‘Universities that deliver transnational programmes in countries with dubious human rights records have been warned that they are putting more than their reputations at risk.
Gearóid Ó Cuinn and Sigrun Skogly of Lancaster University Law School argue that institutions and accreditation agencies could potentially face legal challenges in their home countries if they do not use the course certification process to try to uphold human rights overseas.
Their argument hinges on the possible interpretation of the delivery of higher education as representing the administering of a public function; and on the likelihood that the accreditation of such activities would fall into this category.
Writing in the International Journal of Human Rights, Dr Ó Cuinn and Professor Skogly say that a series of cases at the European Court of Human Rights have established that a state’s obligations in this area continue to apply when it is invited to exercise a public function extraterritorially by another country.
In the article, they examine the delivery of medical education in Bahrain by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland under statutory regulation by the European country’s Medical Council, in the context of the protests that rocked the Arab state in early 2011.’ – Times Higher Education