Faculty of Law

Welfare and human rights

Is welfare a right for citizens pursuant to international human rights obligations? Can the provision of welfare raise human rights problems by not respecting the autonomy of individuals?

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The Nordic countries have generous welfare states. The basic principle is that everyone contributes via taxation, and everyone gets something back. Many of the senior researchers at the faculty work on human rights law and welfare law.

The course Human Rights and the Welfare State teaches students about the essential elements of Norwegian welfare state legislation in light of international human rights law. One of the important issues is the potential conflict between the duty to provide health care and social services, on the one hand, and the duty to respect the autonomy of individuals, on the other. What do human rights instruments say about coercive treatment? Particular attention will be devoted to protection of the rights of vulnerable groups in the welfare state, such as children, the disabled, the mentally ill and asylum seekers.