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LAW7330 - Protecting the rights of minorities, marginalised and vulnerable people

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Law


Not offered in 2007


Protecting the rights of minorities, marginalised and vulnerable persons is probably the most overlooked and disregarded area of human rights law. Minority groups are generally marginalised by society, making them easy to ignore. Since minorities only ever represent a small percentage of the population they lack the critical mass that is often needed to successfully assert human rights claims. Furthermore minorities themselves are often antagonistic towards each other - religious minorities are unlikely to join forces with sexual minorities, or disabled people with linguistic minorities - with the result that they remain sectors of society that are easily repressed.


Upon completion of this unit, students should:

  1. understand and be able to analyse and critically comment on the theoretical debates about what it means to take a rights based approach to issues concerning ethnic, linguistic, religious and sexual minorities and persons with disabilities;
  2. have a comprehensive understanding of, and be able to analyse and critically comment on international, regional and local approaches to minority rights;
  3. be able to critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of the UN processes for protecting minority rights,
  4. be able to critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Australian laws and structures relating to protecting the rights of minorities at both the state and federal levels;
  5. be able to identify or find the relevant principles, laws and precedents and apply them to resolve issues relating to minority rights;
  6. further develop legal research, writing, and legal argument skills in the area of the rights of minorities; and
  7. further develop oral articulation of legal argument during class discussions.


Research assignment (3750 words): 50%
take home examination (3750 words): 50%


Subject to the approval of the lecturer, research assignment (7500 words):100%

Contact hours

24 hours of seminars per semester