The United Nations & Human Rights
The following is a brief guide to some of the government agencies worldwide producing information on human rights. In addition to the United Nations, see also below the sections on NGOs, US Government sources, and other International Government Organizations.
To get started finding International Governmental Organization (IGO) human rights information you may wish to try the following IGO Custom Search Engine, which was initiated by David Oldenkamp, International Documents Librarian at Indiana University, and searches 392 urls of International Governmental Organizations (IGOs).
United Nations Yearbook. Searchabler online compilation of the primary UN reference volume, with the full text of the entire series from 1946. The current year is excluded but is available in print in the Government Reference Collection. Each yearbook contains summaries with supporting citations of key UN activities, including several hundred pages on human rights.
Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General. Contains the current status of over 500 multilateral treaties including country declarations and reservations. Part of the United Nations Treaty Collection. Select "databases" from the top and then select MTDSG.
ReliefWeb. Humanitarian crisis and emergency awareness service administered by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Refworld Collection of country information, reports, policy documents, national legislation, position papers, and more on refugees. Use the country name and select "filter" to refine results.
United Nations & Human Rights Research Guide. Detailed research guide for UN documentation on human rights, compiled by the UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library.
United Nations Human Rights Treaties. (From Bayefsky.Com). Provides access to documents from the UN human rights treaty system. Materials include the text of treaties, documents from the UN treaty bodies, information on reform of the system, and other information.
United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Main office for information on the human rights activities of the UN. Primary features include: the Human Rights Bodies section which contains information about Charter-based Bodies as well as the Treaty-based Bodies. The Charter-based Bodies include information and documents regarding the Human Rights Council. The Treaties-based Bodies section provides extensive information on each of the human rights treaty bodies (or committees - see below).
Universal Human Rights Index of United Nations Documents Gateway designed "to facilitate access to human rights documents issued by the UN human rights treaty bodies and the special procedures of the Human Rights Council." Search by country, by rights and by human rights body.
The UN Secretary-General's Database on Violence Against Women Includes laws, policies, programs, institutional mechanisms, research, statistical data, country pages, good practices, and a search mechanism.
United Nations Treaty Body Database. Searchable database all the documents submitted to or issued by UN treaty-based monitoring committees (see below). Includes state "periodic" reports and UN commmitte concluding observations, as well as NGO documents if an NGO disagrees with the State report submitted.
- Human Rights Committee
- