human right abuse

This work is an analysis of a contentious case of human rights abuse. By the term ‘contentious’ it is
meant that the case is not “straight forward” because there are “layers of complexity”. For example,
there may be a ‘conflict’ of rights and responsibilities such that what is required is an analysis/discussion
of the prioritising of rights; or, the case may be highly debated within the public arena and as such, quite

Examples of such “conflict” of rights is that of individual rights and cultural practices; freedom of
expression and freedom from vilification. Students should avoid choosing “well established” cases such as
the holocaust around which there is no debate about the abuse of human rights. The aim is to
be able to establish a case of human rights abuse by reference to legislation and a number of different
media. Pictorial evidence may also be included in appendices but does not count towards word limit.
Sub­headings may be used but sparingly.
The work should be written in discursive style and be readily comprehended. Work cannot be marked if it
cannot be understood.
Students must base their arguments in the theoretical literature, showing familiarity with many of the
“debates” in the area of human rights. It is not sufficient to simply refer to the UDHR and other
conventions to “assert” an abuse of human right

A Process for Analysing Events
1. Before you begin, make sure your resources (re. the case) are a good mix of both primary (eyewitness) and secondary (removed from the action) sources from all sides of the issue.
– Include those in power and those traditionally marginalised. Your sources will reflect the biases of whoever created them.
– Analyse the sources for their biases and identify any stereotypes; try to see beyond them while analysing the event/issue. Sometimes the bias holds clues as to what happened – why there was conflict in the first place.
2. Analyse the event/issue for the rights that the people involved believed were important.
– Be sure to go beyond the UDHR to the relevant treaties/conventions and check those countries who ratified or refused to ratify the relevant treaty.
– Were any rights in conflict? In other words – were people fighting for rights that conflicted with each other? What caused these conflicting perspectives?
3. Analyse the actions people took during this event.
– List some specific actions that affected many people.
– Were some rights being violated to gain others?
– Were people silent who could have helped the situation?
– Did others take risks to protect rights?
4. What were the short-term outcomes?
– Who won? Who lost?
– Whose rights were strengthened? Whose were violated?
– Whose power was strengthened? Whose power was weakened?
– Did resistance continue or was it silenced by those in power?
– Was the overall result positive or negative for people in general?
5. What were the long-term outcomes?
– What precedents were set in the area of human rights that are still affecting people today (either negatively or positively)?
– What contribution, if any, do you think this case has made upon either the UN and its relevant body; or the human rights operations/organisations within the relevant country?