HREA / Education and training in support of human rights worldwide
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Course E023: Environment and Human Rights

2 April-13 May 2014 (E02314) | Closed
2 April-13 May 2014-E-Learning + 2-7 June 2014-Costa Rica (E02314-Blended) | Closed
Instructor: Diane Dunn

This certificate course jointly organised by HREA and the Human Rights Centre of the UN-mandated University for Peace focuses on the intersections of international environmental law and international human rights law. Participants will explore the foundations of both the legal regimes and analyse the theoretical and actual linkages between the two. Amongst other interfaces, participants will study the doctrinal and policy debates on linking the right to a healthy environment with human rights such as life, health, personal integrity, food, housing, information, public participation, natural resources, livelihood and remedies. Additionally, participants will analyse how violations of international environmental law result in a complex array of human rights violations, with a focus on marginalised populations such as urban and rural poor communities, women, indigenous, disabled, children, and agricultural workers. Participants will also analyse the strengths and weaknesses of legal instruments and systems, and create strategies for a paradigm shift toward an agenda for sustainable peace based on prevention of environmental and human rights violations. 

This certificate course offers opportunities to develop creative strategies for simultaneous application of environmental and human rights norms at the national, regional, and international level to strengthen enforcement of, and compliance with, international norms and standards. The course methodology will include human rights advocacy, legal empowerment, and popular education. Participants will amass substantive knowledge of environmental and human rights legal instruments; local, national, regional, and international systems and structures; and develop the capacity to identify and analyse stakeholders. Legal empowerment methodology will focus on grassroots (or bottom-up) approaches for prevention and resolution of environmental and human rights violations. Popular education includes materials that are accessible and interactive, for sustainable programme models that can be implemented in communities which are often excluded from more formal academic programmes.

This e-learning course involves approximately 30 hours of reading, interaction with students and instructor on discussion boards, quizzes, a written assignment and webinars. The course is based on a participatory, active learning approach, with an emphasis on critical reflection and peer-to-peer learning. The maximum number of course participants is 25. Students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Participation. It is also possible to audit the course.

Course outline

Week 1: Foundations of international environmental law and human rights law
Week 2: Linkages among environmental and human rights legal instruments
Week 3: Identifying stakeholders and analysing the impact of environmental and Human Rights violations on marginalised communities
Week 4: Evaluation of environmental and human rights legal strategies implemented at the institutional and structural level; legal empowerment strategies at the community level
Week 5: Popular education: Civil society organisations and implementation of human rights and environmental law education strategies for marginalised communities
Week 6: Paradigm shift in approaching violations of environmental law and human rights: From post-violation/post-conflict judicial reparations/resolutions toward adoption of preventive strategies for ensuring sustainable peace

About the instructor

Diane Dunn is the Founding Director of the non-profit Collective Voices for Peace, and is an international human rights advocate. She has worked for many years as an advocate for the rights of marginalised rural communities directly impacted by environmental and human rights violations. Ms. Dunn led the first Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas human rights delegation to Panama in February 2013.  In March 2012, she supported a delegation of indigenous representatives who traveled from Panama to Washington, D.C. for a hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In November 2010, she was an international human rights advocate on behalf of Panamanian civil society organisations at the UN OHCHR Universal Periodic Review of Panama in Geneva. Ms. Dunn has also participated in civil society efforts to ban nuclear testing and promote disarmament, and she attended the 2008 Conference on Disarmament at the UN in New York. Ms. Dunn is the Founding Director of Global Law Brigades, a program that brings groups of human rights volunteers to developing communities for hands-on implementation of legal empowerment projects. Additionally, she works in the field of immigration law and is an advocate and volunteer with Nonviolent Peaceforce. She holds a Master's degree in International Law and Settlement of Disputes from the United Nations Mandated University for Peace; a Master's in Journalism and Communications from the University of Oregon, and a BA in Mathematics from the University of California, Riverside (USA).

Who should apply

The course is intended for environmental and human rights academics, advocates, and practitioners who seek a balance of education and work at the institutional and community levels. Candidates should have a good written command of English and have high competence and comfort with computer and Internet use. HREA and the UPEACE Human Rights Centre aim to ensure equal gender and geographical distribution across the selected participants.


Tuition fee for participants: US$ 575; tuition for auditors: US$ 215.

Payments can be made online by major credit cards (Discover, MasterCard, Visa), PayPal, bank transfer and wire transfer (Western Union, MoneyGram). Bulk rates are available.


The next session of this course will be offered in late 2015.

Frequently asked questions about HREA's e-learning courses.



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Frequently asked questions about the courses

Related courses offered jointly by HREA and UPEACE-HRC

Course brochure PDF

Evaluation results 2010 course PDF file

Testimonial by course participant

testimonial_Enviro (E023)

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