IKF225 Intercultural Approaches to Human Rights

All versions:
IKF225 (2024—2025)
IKF225 (2023—2024)
IKF225 (2022—2023)
IKF225 (2021—2022)

Course code: IKF225

Course name: Intercultural Approaches to Human Rights

Semester: Spring

Location: Bergen

Academic year: 2021–2022

Language: English

Credits: 10 ECTS Credits

Available for course students: Yes

Application: Apply at our local applicationpage

Required prerequisite knowledge

Higher Education Entrance Qualification and in addition 60 ECT in social science, humanities, journalism, social studies or teacher education.

Recommended prerequisite knowledge

60 ECT in intercultural studies or similar is recommended.

Relevance within study programme

Optional course in the Intercultural Studies bachelor program.

Learning outcomes descriptors

On completion of the course, the candidate should have achieved the following learning outcomes: 


The student:

  • has knowledge about the historical and cultural context of United Nations´ Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • has knowledge about the scientific discussion on the universal validity of the declaration
  • has knowledge about the scientific discussion on key political and cultural challenges and human rights violations in different cultural contexts, and can update his/her knowledge on human rights violations and human rights work
  • has acquaintance with research on characteristics of modern human trafficking and slavery
  • is aware of research on various forms of human rights work and how human rights violations can be sanctioned


The student:

  • can discuss and disseminate knowledge about the cultural background of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the question of the universal validity of the Declaration
  • can find, assess, and refer to information and academic literature, and present this to shed light on issues related to political and cultural challenges and human rights violations in different cultural contexts.
  • can identify and discuss the characteristics of modern human trafficking and slavery
  • can apply his/her knowledge of human rights work, human rights bodies and various forms of human rights violations to assess various forms of work strategies to promote human rights

General competence

The student:

  • has action competence and preparedness for action related to respect for human rights in Norway and internationally

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and seminars including group discussions and exercises.


Ap. 300 hours.

Coursework requirements

No coursework requirement.

Final assessment

5 days individual home examination, ca 4000 words (+/- 15%).

Permitted aids under examination


Grading, examination

Grades are given on a scale from A to E for a pass grade and F for a fail grade.

Assessment language

English or any Scandinavian languages.


No work placement.

Credit reductions

10 ECT against IKF 223 Menneskerettigheter.

10 ECT against IKF215 Menneskerettigheter i interkulturelt perspektiv

Course evaluation

A course evaluation will be carried out in line with NLA’s quality system.

Available for Course Students


Reading list and academic resources

(ca. 750 pages):

There might be adjustments until the semester start.

NB. Literature marked with * are provided in an electronical compendium.

*an-Na´im, A. A. A. and Deng, F. M. (eds.) (1990). 'Problems of Universal Cultural Legitimacy for Human Rights , In Human Rights in Africa: cross-cultural perspectives. Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, s. 331-367 (36 s.)

*Beitz, C. (2009) The Idea of Human Rights, Oxford, Oxford University Press, kap. 7, s. 161-197. (36 s.)

*Bertone, Andrea M. 2013. "Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation." In Human Rights. Politics and Practice, edited by Michael Goodhart, 255-70. Oxford: Oxford University Press, (15s)

Buergenthal, T, Shelton, D. and Stewart, D.  (2010): International Human Rights in a Nutshell, 4th ed. At. Paul, West Publishing. Kap 2,  29-159, kap. 3 160-255, kap. 5 -6, 327-411, og kap. 8 481-499. (327p.)

Cardenas, S. (2010): Human rights in Latin America : A politics of terror and hope. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press.s1- 82. (82 s.)

Freeman, Michael (2017): Human rights. 2nd edition. Cambridge, Polity Press. (221s)

*Habermas, Jürgen (2012). The Concept of Human Dignity and the Realistic Utopia of Human Rights. In: Corradetti, C. (Ed.): Philosophical Dimensions of Human Rights - Some Contemporary Views. London. Springer, s. 63-79. (16 s.)

Mayer, A. E. (2013). Islam and Human Rights. Tradition and Politics. xi-xvii (forord/preface), kap.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7,9 appendiks A og B. Boulder: Westview Press. (150 s.) The rest of the book is recommended.

*Shi, T. and Lu, J. (2010) The shadow of Confucianism. In Journal of democracy vol. 21. No 4, October 2010, s. 123-130. (7 s.)

*Talbott, W. J. (2007). Which Rights Should Be Universal? Oxford: Oxford University Press, kap. 3. (9 s.)

*Wang, J. (2001). China and the Universal Human Rights Standards. Syracuse Journal of International Law and Commerce, Vol. 29, Nr. 1. (23 s.)

*Weatherley, R. (2001). The Evolution of Chinese Thinking on Human Rights in the Post-Mao Era. The Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, Vol. 17, Nr. 2. (24 s.)

*Yasuaki, O (2000). In Quest of Intercivilizational Human Rights: Universal vs. Relative Human Rights Viewed from an Asian Perspective. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Rights and the Law, Vol. 1, Nr. 1. (36 s).

Recommended literature/ Norwegian alternative to International Human Rights in a Nutshell:

Strand, V. B. og K. M. Larsen 2015: Menneskerettigheter i et nøtteskall. Oslo, Gyldendal. (15-107).

Key human rights documents etc.

The UN Charter

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights

The International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The European Human Rights Convention

ILO-convention 169: indigenous people

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance

The Norwegian Constitution

The law on promoting human rights’ position in Norwegian Law (The Human Rights Act).

Relevant decisions from the European human rights court, the UN human Rights Commission etc.