SFOK24004U Health and Human Rights

Volume 2024/2025

The master's program in public health science - electives

The master's program in health and informatics - electives

Master's degree in healthcare - electives

MSc in Global Health - elective course

Master's degree in psychology - elective


The course, which is conducted in English, will highlight the health consequences of human rights violations and international crimes, which often occur in areas of armed conflict or extensive repression, as well as in institutions where persons are deprived of their liberty. The course provides theoretical and practical knowledge of the national and international human rights systems and standards, and of documentation and prevention of and redress for serious human rights violations. The practical track of the course will focus on the situation in a selected country or country area (”country project”), and the course participants will collaborate on the preparation of a report that will be sent to the relevant international human rights body. 

Learning Outcome

After completing the course, the student must possess the following:


  • Provide an account of the structure and functioning of international, regional and national components of the human rights protection system with a focus on standards, protection and prevention mechanisms
  • Explain methods and purpose of documentation of international human rights violations, primarily torture and sexual and gender-based violence, including of the most important protocols
  • Define and explain the occurrence of torture, sexual and gender-based violence, similar human rights violations and their health consequences
  • Provide an account of health, illness and death during detention, incl. prison health, investigative procedures and health professional ethical dilemmas
  • Describe the right to redress for victims of severe human rights violations
  • Describe and explain different strategies in the prevention of torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and similar human rights violations and their health consequences
  • List and briefly describe national and international avenues for prosecution and punishment of human rights violations and international crimes



  • Plan and carry out documentation of human rights violations and their health consequences, including application of good practices for interviewing traumatized victims/survivors, collection of open source information, forensic photography and population surveys
  • Apply international standards for the documentation and prevention of human rights violations including their health consequences



  • Critically assess documentation reports of human rights violations
  • Design and plan the collection and processing of documentation of human rights violations
  • Design, implement and assess a relevant and targeted intervention in a country context where severe human rights violations have affected health and welfare.
  • International conventions and standards
  • Key articles and reports on health and human rights, armed conflict, prison conditions
  • Videos and podcasts
  • Case-based material on health and human rights in connection with the country project as well as other relevant contexts supplemented with the students' own internet research
It will be an advantage for the students to have knowledge of health and disease, international political conditions as well as quantitative and qualitative data processing.
- Lectures
- Classes
- Online international guest lectures
- Seminars with presentations from the course participants
- Comprehensive country project
- Self-study incl. internet searches
- Self-test quiz
The course consists of a series of lectures, where the basic knowledge is reviewed and communicated. For each topic, classes/seminars are held, where the course participants, on the basis of prior analyses, present the specific conditions in the country which the country project deals with. On the basis of these seminars, a report is drawn up cumulatively over the course of the course, which summarizes health and human rights state of affairs in the country in question and indicates relevant action and prevention options. If appropriate, the report is forwarded to relevant international authorities (UN treaty bodies or special procedures) for further action.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 15
  • Class Instruction
  • 25
  • Preparation
  • 185
  • Exam Preparation
  • 25
  • Total
  • 250
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester

Feedback in the teaching process on the students' seminar presentations.

Three quizzes and self-tests in the lecture topics

Grading exam

Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 min. under invigilation
Type of assessment details
Oral graded exam with external assessment – 30 minutes incl. voting
Only certain aids allowed

Country report from the course

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assesment

To achieve grade 12, the student must be able to

  • Describe the structure and function of the international human rights system
  • Explain international standards and practical procedures for documenting, preventing and providing redress for human rights violations and their health consequences
  • Explain the theoretical and practical preparation, implementation and processing of documentation of human rights violations
  • Analyze situations and data from closed criminal justice institutions with a view to preventing human rights violations
  • Account for the completed data collection, analysis and effort preparation in connection with the country project report