Human Rights Courses

Human Rights Courses

Fall 2020 

PBHLTH 211 001 - LEC 001, T/Th 2:10 - 3:25
Health and Human Rights (Eric Stover, Rohini Haar): The course examines the origins of health and human rights concerns and outlines a conceptual basis for human rights among health professionals. It provides an overview of the epidemiology of human rights violations worldwide and an analysis of the psychology of abuse. The course considers the role of health professionals in (1) documenting the health and social consequences of human rights violations and war; (2) treating survivors of abuse; (3) addressing specific human rights concerns of women and children; (4) identifying the impact of health policy on human rights; and (5) participating in human rights education and advocacy. The course will also examine issues of universality of human rights and cultural relativism and the role of accountability for the past abuses in prevention.

LEGALST 125 001 - LEC 001, T/TH 11 - 12:29
Human Rights and War Crimes Investigations: Methods (Alexa Koenig): This seminar offers an introduction to the concept and practice of human rights research and investigations, with an emphasis on the collection and analysis of online open source information. In addition to lectures and readings, the course will engage students in the Human Rights Investigations Lab at Berkeley Law’s Human Rights Center, an effort that supports the work of Amnesty International, the Syrian Archive, and a number of other organizations that are working to bring awareness to and collect evidence in support of international atrocity cases, including human rights law firms and international commissions of inquiry. In the seminar and lab, students will have an opportunity to engage in one or more real-world investigations.

Berkeley Law, 262.68 sec. 001, Th 3:35 PM - 5:25 PM
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 the Investigations Lab at Berkeley Law’s Human Rights Center, a program that 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 advocacy organizations (such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch). 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. 

Berkeley Law, 262.67 sec. 001, Tu 3:35 PM - 5:25 PM
Human Rights Investigations in the Digital Age (Alexa Koenig): This class will introduce 1L students to the practice of digital open-source investigations: investigations that use social media and other publicly-available, internet-based sources to develop evidence for human rights advocacy and legal accountability. Students will learn the background information needed to effectively and ethically collect and authenticate information on war crimes, grave international crimes, and human rights abuses from digital sources. The course will be led by the Human Rights Center's executive director, Alexa Koeng.

Business and Labor Rights in Global Supply Chains (Saxena): The complex world of global supply chains, linking thousands of factories across multiple cultural and political boundaries, has provided countries in the global South with investment, employment, technology and access to markets. At the same time, however, workers in many of these factories often toil for long hours for minimal pay in difficult conditions that affect their mental and physical health, and in some cases, even cost lives. The dispersion of production across multiple countries has created new sites of production, which have escaped the regulatory framework of governments in the global North. And governments in the global South also often lack the capacity to fully regulate factories on various standards. This has resulted in many factories falling into a “regulatory void” where decent working conditions are not being upheld and labor rights have deteriorated. In addition, the very nature of this business model across boundaries often results in a “hands off” approach to labor issues due to a lack of knowledge and information about the reality on the ground. Many private initiatives to address these issues have been tried and tested, some with limited success. This class will help students to understand the difficulty of ensuring good labor rights in very complex settings.


Spring 2021

MBA 292T.3,
Managing Human Rights in Business (Faris Natour; McElrath): 
Imagine where you will be after you graduate from Berkeley Haas. You may run a start-up clothing label sourcing garments from factories in Bangladesh, or be part of the procurement team for an electronics manufacturer or a high-end jeweler that source minerals from Africa. How do you ensure that the clothes are made and the minerals extracted under ethical working conditions and by companies that are legal entities? Alternatively, you may work for a social media platform and when a major customer offers to buy user data you have to determine the implications for your user’s privacy and other critical human rights; you may work for a biotechnology company that has developed a life-saving cancer drug but the R&D costs place the price of the drug out of reach for many who urgently need it; you may be the marketing manager of a major brand facing calls to end a promotional partnership with FIFA as well as threats of boycotts if you do in fact end the partnership. What should you do? What can you do? What is the sustainable business case for the various options? Today, business leaders face these and other human rights dilemmas on a daily basis. Through cases, interactive exercises, class debates, and guest lectures from experts, we will put you in the shoes of a fast-growing community of business managers whose job it is to make sure that their companies and business partners do not violate human rights. Applying over 20 years of consulting experience, we will provide you with the knowledge, skills, and tools to identify and address a company’s human rights risks and to leverage the power of business to advance respect for human rights around the world.  


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.