Cancelled Health and Human Rights

Course content

This course has two aims: to analyse states’ obligations under the right to health and teach students how to evaluate public health interventions through a human rights lens. The course centres on the right to health as protected under human rights law. It touches upon broad areas of human rights law both at international, regional and national level, including the right to food, education and information, freedom of speech and the right to privacy. The course also draws on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): SDG 3 “good health and wellbeing”, as well as other goals that are closely related to the right to health.


The first part of the course provides the students with comprehensive knowledge and competences in general health and human rights, social determinants of health, equality in health, access to justice (Regional Courts, UN monitoring committees), the relation between human rights, patients’ rights and public health law. The second part of the course evaluates specific health interventions from a human rights perspective, including issues related to vulnerable groups (children, elderly persons, persons with disability), chronic diseases, reproductive rights, end-of-life- decisions, big data and artificial intelligence, genetics, epidemics and pandemics, and mandatory vaccines. Two workshops will prepare the students to write the independent assignment for the exam.


The course builds on the mandatory BA-courses in international law and human rights. It relates, furthermore, to the elective BA-courses Health law, and EU data protection law. Basic knowledge of international human rights law (e.g. from International Human Rights Law, or Health Law) is an advantage, but not a necessity.

Learning outcome

Knowledge: Students can

  • describe and explain how the right to health and related human rights are protected in international, regional and national law
  • describe and explain the character and functioning of the international and regional human rights mechanisms and their importance for access to justice
  • describe and explain the special status of vulnerable persons in health and human rights law
  • describe and explain a human rights based approach to health



  • Identify and explain the relation between health and human rights law and the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Make a comparative analysis of particular health and human rights topics
  • Make an assessment of the compliance of national law with human rights law
  • Critically reflect upon how global, regional and national enforcement mechanisms address various health and human rights-related topics
  • Identify and critically discuss the distinction between soft and hard law in international and regional human rights law
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses in the relation between public health law and health and human rights law



  • Make a thorough analysis of complex issues in international, regional and national human rights law
  • Give advice on how to improve compliance with international and regional human rights law

The course requires active engagement from the students. The students will have to complete some assignments before every class,(e.g. reading a judgment, making a country analyses, preparing a case) which will be used actively as a bases for a group work or a general discussion. Every class will include (at least one) group work and several general discussions and exercises. This interactive part will include both peer- and teacher feedback.
After the first 6 weeks the students are encouraged to write a (voluntary) abstract on one of the topics explored in the first part of the course, and they will receive individual written feedback from the teacher.
To prepare for the exam paper there will be a workshop where the students will present and discuss their topic and work on a research question in groups (with feedback from both peers and the teacher).

Brigit Toebes (ed:), "Health and Human Rights in Europe", Intersentia 2012 Supplementary material provided in Absalon

In total 750 pages

Basic knowledge of international human rights law is recommendable but not a pre-condition to follow the course

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

During the course we will use several forms of feedback (written/oral, individual/collective, , feedback from peers and from the teacher.

Type of assessment
Written examination
Individual written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 356,5
  • Seminar
  • 56
  • English
  • 412,5