The idea that every human being has universal, inalienable and indivisible rights has deep historic roots but developed internationally only in the wake of World War II. With the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as its foundation – drafted under the leadership of Elea-nor Roosevelt and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 – human rights have gradually turned into a multi-layered domain of international law consisting of several legal instruments, specialized courts and other monitoring bodies and case law. The responsibility of States to respect, promote and fulfil human rights has been laid down in a variety of binding treaties, whilst there is also more and more attention for the role of non-governmental organizations and other actors in this field. At the same time, persistent marginalization, discrimination and warfare in today’s world illustrate that human rights guaranteed on paper often do not correspond to reality and that bridging this gap requires intensive commitment. In addition, vehement and often rightful contestation of human rights norms have forced their proponents to confront their own blind spots and the unintended consequences of their actions. This course aims to provide students with a broad but solid understanding of both the historical and normative foundations of human rights law and contemporary issues relating to the politics and the practice of their realization.