(LAWG-4070) - 3 UNITS

Increasingly, U.S. advocates for civil rights and social justice have started incorporating and understanding the value added of human rights-based strategies. These advocates have invoked international human rights norms in domestic courts, as well as engaged with international and regional mechanisms to address issues typically viewed as domestic problems. Examples of such approaches include: litigation before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to redress U.S. failures to prevent and respond to domestic violence, ongoing efforts to incorporate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights into local law to address homelessness in downtown Los Angeles, and recent Alien Tort Claims Act lawsuits in federal district courts against various architects of torture during the ?war on terror.?

The use of international human rights norms and mechanisms to address domestic issues is particularly important in the current political climate. Students interested in international and/or domestic human rights work should be familiar with the complex interplay between these two spheres.

There is no prerequisite for this course; basic concepts and background information will be reviewed in the first few classes of the semester. Subsequent classes will examine human rights-based strategies and the legal and practical challenges to human rights implementation in the U.S.

Class activities will include interactive discussions, lectures, student presentations, and structured debates on controversial and timely issues.

Grades will be determined by class participation (25%) and a final paper of 5,000 words (75%). For the final paper, each student will examine a contemporary domestic human rights issue of his/her choice and devise creative strategies for addressing this issue using international human rights standards and mechanisms.

Satisfies Writing Requirement