This module focuses on the rights of indigenous peoples, with special reference to their human rights. The candidates will examine the background of indigenous peoples, focusing on definitions and key characteristics. The course specifically discusses indigenous peoples rights as a collective/group right. It also covers the key rights of indigenous peoples, including indigenous peoples property rights, cultural rights and political rights. Additionally, the protection of indigenous peoples rights and state responsibility will be discussed through relevant human rights instruments, and significant case studies at the international and regional level.

This course will focus on three main parts; namely, the Right to Information, the Right to Development and Sustainable Development.

Under the Right to Information (RTI), this module will discuss the origin and nature of RTI while highlighting international standards, Sri Lankan Constitutional recognition, and the statutory framework of the RTI regime in Sri Lanka as a case study. Students will be taught the substance, procedure, and importance of the RTI Act in Sri Lanka and its implementation to secure and enhance democratic values in Sri Lankan society. 

Under the second part, this course explores the concept of the Right to Development, examining its nature, historical evolution, and key international instruments. Students will analyze the fundamental principles underlying this right and its evolution over time, alongside exploring legal frameworks established to promote and protect it globally. Additionally, the course provides a comparative examination of perspectives from the Global North and South, fostering a nuanced understanding of development challenges and perspectives. 

The third section of this course provides an overview of Sustainable Development, with the aim of conceptualizing how sustainable development can be achieved in government, business and society. The candidates will examine the origin, key features, the global and national debates and the obstacles to achieving sustainable development. This section follows an interdisciplinary approach that highlights the environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainable development through an analysis of selected case studies. It further addresses the nexus between sustainable development and human rights, in view of new trends in globalization.

Tracing the history of the ideals of justice, equality, liberty, democracy, laws and rights, this module will give you an insight of the thinking of political legal philosophers who had initially defined the concept of human rights as political one. However, with continuous struggle of the people through out the ages to assert their personal /individual autonomy took them to liberate them selves from the clutches of authoritarian rules and paved for instituting democracies where their consent has become the sole basis for any ‘legitimate’ rule.

This course gives an overview of the various levels at which individuals or groups of persons who are aggrieved by violations of human rights can seek redress. The UN human rights system is complemented by three regional human rights systems, which have also established redress mechanisms at a regional level. The three lessons in this course, not only introduce you to redress mechanisms at the three levels, but also guide you in identifying the inter-relationship among the various mechanisms.

Group rights are rights enjoyed by people as a group. These rights can be enjoyed by all members as a group or only by some individuals who belong to a certain group.  As such group rights are not necessarily collective rights, which are exercised by a group of people collectively. Accordingly group rights also can be claimed by individuals.

Examples for such groups are children, women, men, indigenous people, youth, workers, religious groups, displaces persons etc. These are very broad groups, and there can be variations within these groups.

There are several reasons to recognize certain rights as group rights. One reason is it gives more recognition and force to a right when it is claimed as a group right. On the other hand it has become necessary to claim rights as group rights because of the social or political oppression on certain rights exercised by identifiable groups.

International Humanitarian Law plays a key role in protecting human rights of people. When IHL rules are violated the perpetrators are punished according to the domestic law of the State concerned. IHL is facing new challenges day by day due to the complexity of contemporary warfare. However, we can see new developments in this field of law those attempt to address such challenges and new modalities. War against terrorism and guerrilla warfare can be pointed out as examples of emerging issues.