Poverty and Human Rights – 6879

Fall 2020

This course focuses on how the international human rights legal framework addresses the symptoms and causes of systemic poverty with an emphasis on the practical application of those norms to real-life situations. We will explore what a rights-based approach to poverty eradication means for governments and other development actors and learn how communities and advocates are leveraging human rights law to combat poverty in a variety of contexts.

The class will consider a wide range of topics spanning domestic and global poverty; urban and rural contexts; the gendered dimensions of poverty; environmental justice; privatization of public services; threats to the rights to food, water, education, and housing; collective rights of indigenous peoples and peasants; the situation of human rights defenders; and reparations. 

Students will study primary documents and interact with practitioners working in the U.S. and abroad on litigation, policy advocacy, mobilization, and governance. The coursework consists of simulated advocacy and advisory reports. Students will finish the seminar equipped to bring a working knowledge of the international human rights system to their future roles.