McGill/Hebrew U. Summer Program in Human Rights
"Reimagining Socio-Economic Rights" - July 28-August 13, 2013, Jerusalem, Israel
McGill University's Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Minerva Center for Human Rights offer an exciting opportunity for law students interested in human rights issues: a joint international summer program in human rights. The intensive three-week program is offered annually in the month of August, with five one-credit courses (75 hours of class). The teaching faculty come primarily from the Faculties of Law at McGill and Hebrew University. Students from the two institutions receive credit from their home universities for the successfully completed courses, and the program alternates yearly between the two cities.
2013 Summer Program Topic: Reimagining Socio-Economic Rights
28 July-13 August 2013, Jerusalem
Is there a fundamental difference between the exclusion from school of a child because of her race, and the denial of public education to that child because of corruption or of policies favouring military spending in her country? According to a standard reading of human rights, these are in fact entirely distinct types of issues. Indeed, while the first would commonly be taken as an assault on human dignity, a violation of one of the most basic human right (the right to racial equality), the second will more often than not be considered as an unfortunate situation or a challenging reality, but not at its core a human rights issue (the right to education). Despite the lofty statement at the 1993 Vienna Conference on Human Rights that civil and political rights, on the one hand, and economic social and cultural rights, on the other, are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent, they remain more often than not apart in their appeal, their acceptability, their political significance, their legal value, and their institutional resonance.
At the international level, some of the first standards accepted into positive law leading to what we now call human rights were in fact aimed at the protection of socio-economic interests: the protection against expropriation without compensation under the standards on the treatment of aliens in the nineteenth century, and the numerous standards adopted after the first world war by the International Labour Organisation to protect workers. The non-binding 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights lists several economic and social rights as central components of an international bill of rights. When the time came to adopt binding treaties, however, the deep ambivalence of many Governments regarding the scope and status of socio-economic rights became apparent, leading to the adoption of separate Covenants on civil and political rights and on economic, social and cultural rights. Rights in the ICESCR were formulated in a vaguer, more aspirational and conditional manner when compared to the ICCPR. Likewise, the enforcement mechanisms created to push for compliance with civil and political rights were much sturdier than their equivalent for economic, social and cultural rights. The ICCPR was followed by several more specialised treaties, whereas the ICESCR lead to largely abortive claims to a “right to development”, a “right to peace”, etc. Only with the Convention on the Rights of the Child did a move emerge to combine both sets of rights and give effect to their claimed indivisibility and interdependence, and thus re-energise concept like the right to development.
Governmental ambivalence towards socio-economic rights at the international level was likewise reflected in the more infrequent entrenchment of such rights in domestic constitutional charters. When these rights were mentioned, their justiciability was often hotly contested and courts proved considerably more hesitant to take bold positions similar to the great decisions which marked the evolution of civil and political rights in the last several decades. More often than not, the significant financial implication of enforcing socio-economic rights, coupled with limited public budgets, cast a shadow over the legitimacy of asking unelected judges to make important social policy decisions. In many jurisdictions, the only way to successfully protect a socio-economic interest is to re-cast it as a civil and political right.
We have now reached a certain level of maturity in the international human rights regime, with a wide array of norms, including socio-economic standards, broadly ratified, and supported by an ever-increasing number of mechanisms and institutions. This is coupled with economic, social, cultural and political globalisation, evoking the need for increased solidarity among a range of actors spanning the private/public and national/international divide. These factors converge to suggest the need for re-imagining the place of economic and social rights with the human rights framework.
The five courses offered during the 2013 Summer Program are expected to address the following topics:
- The Protection of Economic and Social Rights under International Law - Prof. René Provost (McGill) and Prof. Yael Ronen (HUJ):
This course will consider the emergence and nature of economic and social rights in the international legal regime. After an initial integrative approach in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, economic and social rights were dissociated from civil and political rights, leading to two covenants in 1966 which are quite distinct in the scope and nature of the rights granted, as well as the mechanisms created to ensure their implementation. The last half-century has seen a progressive lessening of the difference in the structure and nature of these categories of human rights, raising questions today regarding their conditional nature, extra-territorial application, justiciability, institutional oversight, suitability as social justice tools, and the theoretical viability of a distinction between various categories of human rights.
