ML 404 – Minorities, Rights and the Law



This first part of the module seeks to give students an overview of the special regime of protection for minorities, indigenous peoples, children and women. The module will examine the following five core themes:
 The Concept of Vulnerability under Human Rights Law
 The Minority Rights Regime
 Peoples and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights
 Gender and Human Rights
 Children’s Rights

With the aim of providing an overview of each special regime, as well as focusing on specific issues, each session above will address (a) the relevant international legal framework; (b) regional and comparative experiences, and (c) particular contemporary issues of special importance for the selected vulnerable group.
The second part of the module aims at providing a specialised knowledge in one of the areas of the protection of vulnerable groups. Students will join a discussion group on an agreed theme that meet on at least four occasions and which will address a specialised area listed below. The second part of the module will enable students to engage in research and complete a project in one of the following areas:
 Access to Justice: Comparative Constitutional Law and minorities
 Race, Religion and Human Rights
 Indigenous Peoples
 The Muslim Minority in Europe

Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy

Assessment Modes

All learning materials are developed according to the SCATE format. Students are advised to study units available online followed by timetabled activities which are of crucial importance and require a serious attention. Students need to consult suggested reading materials which are not necessarily available online. At the same time, students are expected to contribute to Discussion Group as an integral part of their study. They would receive feedback regarding their activities and contribution by the module tutor. Extra reading and activities are provided for students who are interested to have a deeper and broader understanding of the issues of concern.
Formative Assessment:
Formative assessment for this module will consist of written feedback from the lecturer, questioning and discussion through the online forums. One draft of the students’ final essay (coursework) may be handed in to the lecturer at the 12th learning week for formative assessment, in which the lecturer will give the student feedback on how to improve their research and quality of writing.
Summative Assessment:
Students are required to submit 2 out of 5 Review Questions (RQ) and 2 out of 5 Activities (Act) as the weekly assignments for each module during the semester. All of these assignments as well as students’ final essays at the end of the semester will be commented and marked by tutors. Students can see those comments and marks in their drop box which are available in their D2L accounts. Finally, students are required to submit an Individual coursework -final essay (4000 words) on a relevant topic approved in advance by the module tutor.

Assessment Weighting

Activities: 30%
Review Questions & Discussion Group: 10%
Final Essay (Coursework): 60%
Students should get at least a pass mark for all three above components.

Learning materials

Core readings
Boyle K. & Baldaccini A. (2001) A Critical Evaluation of International Human Rights Approaches to Racism’, in Sandra Fredman, Philip Alston, Gráinne de Búrca (eds.), ‘Discrimination and Human Rights: The Case of Racism. Oxford University Press
Castellino, J. & Domínguez Redondo, E., Minority Rights in Asia (Oxford: OUP, 2006) – Chapter 1
Castellino, J. and Gilbert J., ‘Self-Determination, Indigenous Peoples and Minorities’, Macquarie Law Journal, Vol.3, pp.155-178, 2003
Gilbert, G.(2005) Individuals, Collectivities and Rights, in N. Ghanea and A. Xanthaki (eds.), Minorities, Peoples and Self-Determination. Martinus Nijhoff
Gerschitz, J.M. & Karns, M.P. ‘Transforming Vision into Reality: The Convention on the Rights of the Child’, in Ensalaco, M and Majka, L (eds) Children’s Human Rights: Progress and Challenges for Children Worldwide (Maryland Rowman and Littlefield 2005)
Keane D. (2007) Addressing the Aggravated Meeting Points of Race and Religion Vol. 6, No. 2, Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class 353-391
McKinnon, C. Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues (2006), Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, chapters 14, 16, 18, 19
Natan, L. (2003) Group rights and Discrimination in International Law. Parts I and II.
Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Parts I and II
Quinn, G. & Degener, T. Human Rights and Disability: The Current Use and Future Potential of United Nations Human Rights Instruments in the Context of Disability (OHCHR, 2002), Part 1 Background: The shift to a human rights framework of reference (pp. 13- 49), available at
Thornberry, P. (2005) Confronting Racial Discrimination: A CERD Perspective’ 5(2) Human Rights Law Review 239