Utrecht university offers a six week online course about the European Convention on Human Rights that is free for everyone to sign up! It only costs money if you want to get a graded certificate in the end. The workload is 2-3 hours a week.
Human rights are under pressure in many places across the globe. Peaceful protests are violently quashed. Voting is tampered with. And often, minorities are excluded from decision-making. All of this threatens the ideal of an open society in which each of us can be free and participate equally. A solid protection of human rights is needed for an open society to exist and to flourish. But it often is an uphill battle to work towards that ideal.
The course will help participants equip themselves and learn more about what human rights are and how they work. They will learn when and how people can turn to the European Court of Human Rights to complain about human rights violations. And they will learn when and how the Court tries to solve many of the difficult human rights dilemmas of today. The course looks at, amongst others, the freedom of expression and demonstration, the right to vote, and the prohibition of discrimination. The rights of migrants, refugees, and other vulnerable groups will also be addressed in this MOOC. Finally, the course will look into the question of whether it is possible to restrict rights and under what conditions. (via)
It is difficult to say now if the course’s content will satify us. Surely we observe a lot of human rights abuse in our engagement all the time. The camp conditions of Heumensoord were a vivid example of a non-human rights friendly place to live in. The mere existence of family detention centers is yet another example of constant human rights violation. Those are places where children suffer the most on a daily basis in the Netherlands.
For this reason we hope that the course offers valuable insights into the processes of human rights complaints. And we hope that such complaints can then in fact be effective instruments to protect the rights and the dignity of all humans.