Master of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
This postgraduate program provides advanced study of the international protection of fundamental human rights. The curriculum integrates general human rights protection in times of peace and war with the special protection of basic rights in situations of armed conflict (under international humanitarian law). Such an approach is especially important as the boundary between war and peace becomes increasingly blurred.
Such a blurring of the boundary is the result from many different circumstances including: the rise of terrorism, the diversity in its cause and nature and wide scope of possible reactions to it; the often unclear boundary between situations of civil war, external aggression, guerrilla action and even domestic policing; the reliance on both official (Security Council-sanctioned) and unofficial (sometimes invited) peace-keeping forces in a broad range of conflict situations. Confusion in drawing a clear line may even emerge from humanitarian military intervention in the name of the defence of human rights itself. Responses to various forms of civil unrest (often itself provoked by alleged breaches of human rights) or states of emergency (whether of political or natural origin) including, for example, the establishment of a state of martial law, or merely reliance upon domestic or even foreign military forces to assert control or provide assistance expands the range of situations which are difficult to categorise. Beyond this, national intelligence services may conduct operations (whether at home or abroad) with (quasi-)military character but which formally, not invoke the regulatory framework of humanitarian law. Reliance on mercenary forces and other forms of military outsourcing in diverse contexts of belligerency expands this list even further.
All these examples show that a rigid and dogmatic attempt to identify situations where international humanitarian law does or does not apply and thus how it interacts with the generally applicable regime of human rights protection is at least problematic and may even be counterproductive. This program of study therefore embraces the full range of international law responses to human rights challenges and of the measures and systems for the protection of the individual in the most diverse political, social, economic, geographical and military situations.
The teaching faculty for the degree program consists of highly qualified human rights teachers and experts from many different countries and varied academic traditions.
Students of the Master of International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law (LLM) program are selected on a competitive basis considering their grades in previous courses, their practical experience and their motivation for enrolling in the program. The language of instruction is English.
This advanced degree provides a suitable basis for a career in international human rights, whether in international organizations on universal or regional level, national governmental institutions or non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The Master’s course contains a significant practical component aimed at providing a bridge between academic study of human rights and later professional activity, thus allowing flexible and wide career choice. The international spread and experience of the teaching staff and their contacts to many institutions internationally provide a secure base for diverse human rights internship and career opportunities.
In close relation to the Master’s program — but with a different focus and narrower scope —, the Viadrina also offers an annual two-week intensive Summer Course, ‘The European System of Human Rights Protection’ every September.