Faculty of Law

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedNot offered in 2012
Coordinator(s)Dr Paula Gerber


For postgraduate Law discontinuation dates, please see http://www.law.monash.edu.au/current-students/postgraduate/pg-disc-dates.html


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
  7. further develop oral articulation of legal argument during class discussions.


Research assignment (6,000 words): 80%
Research poster: 10%
Class participation: 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Paula Gerber

Contact hours

24 contact hours per semester (either intensive, semi-intensive or semester long, depending on the Faculty resources, timetabling and requirements)