Human Rights Courses

Human Rights Courses: Fall 2023

Health and Human Rights (Eric Stover, Rohini Haar)

This course will explore how international human rights and humanitarian laws and norms impact public health, both in times of peace and in conflict. We will examine a wide range of topics including the role of health and legal professionals in documenting the health consequences of war crimes and human rights abuses; treating survivors of torture and sexual violence; addressing the special health and human rights concerns of vulnerable groups, including children, human trafficking survivors, and prisoners; and resolving conflicts between civil liberties and public health policies during epidemics. We will also examine the role of international humanitarian organizations in armed conflict, and health and human rights impacts of climate change and COVID-19 related human rights policies. The course is offered through the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and School of Law.

Human Rights and War Crimes Investigations (Alexa Koenig, Eric Stover)

This seminar introduces the concepts and practices underlying human rights and war crimes investigations, including online open source investigations: investigations that use social media and other publicly accessible, internet-based sources to gather and verify evidence for advocacy and legal accountability. In addition to lectures and readings, the course will introduce students to investigations and research at Berkeley Law’s Human Rights Center, which provides students with an opportunity to engage in real-world investigations with a number of organizations that are working to bring awareness to grave international crimes and other human rights abuses. Partners include legal investigators, investigative reporters, and human rights non-profit organizations. In the course, students will learn the fundamentals of conducting international investigations, including how to collect and authenticate documentary information--including digital evidence--of war crimes and human rights abuses. The course is offered through the School of Law.

Technology & Human Rights (Betsy Popken)

This course explores the interplay of human rights and technologies. How do different technologies positively and negatively impact human rights, and what can be done to minimize risk of harm? We will focus in on certain rights, like freedom of expression and right to privacy, on specific technologies like generative AI and the metaverse, and on how to responsibly innovate with human rights at the fore. We will also discuss how to mitigate negative human rights impacts through human rights policies, due diligence, and remediation, using the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and international human rights law as our north star. We will explore the role of regulations, independent oversight bodies, and multistakeholder initiatives. Students will have an opportunity to draft a mock human rights policy for a technology company and receive feedback from the instructor and peers. Importantly, students will learn first-hand from human rights practitioners at technology companies, non-profit organizations, and multi-stakeholder initiatives about their most difficult challenges to upholding human rights. The course is offered through the School of Law.

Open Source Investigations and Investigative Journalism (David Barstow, Alexa Koenig, Gisela Pérez de Acha) 

This class will be two part: a seminar focusing on a particular story in collaboration with a major media outlet, and a lab portion focusing on using cutting edge open source investigative techniques, pioneered by Berkeley’s Human Rights Center, with investigative reporting and multimedia skills. This course will be co-taught by representatives from the Human Rights Center and the Investigative Reporting program, with the objective of producing high-quality OSINT Investigations. The course is offered through the Graduate School of Journalism and the School of Law.

Human Rights Minor (Undergraduate)

This is a program under the newly developed Global Studies Program. Helping undergraduates explore issues via multiple forms of thought and media of expression—through literature as well as politics, journalism as well as law, film as well as anthropology—the HRI minor emphasizes the many different intellectual spaces in which human rights questions are currently being posed. For more, click here.

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Human Rights Investigations Lab