- Privatization, Public Finance, and Social Rights: Law, Economics, and Morality – Prof. Barak Medina (HUJ):
This course offers an interdisciplinary perspective on the public-private distinction in the contexts of the provision of goods and services and employing governmental powers. The course aims at using this perspective to offer new insights to the debate on the constitutionalization of social rights. The course consists of two main parts, each dealing with one type of privatization: the move from public to private financing of goods, and authorizing private, for-profit entities to employ governmental powers. The first part critically evaluates the economic theory of public finance, most notably the concept of "public goods," and discusses the moral choices and political philosophy aspects associated with the formation of a public-finance theory and introduces the concept of "the economic constitution." The second part discusses aspects of privatization that include employing governmental powers by private entities. It discusses constitutional limitations to this type of privatization, aspects of public choice theory related to the choice between public and private in this context, including the influence of interest groups, and the norms applicable to private entities that employ public powers.
- Mobility Policies and the Human Rights of Migrants: Not Everyone lives in a Mobile World – Prof. François Crépeau (McGill):
Children’s experiences in times and zones of armed conflict are understood to be unique and deserving of particular attention. Victims who require special protection, children can also be actors and even responsible agents. Human rights instruments provide a framework for understanding and responding to children’s needs and interests, but a meaningful critical and empathetic analysis of children in armed conflict reaches beyond the articulation, interpretation, and application of rights. Participants in this course will integrate theoretical and interdisciplinary insights vis-à-vis young people with examination of concrete issues and challenges related to identity, family, community and combat.
- Economic and Social Rights: A Child’s Play? – Prof. Shauna Van Praagh (McGill):
One of the striking features of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is its insistence on intertwining civil and political rights with social and economic rights, such that protection of all becomes crucial to recognition of, and support for, young people. We might say that socioeconomic justice moves centre stage when we think about children’s lives and development; conversely, we notice that children come into focus when we emphasize and find ways to fulfill socio-economic claims. Participants in this course will explore the ways in which the stories of children’s lives can inform the claims, narratives and arguments related to socioeconomic rights and interests. At the same time, they will examine the impact on children of the theory and practice of law in the context of socioeconomic aspirations. Particular examples, grounded in identity and place (eg. aboriginal reserves, occupied territories, cosmopolitan urban centres), will inform the discussion and give shape to the issues of inter alia access to resources, support for education and family, and conditions of passage and citizenship.
- The Right to Economic, Social and Cultural Development: From Theory to Practice - Prof. Tomer Broude (HUJ):
In 1986 the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 41/128, recognizing the 'Right to Development' as a human right. The right to economic, social and cultural development was subsequently recalled in the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and the 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. But what is 'development' and what does it mean as a human right? Does the concept of development add anything to the sum of economic, social and cultural rights it encompasses? What strengths does it grant to individuals and groups? How does it interact with international economic law and domestic law? And above all, how can it be implemented in law and practice? This course will examine these theoretical questions, while looking at specific applications of the Right to Development such as the right to resources and the right to water; the protection of traditional knowledge and cultural rights; microfinance and the right to education. The course is planned to culminate in a study tour of Bedouin communities in the Negev, in which many of the developmental issues discussed in the classroom will be brought to life.
Students in the Summer Program will be required to take all five courses. The five courses will be Specialised Topics in Law in the Course Offerings documentation, and graded pass/fail.
In order to encourage participants to take their reflections outside the classroom, the Program will also include tours, meetings with State officials and nongovernmental organizations, guest lectures and group social events. In Jerusalem, the program will include a visit to the Israeli Supreme Court. Students interested in clerking at the Israeli Supreme Court after graduation may be particularly drawn to this opportunity to meet with Israeli Supreme Court justices. Students can also benefit from the Minerva Center for Human Rights’ unique contacts with the Israeli human rights NGO community. There are also planned field trips to Tel Aviv and to Bedouin communities in the Negev desert.
The Summer Program will be taught by three professors from McGill and three from Hebrew University. In order to maximize the comparative potential of the summer program, one of the offered courses will be co-taught by a McGill professor and a Hebrew University professor.
Professor Tomer Broude, Academic Director of the Minerva Center for Human Rights
Tomer Broude is Senior Lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the Faculty of Law and Department of International Relations. His fields of research are in international economic law and its interaction with human rights, development, migration and cultural diversity. His publications include International Governance in the WTO: Judicial Boundaries and Political Capitulation (2004); The Shifting Allocation of Authority in International Law: Considering Sovereignty, Supremacy and Subsidiary (2008, ed. with Yuval Shany); The Politics of International Economic Law (ed. with Marc L. Busch and Amy Porges) and articles and essays that have appeared in the Vanderbilt Law Review, World Trade Review, Journal of International Economic Law, Journal of World Intellectual Property, and the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal. He is one of the founders of the Society of International Economic Law and a member of its Executive Council, and a Member of the International Law Association Committee on the International Law of Sustainable Development.
