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A list of human rights textbooks: From 2014 onwards

Submitted by on 22/12/2016 – 3:12 pmNo Comment

 * By Henriette (Jet) Jakobien Liesker, Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo

Here below follows a detailed list of human rights textbooks published since 2014. If you want to bring to the attention of our readers more titles (preferably not older than 5 years), please do it through the comments section.


Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou et al, Human Rights Law in Europe; The Influence, Overlaps and Contradictions of the EU and the ECHR, Routledge, 2014.

This book provides analysis and critique of the dual protection of human rights in Europe by assessing the developing legal relationship between the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The book offers a comprehensive consideration of the institutional framework, adjudicatory approaches, and the protection of material rights within the law of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It particularly explores the involvement and participation of stakeholders in the functioning of the EU and the ECtHR, and asks how well the new legal model of ‘the EU under the ECtHR’ compares to current EU law, the ECHR and general international law. ó Link

 Olivier de Schutter, International Human Rights Law, Cambridge University Press, 2014.

The leading textbook on international human rights law is now better than ever. The content has been fully updated and now provides more detailed coverage of substantive human rights, along with new sections on the war on terror and on the progressive realization of economic and social rights, making this the most comprehensive book in the field. It has a new, more student-friendly text design and has retained the features which made the first edition so engaging and accessible, including the concise and critical style, and questions and case studies within each chapter, as well as suggestions for further reading. Written by De Schutter, whose extensive experience working in the field and teaching the subject in both the US and EU gives him a unique perspective and valuable insight into the requirements of lecturers and students. This is an essential tool for all students of international human rights law. ó Link

 David Harris, Michael O’Boyle, Edward Bates, and Carla Buckley, Law of the European Convention on Human Rights, Oxford University Press, 2014.

Now in its third edition, with its detailed yet clear analysis Harris, O’Boyle, and Warbrick’s seminal textbook Law of the European Convention on Human Rights, remains an indispensable resource for undergraduates, postgraduates, and practitioners alike. The third edition builds on the strengths of previous editions, providing an up-to-date, clear and comprehensive account of Strasbourg case law and its underlying principles. It sets out and critically analyses each Convention article (including those addressed by relevant Protocols), and thoroughly examines the system of supervision. The book also addresses the pressures and challenges facing the Strasbourg system in the twenty-first century. ó Link


Andrew Clapham, Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2015.

What are our human rights? What are their philosophical justifications and historical origins? Focusing on highly topical issues such as torture, arbitrary detention, privacy, and discrimination, this Very Short Introduction discusses the controversies and complexities behind these vitally relevant issues. ó Link

Dinah Shelton, The Oxford Handbook of International Human Rights Law, Oxford University Press, 2015.

This Oxford Handbook gives the most comprehensive account yet available of the development, principles, and criticisms of international human rights law. Provides crucial insights into the most topical issues for international human rights law, including the obligations of non-state actors, transnational litigation, and extraterritoriality. Assesses the impact of over half a century of international human rights, attempting to determine whether and how it is possible to measure progress in the enjoyment of human rights. Contributions by over forty leading international and interdisciplinary experts. ó Link

 Rhona Smith, Textbook on International Human Rights, Oxford University Press, 2015.

The seventh edition of Textbook on International Human Rights provides a concise, wide-ranging introduction for law students new to the subject. It considers historical factors, the work of the UN, regional systems, and a variety of substantive rights. Provides clear and broad coverage of the primary systems of human rights protection and the key substantive rights. Written with newcomers in mind, the book’s concise and direct approach enables students with no legal background to develop a good understanding. Serves as an effective starting point for future research, with references to further reading, key cases, and web links at the end of each chapter. Accompanied by an Online Resource Centre which contains links to the full cases referenced at the end of each chapter as well as a list of annotated web links to aid further study. ó Link


Ilias Bantekas and Lutz Oette, International Human Rights Law and Practice, Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Human rights law is a complex but compelling subject that fascinates, but often confuses, students. International Human Rights Law and Practice explores the subject from a theoretical and practical perspective, guiding students to a rich understanding of the law. The second edition has been fully revised and updated, including two new chapters on children’s rights and international criminal law, and new sections on a variety of topics, including the right to equality, the protection of refugees and the effect of foreign investment and sovereign debt on the enjoyment of human rights. In addition, new case studies and interviews with practitioners, NGO activists and policymakers show how theory is applied in real life. Student learning is supported by questions to stimulate seminar discussion and further reading sections that encourage independent study. The authors’ clear and engaging writing style ensures that this new edition will continue to be required reading for all students of human rights law. ó Link

 Marc Bossuyt, International Human Rights Protection, Intersentia, 2016.

International Human Rights Protection, addressed to judges and lawyers, diplomats and civil servants, researchers and students, is based on the author’s personal research and personal involvement with a wide range of subjects, such as the basic concepts of civil and social rights, discrimination and affirmative action, issues of procedure and jurisdiction and issues such as the death penalty and the protection of refugees, minorities and victims of armed conflicts. At the universal level, the book introduces the reader to the labyrinth of United Nations Charter-based and treaty-based procedures. As well as an overview of the Inter-American and African systems, it deals at the regional level particularly with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and also looks at the national level at the case law of the US Supreme Court and the South African Constitutional Court. ó Link

 Howard Davis, Human Rights Law Directions, Oxford University Press, 2016.

