This is an introductory lesson for international human rights law and research. The lesson contains four parts. Part I is designed to provide the user with a basic understanding of the development of human rights. Part II introduces the user to the United Nations and regional human rights structures. A researcher must be aware of the structure of the complaint and enforcement systems in order to locate and understand the significance of human rights materials. As a result, a significant amount of time is devoted to this section. Part III contains a discussion of resources available to assist users developing a contextual understanding of human rights issues. The lesson concludes with an overview of resources available for substantive human rights research.
Although humanitarian law or the law of armed conflict is occasionally discussed as a branch of human rights law, this topic is beyond the scope of this introductory lesson. Additionally, this lesson is not intended to cover international criminal law research regarding violations of human rights norms, such as the prohibition on genocide.