Professor François Crépeau, Director of Research, McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism
Professor Crépeau teaches international public law, international law of human rights, minority rights and international migration and refugee law. From 2004 to 2008, he held the Canada Research Chair in International Migration Law at the Université de Montréal. He has published many articles and books on migration and human righs issues, including Les migrations internationales contemporaines – Une dynamique complexe au cœur de la globalisation, co-published with Delphine Nakache and Idil Atak (Montréal : Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2009); and “Critical Spaces in the Canadian Refugee Determination System: 1989–2002”, co-published with Delphine Nakache (2008, 20.1 International Journal of Refugee Law 50-122). He was a Trudeau Foundation Fellow from 2008 to 2011 and currently serves as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants.
Professor Barack Medina, former Dean of the Faculty of Law, Hebrew University
Professor Medina is a former Dean and Lawrence D. Biele Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Professor Medina is a graduate of Tel-Aviv University, where he earned his LL.B., BA (Econ.) and MA (Econ.) degrees, Harvard Law School, LLM, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, PhD (Econ.). He has been a Visiting Professor at the Columbia Law School and UC Berkeley. Professor Medina’s research interests include constitutional law and intolerant democracy, administrative law, economic analysis of law, and game theory and the law. He authored six books, including the most authoritative textbook on Israeli constitutional law (with Amnon Rubinstein), and published more than thirty articles in Israeli and American law journals. His latest book is: Law, Economics, and Morality (with Eyal Zamir), published by Oxford University Press. Professor Medina also studies issues related to Israeli constitutional law, including the issues of collective rights of national and ethnic minorities, state and religion in a Jewish and Democratic State, and constitutional limits on privatization.
Professor René Provost, Former Director of the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism
Professor René Provost is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law of McGill University, where he teaches several courses in the area of human rights and social diversity, including International Law of Human rights, International Humanitarian Law, and Public International Law. He was the founding Director of the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism from 2005 to 2010. He has degrees from the Université de Montréal (LL.B.), U.C. Berkeley (LL.M.) and Oxford (D.Phil.). Professor Provost is the author of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (Cambridge University Press, 2002), editor of State Responsibility in International Law (Ashgate/Darthmout, 2002), and co-editor of Public International Law Chiefly as Applied and Interpreted in Canada (Emond Montgomery, 2006), Confronting Genocide (Springer Verlag 2011), and Dialogues on Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (Springer Verlag, forthcoming). He has acted as a consultant for DFAIT and CIDA on numerous occasions.
Professor Yaël Ronen, Academic Editor of the Israel Law Review, the Minerva Center for Human Rights
Yaël Ronen holds and LLB and LLM from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. She is a former Vidal Angel Postdoctoral Fellow for Research against Hate and Bigotry at the Minerva Center for Human Rights. Currently a senior lecturer at Sha'arei Mishpat College, Israel, her areas of interest include human rights, humanitarian law and international criminal law. Among her publications are Transition from Illegal Regimes in International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2011), The Iranian Nuclear Issue (Hart, 2010), "Superior Responsibility of Civilians for International Crimes Committed in Civilian Settings" 43 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 313 (2010), "Avoid or Compensate? Liability for Incidental Injury to Civilians Inflicted during Armed Conflict" 42 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 181 (2009), and "Human Rights and Territorial Claims: Transition from Unlawful Regimes in International Law" 26 Nordic Journal of Human Rights 1 (2008) (winner of the Nordic Journal of Human Rights 25th anniversary prize).
Professor Shauna Van Praagh, McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism
Professor Shauna Van Praagh an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law of McGill University, holding degrees from the University of Toronto (B.Sc, LL.B.) and Columbia Law School (LL.M., J.S.D.). She incorporates human rights and social diversity issues into her teaching of Extracontractual Obligations/Torts and Graduate Legal Methodology. She has also taught Social Diversity and Law, a course which explores interdiciplinary perspectives on law, identity and social orders, Children and Law, and Foundations of Canadian Law. Professor Van Praagh's research interests focus on the rights, duties and needs of young people, on religious and cultural identities within family, community and school, on the challenges to governance structures posed by social diversity, and on the relationship between law and literature particularly in pedagogy. Professor Van Praagh has acted as a research consultant to the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on Reasonable Accommodation and to the Law Commission of Canada on its "Beyond Conjugality" project; has carried out research on the Hasidic Jewish communities of Montreal; and has led judicial education workshops exploring social diversity in the theory and practice of family law.
The McGill University / Hebrew University of Jerusalem Summer Program in Human Rights is primarily aimed at undergraduate (BCL/LLB) and graduate students (LLM and DCL / PhD.) enrolled in the Faculty of Law.