A considered balance of depth, detail, context, and critique, Directions books offer the most student-friendly guide to the subject; they empower students to evaluate the law, understand its practical application, and approach assessments with confidence. Gain a complete understanding of the topic: we won’t overload or leave your students short, just the right amount of detail conveyed clearly. Understand the law in context: with scene-setting introductions and highlighted case extracts, the practical importance of the law becomes clear. Identify when and how to critically evaluate the law: we’ll introduce the key areas of debate and give your students the confidence to question the law. Direct and consolidate their knowledge: visually engaging learning and self-testing features aid understanding and help your students tackle assessments with confidence. Elevate their learning: with the ground-work in place you can aspire to take learning to the next level, the authors provide direction on going further. ó Link

Forthcoming 2017

Monisha Bajaj, Human Rights Education: Theory, Research, Praxis, Penn University Press, 2017.

Bringing together the voices of leaders and researchers deeply engaged in understanding the politics and possibilities of human rights education as a field of inquiry, Monisha Bajaj’s Human Rights Education shapes our understanding of the practices and processes of the discipline and demonstrates the ways in which it has evolved into a meaningful constellation of scholarship, policy, curricular reform, and pedagogy. Contributions by pioneers in the field, as well as emerging scholars, constitute this foundational textbook, which charts the field’s rise, outlines its conceptual frameworks and models, and offers case studies from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. The volume analyzes how human rights education has been locally tailored to diverse contexts and looks at the tensions and triumphs of such efforts. Historicizing human rights education while offering concrete grounding for those who seek entry into this dynamic field of scholarship and practice, Human Rights Education is essential reading for students, educators, researchers, advocates, activists, practitioners, and policy makers. ó Link

 Alison Brysk and Michael Stohl, Expanding Human Rights: 21st Century Norms and Governance, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017.

This multi-disciplinary book addresses the ever-expanding notion of human rights within the 21st century. By analyzing the global dynamics of the mobilization of new actors, claims, institutions and modes of accountability, Brysk and Stohl assess the potential and limitations of global reforms. Expanding Human Rights gives a comprehensive overview of current human rights issues and the outlook for the future. The contributors present evidence of new methods for enforcing existing rights and new strategies for further development through in-depth analysis of campaigns and reforms from Eastern Europe, Japan, India, Africa and the US. These include rights of indigenous peoples, food and water rights, violence against women, child mortality and international financial and corporate responsibility. This book will interest academics and advanced students in human rights, international affairs, political science and law. Policy makers and global human rights activists will find the analyses and insights concerning the expansion of rights and the often accompanying backlash to be of great use when approaching their next human rights campaign. ó Link

 Aidan Hehir and Robert W. Murray, Protecting Human Rights in the 21st Century, Routledge, 2017.

With the global economic collapse, the rise of the BRICS, the post-intervention chaos in Libya, the migration crisis in Europe, and the regional conflagration sparked by the conflict in Syria, the need to protect human rights has arguably never been greater. In light of the precipitous decline in global respect for human rights and the eruption or escalation of intra-state crises across the world, this book asks “what is the future of human rights protection?”. Seeking to avoid both denial and fatalism, this book thus aims to: examine the principles at the very foundation of the debate on human rights, diagnose the causes of the decline of liberal internationalism so as to offer guiding lessons for future initiatives, and identify those practices and developments that can, and should, be preserved in the new era. Question the parameters of the contemporary debate and advance perspectives which aim to identify the contours of future ideas and practices that may offer a way forward. This book will be of much interest to students of humanitarian intervention, R2P, international organisations, human rights and security studies. ó Link

 Bernadette Rainey, Elizabeth Wicks, and Clare Ovey, Jacobs, White & Ovey: The European Convention on Human Rights, Oxford University Press, 2017. 

Explores the key principles underpinning the decisions made by the European Court of Human Rights, and provides a guide to the pivotal cases in each area. The authors, two academics and a practitioner at the Court, have the combined experience to give accurate and insightful commentary on Strasbourg case law and procedure. From the overwhelming amount of Strasbourg case law, authors have selected the most essential cases to cover, resulting in an authoritative yet concise overview. Useful to students throughout Europe as it focuses on the European Convention, and the process and decisions of the Court, rather than the application of the Convention in any specific state. Maps course structure by examining each Convention right in turn, making coverage easy to find and follow. ó Link

Ruth Costigan and Richard Stone, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, Oxford University Press, 2017.

A straightforward and stimulating account of this fascinating area of law that covers all the key topics on undergraduate human rights modules. It includes detailed analysis of key cases throughout that puts the law into context and encourages students to engage with contemporary issues and debates. Covers all the essential topics clearly and concisely and provides a solid foundation for students to build on. Straightforward writing style allows students to easily understand complex material. Puts the law in context and guides students through key cases with detailed analysis. Includes questions for discussion at the end of each chapter to check students’ understanding and encourage engagement with key issues. Further reading suggestions for each chapter encourage students to develop their knowledge and understanding of each topic. ó Link


Alison Bisset (ed.), Blackstone’s International Human Rights Documents, 10th edition, 2016. ó Link

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