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First human rights course to launch in Iraq

Experts from Middlesex University are helping to create Iraq’s first ever human rights law course to deter human rights abuses from happening in future.

UK academics' mission to prevent future Middle East human rights abuses

Experts from Middlesex University are helping to create Iraq's first ever human rights law course to deter human rights abuses from happening in future.

With a law system in a state of transition, human rights violations are an ongoing problem in Iraq.  However, giving Iraqis high level knowledge in human rights law could play a significant part in the re-building of their multi cultural society, ensuring future generations don't endure injustices and that perpetrators are held to account.

The new LLM in Human Rights Law at the University of Duhok, in Kurdistan, will take its first students in September 2012. It is currently being designed in conjunction with a team of academics from the Department of Law at Middlesex University, who were selected due to their international experience in human rights.

Head of Law at Middlesex University, Prof Joshua Castellino, who is leading the project said: "This is a major step for the country in making human rights less of an ideal and more into a reality.  Training people to ensure rights are protected and that laws are enforced will help shape Iraqi society, promote an understanding of rights and play a significant role in the future of the country."

"We are watching the changing situation across the Middle East with hope as well as concern. If the people of the region develop the expertise to match their passion for human rights, they can make a real impact," added Castellino.

The team at Middlesex began the project after being awarded £43,000 by the British Council, as part of the Delphi Programme.

Vice President for International Relations at the University of Duhok, Dawood Atrushi said: "A mosaic society of different religions and ethnic groups are living in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.  After the liberation of Iraq, the region has started a democratisation process and it is going under a transition period. For a future based on justice, equality and the rule of law, human rights education is vital. This is the reason why we've taken the initiative to introduce this course with the help of Middlesex University."

The Middlesex University law team made a visit to the University of Duhok in April to discuss the course and the requirements, as well as deliver lectures in human rights law to students.  Later this year academics from Iraq will make a return visit to the UK to see how the postgraduate human rights courses are delivered at Middlesex and get technology training.  Once the new LLM is launched, lecturers from Middlesex will also go to University of Duhok to deliver guest lectures to the new LLM students.

The team will look at developing ways the Duhok course could be delivered online in the future.

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