The origins of the notion of human rights, the nature and justification of human rights, whether they are universal or not. The course examines the on-going international discussion about human rights, their legal standing in the Arab world, and in the world at large, and dwells on their theoretical and philosophical foundations, and their critique by different schools of thought. International consensus on human rights as reflected in the example of the International Declaration of Human Rights (among others), and the political purposes which these rights are made to serve by powerful countries, will also be dealt with in detail. Finally, attention will be given to the fact that a number of presumptive human rights are rejected by many, including some Arab countries.