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Online Certificate Course on International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

June 21 @ 8:00 am - July 20 @ 5:00 pm


Course Description:
International humanitarian law (IHL), also referred to as the Law of Armed Conflict aims at protecting the fundamental human rights of victims and non-combatants in the event of armed conflict or war. The complexities of modern-day conflicts combined with the availability of information and media interest have resulted in a higher profile of difficult humanitarian issues. A full understanding of the role and importance of human rights requires an appreciation of their special role in armed conflicts, as well as the particular threats posed to human rights during such conflicts. This course will meet that requirement.

This intensive one month course in international human rights and humanitarian law is open to social workers, human rights and humanitarian practitioners who wish to become acquainted with the legal framework applicable to armed conflict. Combining theory and practice, the course follows a methodology involving exercises, simulations and discussions based on the actual challenges that advocates and humanitarian workers face today. Further, it provides an advanced conceptual understanding of these issues. It also offers practical insights and exposure to current challenges and situations of transitional justice.

Course Objectives:
By the end of this course, participants should able to:

  • Acquire an understanding of the principles and institutions of international human rights and humanitarian law, including their origins, assumptions, contents, limits and potential;
  • Display a knowledge and understanding of the main sources of international humanitarian law and how they apply in international and non-international armed conflicts.
  • Identify and critically evaluate the main weaknesses of international humanitarian law in the protection of human rights during armed conflicts.
  • Understand the practical impact of international human rights and humanitarian law in conflict-affected states and jurisdictions.
  • Understand the roles, functions and responsibilities of various actors, organizations, and institutions in international human rights and humanitarian laws.

Course Structure/Modules:
This one month part-time course comprises eight (8) modules. The module outline is included below:

PRE – Training

  • Introductory Course in the Online Training System
  • Course navigation and guide
  • Explanation of course resources

Module 1: Introduction to Sources of International Law

  • Introduction
  • Treaties
  • Custom
  • General principles of law
  • Judicial decisions
  • Pre-emptory norms of general international law (Jus Cogens)
  • Non-binding standards (soft law)
  • Assignment

Module 2: Development and Scope of International Human Rights Law

  • Introduction
  • Development of international human rights law
  • The scope of international human rights Law
  • International human rights instruments
  • Customary international law
  • Enforcement and monitoring mechanism
  • Treaty bodies and UN charter-based bodies
  • Regional mechanism for human rights protection
  • Domestic enforcement of human rights
  • Limitations on the human rights treaty obligation of states
  • Assignment

Module 3: The Concept and Development of International Humanitarian Law (IHL)

  • Introduction
  • Definition of international humanitarian law (IHL)
  • Origin and development of international humanitarian law
  • Role of custom in the development of IHL
  • The standing of IHL within public international Law
  • The sources of IHL
  • The application of IHL
  • The basic rules of IHL
  • Types and purpose of IHL
  • Assignment

Module 4: Protecting Fundamental Human Rights in Armed Conflicts

  • Introduction
  • Protecting fundamental human rights in armed conflicts
  • The right to life
  • The right to personal liberty
  • The right to dignity of human person
  • The right to fair trial
  • The right to freedom of religion
  • Assignment

Module 5: Protection of Human Rights of Women in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

  • Introduction
  • Relation of human rights law and international humanitarian law
  • Protection of human rights of women in international human rights law
  • Human rights of women in the administration of criminal justice
  • Protection of women’s rights in international humanitarian law
  • Assignment

Module 6: Protection of the Rights of Refugees & Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

  • Introduction
  • Definitions – Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons
  • Protection and treatment of refugees and IDPs in human rights law
  • Protection and treatment of refugees and IDPs in international humanitarian law
  • Responsibilities of law enforcement agents
  • Assignment

Module 7: Implementation of International Humanitarian Law: The Role of States and ICRC

  • Introduction
  • An overview of national measures of implementation
  • Legal and practical measures for the prevention and control of IHL violations
  • Promotion of international humanitarian law treaties
  • Implementation of IHL by selected states
  • The role of ICRC in the promotion and monitoring of implementation of IHL
  • Role and mandate of the ICRC
  • Assignment

Module 8: The Principles of Humanitarian Action in International Humanitarian Law

  • Introduction
  • Relevance of international law to relief agencies
  • The letter of law vs the spirit of the convention
  • The three major principles of humanitarian action
  • Conditionality and consent in humanitarian action
  • Assignment

Final Examination and Wrap-up

  • Final examination

Target Audience:
It is open to professionals – diplomats, lawyers, legal advisers, judges, NGO staff, human rights advocates, social workers, media specialists, professionals working in emergency situations, humanitarian donor agencies, UN staff and staff from other international organizations –who want to deepen their expertise in this specific issue. A legal background is not required.

Technical Requirements:
This course is delivered fully online. You will be required to have access to a computer or web-capable mobile device and have consistent access to the internet to either view or download the necessary course resources and to attempt any graded course assessments and the final exam.

Course Delivery:
Interaction with students will be via the Global Human Rights Leadership Training Institute training platform and all course notes and guidelines for study will be delivered and accessible to students in electronic format. (

All the course modules are available to the students at the inception of the course. At the end of each module, an assignment is completed by the students and marked by the course experts. Assignments are in the form of written assignments.

Participants must have good working knowledge of English. All working sessions will be conducted in English. The participants will be provided with reading materials on all modules included in the course.

Award of the Certificates:
Statistics from previous courses showed that submission of assignments and receiving online tutoring help participants to integrate gender in their various activities. Certificates can be awarded only to those students who:

  • Completed all assignments and Final Exam
  • Obtain a combined final mark of 50% or more for the assignments and Final Exam

Successful students will receive the GHRLTI Certification in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.

Course Fees/Funding:
The course tuition fee is US$300. Course fees include access to all course materials, expert support, as well as postage and packaging of a certificate. There is a limited amount of partial scholarships available for applicants from developing countries, based on financial need.

All required course resources linked throughout the course, including web pages, activities, etc. are accessible for no charge. This course also contains a free final exam and course completion certificate.

Please note it is important that all course fees are paid when due.  Reminders will normally be issued but it is the obligation of each applicant ensure timely payment of fees.

Location: Online [web-based]

Time Commitment
While learning styles can vary considerably and any particular student will take more or less time to learn or read, we estimate that the “average” student will take 60 hours to complete this course. We recommend that you work through the course at a pace that is comfortable for you and allows you to make regular (daily, or at least weekly) progress. It’s a good idea to also schedule your study time in advance and try as best as you can to stick to that schedule.

Application Procedure
The deadline for application is 19th June 2018. While full tuition payment is due on 20th June 2018. However, applications will be accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered. You can also download application form at Participants are strongly urged to send their applications by email.

Inquiries about the course may be sent to: OR



June 21 @ 8:00 am
July 20 @ 5:00 pm
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