Students register for the summer program and obtain McGill university credits which will count towards their degree requirements. They will pay tuition fees to their respective universities for these credits. The Summer Program aims to admit 10 students from each faculty of law each year.
2013 Program Costs and Financial Assistance
Participating students will be required to register and pay for the credits associated with the courses taught as part of this programme. Each student must contribute $500 towards the costs of their participation, although financial assistance may be requested. Airfare between Montreal and Israel as well as housing costs in Jerusalem will be borne by the programme. Participants are required to arrange their own health and travel insurance, and are responsible for food, domestic travel and other expenses.
The deadline for applying to the Program is March 18, 2013, at 3 pm.
Students should submit an application package (1 copy, printed) to the SAO. The package should include:
- One-page letter of intent indicating: (1) why you want to participate in the program, (2) your interest in human rights, (3) how you plan to turn this opportunity into further action, and (4) your financial needs.
- Up-to-date CV
- Up-to-date transcript (a Minerva printout is sufficient)
Selected students will be invited to an interview by a committee comprised of Professor René Provost, Assistant Dean Véronique Bélanger and Dr Nandini Ramanujam. Final decisions will be communicated to students by March 31. Decisions will be made based on file as a whole (including the letter of intent) and academic ability.
The selection committee will also endeavour to choose a group of students that represent the diversity of the Faculty's student body.
(The programme remains subject to final approval by the University.)
About the Centres for Human Rights
The Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism at McGill University, created in 2005, is a focal point for innovative legal and interdisciplinary research, dialogue, and outreach on human rights and legal pluralism. Its primary objectives include: to advance innovative research on human rights and the role of law in a legally plural world; to enrich the nexus of scholarship and teaching by engaging undergraduate and graduate students in human rights research projects, human rights internships and advanced scholarship; to communicate research results and provide a forum for the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas through scholarly publications, public conferences, seminars and workshops.
The Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, founded in 1993, is the preeminent academic center in Israel devoted to human rights education and research. It initiates and facilitates interdisciplinary academic scholarship on a broad range of local and global human rights issues, with particular emphasis on promoting interaction between the local academic community - students and faculty - and their international counterparts, and on generating awareness of, and discourse with, international scholarship, historical experience and cultural perspectives. The Center works to promote dialogue and cooperation between government, civil society and academia in Israel in understanding and addressing local human rights issues, and seeks to develop ties with Palestinian academics and institutions that can assist in furthering cooperation, coexistence and mutual awareness of human rights challenges in both societies. The Center engages in a broad range of activities, including research, courses, international conferences and symposia, NGO and Government-NGO workshops, postdoctoral and doctoral fellowships, internship programs, teacher training and other educational programs, and also publishes the Israel Law Review, the leading English-language law journal in Israel.
Jerusalem and Montreal
Jerusalem and Montreal, the two cities that will alternate in hosting the Summer Program, are vibrant and diverse, steeped in history, and well worth visiting for their own sakes. They provide an ideal backdrop, in their different ways, to reflect upon the theme of internal diversity and minority rights.
Montreal, Quebec, stands at a unique crossroads between Europe and North America, and between the English and French languages. From the beautiful cobblestoned streets of the old city, located around the Old Port, to the museums, parks and restaurants of all gastronomic persuasions, Montreal is a wonderful city of bilingual culture and multicultural influences. While English is spoken everywhere, there are plenty of opportunities to practice your French - Montreal is the second largest French-speaking city in the world, after Paris. The city blends its heritage, history and geographical location into a unique living experience. Moreover, August is festival season in Montreal, and students will be able to enjoy a wide variety of concerts, film showings, and firework displays throughout their stay.
Jerusalem, founded in the 4th millennium B.C., is one of the oldest cities in the world. The walled old city, a World Heritage site, contains sites that are considered holy by three of the world's major religions. These sites include the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The names of the four quarters of the old city - Armenian, Jewish, Christian and Muslim - testify to the diversity of cultural traditions that cohabit in the city. A unique mixture of the ancient and the new, of the deeply traditional and the very modern - Jerusalem contains a broad array of cultures, architectural styles, picturesque neighbourhoods, restaurants, music, film and museums.
In 2013, because the Summer Program will take place during Hebrew University’s summer break, we anticipate that accommodation will be available to students in the large student residences located on the Mount Scopus campus. Offering stunning views of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus is situated in the northeastern part of the city and has been an important site in the city’s history since antiquity (it was used as a base by Roman legions and crusaders). The Faculty of Law is conveniently situated on the Mount Scopus campus, as are the university’s beautiful botanical gardens. Students will arrive a few days before the program begins (around July 25) and leave a few days after (around August 15).