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Published on March 9, 2023
Recent events around the world have brought to the forefront the critical need for individuals to understand and stand up for their human rights. In various parts of the world, we have witnessed countless instances of human rights violations, including acts of violence, discrimination, and oppression, which have caused immense suffering and injustice to millions of people.
In light of these disturbing developments, it is more important than ever to raise awareness about human rights, the international laws governing human rights and the role they play in ensuring that all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.
In this essay, I would like to discuss the importance of international human rights law and highlight some of the ways we can educate ourselves and uphold the rights of people around the world.
International Human Rights Law
International human rights law refers to the body of legal norms, principles, and standards that are recognised and enforced at the international level to protect and promote the fundamental human rights and freedoms of all individuals, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, or other status.
International human rights law is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. The declaration outlines a set of 30 fundamental human rights and freedoms that all individuals are entitled to, such as the right to life, liberty, and security of person; freedom of speech, religion, and assembly; and the right to education, health, and an adequate standard of living.
Let’s explore the exciting ways studying international human rights law can broaden your horizons and empower you to make a positive impact!
Studying international human rights law can be beneficial for high school students in several ways:
Exposure to global issues: Studying human rights law can expose high school students to global issues and different cultures, broadening their understanding of the world and the complexities of the issues that affect people worldwide.
Development of critical thinking skills: Human rights law requires a strong foundation in critical thinking, analysis, and evaluation of evidence. Studying this subject can help high school students develop these skills, which can be valuable for academic and professional success in any field.
Awareness of personal rights: Studying human rights law can raise awareness about personal rights and the importance of respecting the rights of others. This knowledge can help high school students become more informed and responsible global citizens.
Career opportunities: Exposure to human rights law can inspire high school students to pursue careers in law, advocacy, policy-making, or international relations, all of which can provide meaningful opportunities to promote and defend human rights.
Preparation for higher education: Studying international human rights law in high school can help prepare students for further studies in the field, such as a degree in international law, political science, or human rights law.
Want to know some cool ways you can make a difference in international human rights law? Here are a few exciting career paths to consider!
Human Rights Lawyer: Human rights lawyers represent individuals and organisations in cases involving human rights violations. They can work for non-profit organisations, government agencies, or international organisations.
Advocacy and Campaigns: Advocates and campaigners work to raise awareness about human rights issues, mobilise support for campaigns, and lobby governments to improve policies and practices.
Human Rights Officer: Human rights officers work with international organisations or government agencies to monitor, investigate, and report on human rights abuses. They can also work on policy development and implementation related to human rights.
Academic and Researcher: Academics and researchers work in universities or research institutions to produce research and analysis related to human rights issues. They may also teach courses in international law, human rights law, or other related subjects.
Humanitarian Worker: Humanitarian workers provide aid and assistance to individuals affected by conflict, natural disasters, or other crises. They can work with non-profit organizations, government agencies, or international organizations.
Diplomat: Diplomats work for government agencies and embassies to promote and protect human rights in diplomatic relations with other countries.
International Criminal Law: International criminal lawyers prosecute individuals responsible for war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, and other international crimes.
Gender and Human Rights Specialist: These professionals work to promote and protect the human rights of women and other marginalised gender groups, by designing and implementing programs, policies, and advocacy campaigns.
Human Rights Investigator: Human rights investigators work to gather evidence and investigate allegations of human rights abuses. They can work for non-profit organisations, international organisations, or government agencies.
Human Rights Educator: Human rights educators design and implement educational programs and resources to raise awareness and understanding of human rights issues, particularly among youth and marginalized communities.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Specialist: CSR specialists work with corporations and businesses to develop policies and practices that respect and protect human rights, particularly in the areas of labor rights and environmental protection.
International Development Worker: International development workers design and implement development projects in collaboration with local communities, with the aim of promoting social and economic justice, and protecting human rights.
Human Rights Journalist: Human rights journalists report on human rights abuses, document violations, and raise awareness about human rights issues through their reporting.
Best Programs to study International Human Rights Law
- University of Oxford – Faculty of Law
- The London School of Economics
- University of Notre Dame Law School
- Columbia Law School