5 Free Human Rights Courses Online

As Human Rights is a very essential topic (Controversial and Hot too, let’s face it) to tackle these days in the Philippines, it’s surprising how very few people understand the basic concept of human rights.

Fact: Did you know in a recent study more than 90% of people are unable to name more than 3 of their 30 rights? This is an alarming discovery coupled with countless reports of human rights violations across the globe.

That being said, let me introduce you to 5 human rights online courses provided for you FREE, yes you read that rightFREE of charge.

1.) “Introduction to Human Rights” (udemy.com)

Taught and Created by: José Zalaquett , Juan Francisco Lobo

This course is a general introduction to international human rights, as well as an overview of some specific topics in this field. So if you want to start fresh, this may be what you are looking for.


Primary topics include:

  • Public ethics
  • History of Human Rights
  • International instruments
  • Categories of rights
  • Human Rights violations, protection and responsibility.

The course also deals with current issues in the human rights agenda such as:

  • Rights of women and children
  • Rights of indigenous people
  • Armed conflicts and terrorism
  • The environment
  • Transitional justice and Sexual minorities.


  • The course consists of 33 lessons, each one lasting about 10 minutes
  • There’s no time limit to complete it
  • 7 hours in total


  • Video lectures (English)
  • Quizzes (An average of 2 questions every after lecture)
  • Plus: It’s mobile friendly – so you can access it on your mobile device.
  • A free virtual certificate which verifies that you completed the course will be given after.



2.) “Corruption” (coursera.org)

Taught by: Philip Nichols, Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics (The Wharton School)

Created by: University of Pennsylvania

With the present Philippines government administration’s dedicated pushing through with the “War on drugs” we tend to forget that they also had the goal of fighting “Corruption.”

This course tackles topics to understand how corruption starts, develop, and damage a society. It also provides how to identify if it exists, measure it, and apply the proper remedies to cure, control and prevent it from spreading. Filipinos are in need to comprehend corruption, because it is very palpable in our country.


This course tackles corruption from the perspective of:

  • Countries
  • Governments
  • Businesses
  • Citizens

Topics Include:

What is Corruption?

  • General and legal definitions of corruption
  • Corruptions Perceptions Index (Measuring corruption)
  • History of corruption
  • Theories of corruption

Societal Level Effects

  • Extensive effects of corruption, including its economic, social and psychological costs.
  • Role decision makers play in enabling the spread of corruption.

Individual Firm Level Effects

  • Ethics behind corruption through external and internal relationships
  • Monetary costs of corruption
  • Effects of corruption on an individual’s reputation

Corruption Control

  • Whether or not corruption can be controlled
  • Different ways corruption can be controlled


  • 4 weeks, with 2-3 hours per week
  • Flexible schedule


  • 4 videos with 1 reading material each week (English)
  • Graded assignment each week
  • Pass all graded assignments to complete the course



3.) “Children’s Human Rights – An Interdisciplinary Introduction” (coursera.org)

Taught by: Dr. Roberta Ruggiero (Center for Children’s Rights Studies)

Professor Philip D. Jaffé (Center for Children’s Rights Studies)

Jean Zermatten, Dr. h. c. (Center for Children’s Rights Studies and International Institute for Children’s Rights)

Created by: University of Geneva

This course delves deep into critical issues concerning children’s rights. Who best deserving to use their rights but the children of today? Child abuse is a very common issue in the Philippines. We have plenty of Juvenile delinquents too, where less than successful attempts at rehabilitation were done.

This course not only enumerates in depth the inherent children’s rights on an international level and its history, but also reviews and covers the juvenile justice system, the health care system, and remedies to stop and prevent child abuse and child violence.


Topics include:

International standards and monitoring systems

  • UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
  • International human rights norms
  • Civil and political rights
  • Economic, social and cultural rights on the other.

