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Topics in International Law: International Human Rights

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Research Guides

ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law:  Human Rights: Includes primary sources, compilations, secondary sources, and links to more research guides.

UN Human Rights Documentation Research Guide: Overview and resources for UN human rights documents, reports, and databases

UN Documentation:  Research Guide: UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library. Overview and glossary of UN documentation, with links to UN bodies and databases, and to sources for documents and reports.

Yale Law Library Human Rights Databases: Includes links to human rights organizations and documents and to human rights sites on the web.

Globalex International Human Rights Research Guide: Includes links to human rights documents by subject matter.

Secondary Sources and Current Awareness

Global Legal Monitor: Browse by topic or search to find articles on developments in foreign and international law. Articles are in English and include links to primary and news sources referenced.

International Law Blogs for International Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law:

Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law: Detailed articles on topics in international law, with links and citations to documents, bibliographies, document lists.

Oxford Scholarly Authorities on International Law: Full-text treatises on international law from Oxford University Press. Links to other Oxford Public International Law databases, with citation information.

Oxford Encyclopedia of Human Rights in the Oxford Reference Library. Entries on treaties, countries, individuals, organizations, and events, with citations and bibliographies.

Human Rights Treaties and Documents

University of Minnesota Human Rights Library: Documents and materials including treaties and UN documents, topical and party lists for treaties, bibliographies and research guide links.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:

UN Audiovisual Library of International Law: The Historic Archives has major treaties with introductory notes, procedural history with linked documents, preparatory documents listed chronologically with links, and status. The Lecture series includes videos with bibliographies. The Research Library includes links to treaty collections, jurisprudence, and international law publications.  United Nations Human Rights Treaties: Treaty texts, includes amendments and new treaties. Documents are arranged by an extensive list of themes and subject matters, and by treaty article. The documents include concluding observations, articles, jurisprudence, general comments and recommendations.

Council of Europe Treaty SeriesComplete List of Council of Europe Treaties, and the European Convention on Human Rights and its protocols. 

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

United Nations Human Rights Treaty Bodies

Treaty Bodies:

United Nations Human Rights Treaty Bodies include:

the Human Rights Committee (CCPR)

the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR)

the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

the Committee Against Torture (CAT)

the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

the Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW)

the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD)

the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED)

Treaty Body Documents and Reports:

Their documents include core documents, concluding observations, country visits reports, the Universal Periodic Review (peer review), states party reports, and jurisprudence (individual complaint resolution). Reports document human rights abuses and concerns, and the country's steps to implement the human rights treaties, including legislation, caselaw, and agency information.

UN Treaty Bodies Search: Find documents by state, committee, document type, and date.

Universal Human Rights Index: Country-specific information from the Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures, and Universal Periodic Review. Search for annotations by keywords, region or state, document type, treaty body, right, or affected persons.

Treaty Bodies list: Browse reports by committee, type of report, or country.

Human Rights Council Special Rapporteurs: Special mandate resolutions and reports by country and theme.


Individuals may bring complaints about violations of their rights under the human rights treaties through the UN Treaty Bodies.  Not all treaty body complaint mechanisms have entered into force.

OHCHR Jurisprudence database: Search individual complaints from the treaty bodies by keyword.

Centre for Civil and Political Rights: Documents on the ICCPR, including state reports, human rights committee documents, and concluding observations. The Database on Decisions has tables of jurisprudence of the Committee, with filters for searching include country, year, keyword, and article.

Human Rights Committee Jurisprudence table: Browse decisions with subject matter and procedural issues listed.

The International Justice Research Center has news and calendars of the international courts and human rights treaty bodies, with the reports and documents before the tribunals linked.

Human Rights Treaty Bodies Individual Communications: Procedures for bringing complaints under the human rights treaties

Rules of Procedure of the Human Rights Committee

Information on the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, including Rules of Procedure and on Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures United Nations Human Rights Treaties: Treaty texts, includes amendments and protocols. Documents arranged in an extensive list of themes and subject matters, and by treaty article. Documents in the database include concluding observations, articles, jurisprudence, general comments and recommendations. However, the database has not been recently updated.


Other Human Rights Reports and Papers

State Department Country Reports on Human Rights: Retrieve individual country reports or build reports on issues across countries. See Appendices C and D for tables of ratifications of human rights treaties.

HuriSearch: Human rights search engine.  Searches the websites of 3000 human rights organizations for papers and articles from IGOs, NGOs ,national human rights institutions, and academic institutions. Enter a simple search to reach a search page with more options, including searching by organization, collection, and format.

Gender Jurisprudence Collections (part of American University's War Crimes Research Office Jurisprudence Collection): Jurisprudence and background documents from international criminal courts and tribunals, cases involving sexual and gender-based violence (case summaries and full-text documents). The collection is free, but registration and log-in are required.

Legislationline (OSCE and ODIHR): International norms and domestic European legislation on human rights topics. Search by topic (anti-discrimination, freedom of religion) or country. Legislation is usually available in English translation.

ICTJ International Center for Transitional Justice: Documents and publications related to work pursuing accountability for past human rights abuses.

Hein Online's World Constitutions Illustrated: Current and previous constitutions, in official languages and English translations, plus law review articles and treatises with constitutional commentary, including on human rights provisions. Links are provided to country reports and studies.

World DataBank: Create tables using statistics, from international organizations including the World Bank, on world development indicators and global development finance.  Statistics are available on gender, population, health and nutrition, education, worldwide governance and rule of law.

Subject Guide