Development and Human Rights (18 March – 28 April, 2020)

Note: This course is also offered as part of the Professional Development Diploma on Sustainable Development and Human Rights.

Admissions are Open!

Course Description

This certificate course offered by the Human Rights Center of the University for Peace introduces participants to the major themes and debates concerning the relationship between human rights and development. The course begins with an examination of the different conceptions of ‘development’, including its evolution in theory, policy and practice, and its linkages with human rights. Participants analyze the concept of human right to development, which treats development itself as a human right and not just a process which leads to improvement in human rights. The doctrinal and policy implications of adopting a ‘human rights based approach to development’, and the related ‘right to development framework’, are discussed along with what such approaches mean, and what are the tools to implement them in the field. Participants will also explore the new streams of critique that have enabled a confluence as well as a questioning of the human rights-development linkages. These include a critical analysis of the successes and failures of the UN Millennium Development Goals from a human rights perspective, and the implications for the new post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. The role of strategic litigation in achieving the right to development, whether using that terminology or not, is then looked at with the help of case studies from around the world. Impacts of big projects on indigenous communities is specifically inquired into. In the latter part of the course, selected current issues in the human rights-development interface that are salient from a policy perspective will be examined, including the role of trade, finance, investment, development aid, and aid for trade.

The course is based on a dynamic pedagogy including reading materials, video clips, case studies, and interactive webinars with the instructor.

Course Outline

  • Week 1: Conceptions of human rights and development
  • Week 2: The human right to development
  • Week 3: The post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and Human Rights
  • Week 4: Rule of Law and Development
  • Week 5: Role of trade, finance and investment in development
  • Week 6: Development aid, aid for trade, and human rights

Who Should Apply

The course is intended for staff members of development organisations, including development NGOs and UN specialised agencies, as well as others interested in learning more about human rights based approaches to development in theory and practice. Candidates should have a good written command of English and have high competence and comfort with computer and Internet use.

About the Instructor

Dr. Mihir Kanade (India) is the Director of the UPEACE Human Rights Centre and is also the Head of the Department of International Law and Human Rights at UPEACE. His principal areas of academic research are the linkages between Globalization, Human Rights and Sustainable Development, covering several themes within that interface including trade and investment, sustainable development, forced migration, indigenous peoples’ rights, public health, amongst others. He has extensive experience in training staff of inter-governmental, governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as professionals, in the field of human rights. He serves on the International Advisory Board of the International Bar Association on the topic of Business and Human Rights, and acts as an advisor to several human rights organizations and corporations on issues related to human rights and international law. He is also an adjunct faculty at Universidad Alfonso XI El Sabio (Spain), Cheikh Anta Diop University (Senegal), and Long Island University (United States). He has a LL.B from Nagpur University (India) and Master and Doctorate degrees from UPEACE. Prior to his pursuit in academia, Mihir practiced for several years as a lawyer in the Bombay High Court and in the Supreme Court of India, focusing on issues of fundamental human rights violations. Specifically in the area of development studies, he has taught several specialized courses on Development and Human Rights to different professional stakeholders over the last eight years, including trade ministries, UNDP staff, development NGOs, as well as graduate and post-graduate students. He co-leads a joint OHCHR-UPEACE project on operationalizing the right to development in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Course Fee

For Certificate: Fee for taking this course is USD 600. UPEACE students and almuni enrolling for the Certificate course are entitled to 30% discount on the fee.

For Auditing: It is also possible to audit the course, in which case, participants will not receive a certificate. Auditors, however, will have access to all course material, be able to participate in the synchronous webinar sessions, and be able to monitor the online discussions of participants. The fee for auditing the course is USD 200.

For Certificate and 2 Academic Credits: Participants are also able to take the course for two academic credits offered by UPEACE. The cost of taking the course for 2 academic credits is USD 1100.

Application Procedure

To apply, please send an email to along with your CV and a short Statement of Purpose (not more than 500 words) indicating the motivation for taking the course. Applicants will be contacted within three working days of the application. The course is limited to 25 participants.


Payments may be made either by credit card or by wire transfer. Payment by wire transfer usually takes three to four business days to be deposited in our account. Payment by credit card is instant.

If you wish to make the payment by credit card, please go to

Payments by wire transfer must be made to the following bank account:

Universidad para la Paz
Banco Nacional de Costa Rica
Bank account number:100-02-099-600195-4
Swift Code: BNCRCRSJ and IBAN: CR57015109910026001958
Avenidas 1 y 3, Calle 4
San José, Costa Rica