU902. No other students may enrol.

While HU902 is primarily a Spring Term module, three two-hour lectures will be held in the Autumn term, in weeks 6, 8 and 10. These sessions are scheduled to coincide with the start of Clinic work (in November) and are aimed at facilitating practical work by focusing on group work and research as well as oral and writing skills.

During the Spring Term there will be one two-hour lecture and one one-hour lecture per week.

Learning and teaching methods

This module begins with three two-hour lectures in the autumn term, in weeks 6, 8 and 10. In the spring term the module is taught over one two-hour lecture and one one-hour lecture. All lectures are mandatory and active participation is expected from students.


This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non-essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Summative Essay    80% 
Practical   Professionalism    20% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Patricia Palacios Zuloaga, email:
Dr Patricia Palacios Zuloaga, Dr Ahmed Shaheed & Judith Bueno de Mesquita



External examiner

Dr Thomas Pegram
University College London
Associate Professor
Available via Moodle
Of 33 hours, 33 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Human Rights Centre

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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