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LHRG303 International Humanitarian Law

Unit rationale, description and aim

 Effective human rights practice requires skills in advocacy, diplomacy, both orally and in writing. It requires higher order strategic capability, an understanding of what laws and principles need to be invoked, and when and where to do so and why.

 This subject will introduce students to the real world of human rights advocacy by actually getting them to engage in human rights advocacy. In doing so, this unit aims to provide a link between prior learning in relation to human rights laws and principles and active engagement in advocacy in support of people whose human rights have been violated. Promoting these social justice activities and practices contributes to the common good and the mission of the University, along with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

 This unit is the capstone of the Bachelor of Human Rights and brings together all the knowledge and skills developed by students in the degree and places them in an environment where they will be expected to provide practical (lay) advocacy support to victims of human rights abuses and to organizations that are actively involved in human rights work.

 Students will be involved in work that aims to make a practical difference in the field of human rights, for example, by developing a draft UN communication, conducting research to support a complaint, preparing a report at the request of an NGO, or other similar human rights advocacy initiative. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Analyse factual contexts and apply human rights principles to develop strategiesGC1, GC2, GC6, GC7
LO2Critically evaluate human rights strategies and develop courses of human rights actionGC1, GC2, GC6, GC7
LO3Develop solutions to human rights solutions and activate those solutionsGC1, GC3, GC6, GC8


Topics will include:

1.     Effective human rights advocacy

2.     Case studies of successful campaigns

3.     The work of NGOs and NFPs in Australia

4.     The work of institutions and organisations internationally

5.     Contemporary human rights challenges and work to do

6.     Develop of strategic responses to human rights challenges

7.     Publicity and privacy and human rights work

8.     How to respond to human rights challenges with art and music

9.     New approaches to human rights advocacy

10.  Human rights practice every day

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit comprises 150 hours of study in total. There will be thirty-six hours of face to face instruction, with students working solo and in groups guided by the instructor. It will be taught over a 12 week semester, in three hour workshop blocks with experience instructors and with class size limits to enable students to explore the essential knowledge underpinning Human Rights advocacy. Other study components include on-line webinars, podcasts, readings, discussion forums to facilitate the synthesis of ideas and provide flexibility for students to draw upon the opportunities of face to face social experiences for essential skill development with expert support.

 Our strategy is to encourage students to actively engage with unit content and their peers; to provide a clear link between lecture content and tutorial practicum to develop skills that bridge the gap between theory and practice. Within an integrated learning framework, lectures will provide core content relating to the topics identified above and begin the process of exploration, which will be followed by detailed explanation and further investigation in tutorials. Through direct interaction between students and teachers, students are encouraged to engage in critical analysis of the foundational knowledge they acquire; to test that knowledge by applying it to factual situations; to produce solutions supported by legal authorities and arguments; and to reflect on their learning. Each component is intended to build on knowledge and skills and progressively scaffold student learning.

 The online learning platforms used in this unit provide multiple preparatory and practice opportunities to guide in-class and out-of-class study. Technology assistance in the form of online learning resources, notices, assessment information (including online submission, marking and return of results/feedback), is student focused, affording greater accessibility and flexibility to the learning experience. 

 Students will be assigned a human rights challenge, for example, developing a UN communication or submitting a report for a universal periodic review, and then be invited to engage in a series of assessment tasks advancing the principal human rights objective. Themes will change from time to time based on contemporary human rights challenges. At all times University safety protocols and rules will be complied with.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

 A workshop style instruction method has been adopted because at this stage in their degree, students will have the human rights knowledge to apply, but may need a “guide on the side” to help them resolve questions and challenges associated with practical advocacy tasks.

 The assessment strategy allows the student to develop their knowledge and skills progressively. First, students will be assigned to teams and set a human rights task/challenge, and then students will work in teams to develop a brief 2-3 page strategy document in an approved format outlining a strategy for addressing the human rights challenge, critically evaluating its prospects of success, positives and negatives. This first task enables students to demonstrate their knowledge of Human Rights principles.

 Second, the group/team will review their strategy and then prepare a human rights action, such as communication to a UN treaty body. Further developing their understanding through synthesizing this knowledge and applying their understanding.

 Finally, will present their work to the class by producing an online seminar. Enabling them to actively participate in Human Rights advocacy issues. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Capabilities

After being assigned a human rights challenge, students will work in teams to develop a brief 2-3 page strategy document in an approved format.


LO1GC1, GC2, GC6, GC7

Students will review the strategy and then prepare a human rights action, such as communication to a UN treaty body.


LO1, LO2, LO3GC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC8

Students will present their work to the class by producing an online seminar.


LO1, LO2, LO3GC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC8

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