International Human Rights Law: Prospects and Challenges

“International Human Rights Law: Prospects and Challenges” is an open online course that analyzes the international and domestic laws and institutions that protect the fundamental rights of all human beings. The course also describes and evaluates the principal mechanisms and strategies for holding governments accountable for violating those rights.

Students engage with thought-provoking issues that arise at the intersection of human dignity, state sovereignty, and international justice.  Cutting-edge topics include: genocide and humanitarian intervention, the right to life and capital punishment, the right to health and HIV-AIDS, counterterrorism, and LGBT rights.  Students also learn about the international, regional and national mechanisms for monitoring government conduct and redressing violations of human rights, such as United Nations political and expert bodies, international courts, domestic criminal prosecutions, and truth commissions.


  • Law librarian provided detailed law research video and quiz to equip students to complete course assignments.
  • Included an interview with the director of Duke Law’s new human rights clinic that highlighted the clinic’s accomplishments.
  • Videos and materials were used to flip the on-campus version of the course.
  • With many students being working professionals from other fields, the first run of the course had a higher than usual percentage of students signed up for Signature Track, suggesting a demand for specialized credentialing in international human rights law.

Media & Publications:



  • Law

Project Use:


Launch Date:

  • March 2014