The history of children’s rights in the context of human rights

  • Social and cultural history of children’s rights
  • Crucial moments of history affecting children’s rights
  • Progress and failures in history

Interdisciplinary Children’s Rights Studies

  • The sociology and anthropology of childhood
  • Research and practice on children’s rights

Juvenile justice

  • Children in conflict with the law
  • Violence in institutions
  • Child offenses
  • Administrative detention
  • Execution of judiciary sentences
  • Institutional care

Violence against children

  • Vulnerability of children
  • Victimization of children around the world

Children’s right to participation

Children’s rights and global health


  • 7 weeks
  • Flexible schedule


  • Average of 7-8 videos per week (English)
  • 1 quiz every week
  • Statement of Accomplishment signed by the Instructor and the main professors responsible for the program available after completing the class



4.) “Revolutionary Ideas: Utility, Justice, Equality, and Freedom” (coursera.org)

Taught by:    Alexander Guerrero, Assistant Professor (Philosophy and Medical Ethics and Health Policy)

Created by:   University of Pennsylvania

This is a sensitive topic considering how the Philippines’ government made international news because of the current administrations methods. To better understand why the current government is gaining infamous popularity, why people disagree or agree to certain laws and principles, to appreciate Anarchy vs. Tyranny, and to learn the “how and why” people and governments tend to repeat the mistakes of the past – this course is for you. Though you may see this course a bit short compared to the others, but it is very deep and in-depth, and I recommend it to help people keep an open mind to controversial issues and topics.

You might want to remember our history with the Spanish regime, and the government during Marcos’ era while taking this course. The Philippine’s rich history of Revolution will be better appreciated once you complete this course.


Topics include:

Fundamental problems in legal and political philosophy

Happiness and Welfare

  • State’s role for legal and political institutions in promoting happiness, peace, stability, and human flourishing


  • State’s role in bringing about justice, introducing and analyzing four different views of justice


  • Importance of equality
  • Equality as a constraint
  • Equality as a societal or political objective


  • The way in which the State can be a threat to freedom
  • The way in which the State can promote or protect our freedom


  • 5 weeks, 20 hours total


  • 40 total videos, average of 6-9 per week (English)
  • 20 total readings, average of 5 per week (English)
  • 1-2 Graded assignments each week
  • Pass all graded assignments to complete the course



5.) “International Law in Action: Investigating and Prosecuting International Crimes” (coursera.org)

Taught by:  Carsten Stahn, Prof. dr (International Criminal Law and Global Justice Grotius Centre for International Studies)

Sergey Vasiliev, Assistant Professor (Grotius Centre for International Studies)

Created by: Universiteit Leiden

This again is a hot topic in the Philippines. Especially after the comment our government officials gave when asked to review our “war on drugs” because it may potentially be a crime against humanity.

What little to no people currently understands that while Philippines operate under the goal to correct and heal the country – it must consider its international status as a country. With elected officials in their high ranking positions representing the State, do you truly believe each one of them know the legal definition of “International Crimes” and what these are? Or what the International Criminal Court (ICC) is for?

That is exactly what this course is about- The International tribunals, the courts and its laws. You will learn how international criminal justice functions. What these crimes are and how they are addressed.


Topics include:

International criminal justice

Core Concepts and Foundations

  • International crimes (genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes)
  • Foundations of liability

Justice Institutions and Procedures

  • Stages of the justice process
  • Prosecutorial strategies and legal and political challenges

Trying Perpetrators

  • Criminal process
  • Defense and victims
  • Role of the judge in international criminal proceedings

Remedying Wrong and Look to the Future


  • 4 weeks


  • 26 total videos, average of 6-8 per week (English)
  • 11 total readings, 6 on the first week, average of 1-2 each week thereafter (English)
  • Graded assignments per week
  • Final exam on the last week
  • Pass all graded assignments to complete the course




About Angel Paolo Villahermosa

Angel Paolo B. Villahermosa is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Saint Paul University Dumaguete and passed the Nurses Licensure exams the same year he graduated. He then volunteered at the local hospital for 6 months as an Operating Room Nurse before getting hired as a Staff Nurse for 4 years at the Medicine Ward. It was then that he decided to pursue further studies and eventually enrolled in Law school with the goal of becoming a successful international lawyer someday. Even in his high-school up to his working days Angel has been active with creative writing and research. He often wrote articles for the paper and has aided school professors with their research in both the medical and legal field. He created Presentations for Health Teaching and Basic Information for the public. Now, he focuses more on Law in connection with his studies and applies what he learns to his work. Angel is a cheerful, dedicated, kind person at heart. He also is comfortable and accustomed to working with professionals and scholars. He loves to read and write, because he believes the love for pursuit of knowledge is the best driving force an intellectual has. He enjoys Rock music, video games, basketball and Japanese Manga.

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