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

30 September-10 November 2015 (E02315) | Register for this course (opens in a new window)
30 September-10 November 2015-E-Learning + 7-12 December 2015-Costa Rica (E02315-Blended) | Register for the 1st Annual Environment & Human Rights Course & Field Visit in Costa Rica
Instructors: Jan Breitling and Mihir Kanade

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

Mihir Kanade (India) is the Director of the UPEACE Human Rights Centre and is also a faculty member in the Department of International Law and Human Rights at UPEACE. Prior to his pursuit in academia, Mihir practiced for several years as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of India and the Bombay High Court, focusing on issues of fundamental human rights violations. He has served as a legal advisor to many human rights organizations in India and has represented them before different courts and tribunals in criminal, constitutional and labour cases. His principal area of academic research and study is Human Rights and Globalization, including the environment and human rights.

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 (after 1 June 2015: US$ 675); tuition for auditors: US$ 215 (US$ 250 after 1 June 2015).

Payments can be made online with major credit cards (Discover, MasterCard, Visa), PayPal, bank transfer (additional fee applies) and money transfer (Western Union, MoneyGram). Bulk rates are available. Payments are due upon registration.


Register for this course (opens in a new window). Registration deadline: 1 June 2015. Registrations are accepted on a first-come-first-served basis.

It is also possible to combine the e-learning course with a field experience in Costa Rica from 7-12 December 2015 (E06915-Blended) in the 1st Annual Environment and Human Rights Course & Field Visit in Costa Rica.

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


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Other upcoming e-learning courses

Frequently asked questions about the courses

Related courses offered jointly by HREA and UPEACE-HRC

Course brochure PDF

Evaluation results 2010 course PDF file

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