Human Rights In The Era
of COVID-19

Winter 2021-22


In recent history, there are very few things
that have shaken the world in ways the COVID-19 pandemic has done. In moments
of crisis, we see human rights being compromised, and the pandemic has been no
different. Often it is the most vulnerable members of our society who face the
grunt of these crises indiscriminately. To add, several international systems
we put in place for such times begin to show signs of stress. We don’t know
when a post-covid world will finally start, neither do we know how this world
would look like. However, the COVID-19 pandemic gives us a great opportunity to
study human rights in moments of crisis, so we are better prepared for next
time. Not only this, with the uncertainty surrounding the post-covid world, we
cannot let our existing human rights structures erode. Because once eroded,
they will be hard to bring back to their original form.


Consequently, this research seminar aims to
study how and why human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic are impacted and
the manners in which they have been impacted. This seminar will also hope to
discuss how any further violation of human violations during the COVID-19 pandemic
can be reduced. At the end of the seminar, using the lens of the COVID-19
pandemic, students would get a practical insight into international human
rights law, how it applies to real-world events, what different stakeholders
can do to mitigate human rights violations, and how can we strengthen our
existing human rights mechanisms.        


The class will be offered in lieu of a “Seminarschein” or as
a “Fremdsprachenangebote.” Those taking in the seminar in lieu of a “Seminarschein”
will, in addition to a seminar paper (60% of grade), be expected to take part
in class discussions and make a presentation of their seminar paper  (40% of grade). On the other hand, those
taking the class as a “Fremdsprachenangebote” are generally expected to participate
in class discussions and specifically prepare for certain sub-topics (which
will be clarified during our introductory class). Please send your
registrations to  The registrations
will be offered on a first cum first basis and will be capped at 20.


The substantive part of the seminar will take
place over two block seminar days (tentatively on 6th November and 4th
December – i.e., the first Saturday of November and December respectively). Additionally,
we will have an introductory class on 23rd October and a class for
presentations (tentatively post the lecture period).


For every topic, I have recommended a few blogs,
online readings, and reports. Further, to guide students’ readings and
structure the discussions, I have provided some questions that we will spend
our class dissecting and thinking critically about. The number of assigned readings might seem daunting, but please be
assured that most of them are short blog posts covering the topics crisply and
concisely (and are 1-2 pages in length).
A different approach taken in this
seminar is that to reflect the latest discussions on this topic which have not
yet reached the pages of journals, we would be relying primarily on popular
sources for our readings. Discussions that will be the prime mode of learning
can surely benefit from as updated material as possible instead of antiquated
literature from which we would have to infer far too much. This would help us
directly take a plunge into the topic ‘Human Rights in The Era of COVID 19’.


While this is an introductory level seminar and
does not require any advanced knowledge of the topic, it would be beneficial
for students without prior international law experience to read this short
ctory explainer to international law.


These classes will be conducted in person or virtually
(or a combination of both), which will be announced closer to the date of the
respective classes. At this stage, I do hope for us to be able to meet in
person at least a few times this semester.
For any questions, doubts, additional reading suggestions,
trouble accessing the readings, etc. at any stage of the seminar or prior to
registration, please feel free to email me at

For further information, see the attached PDF file.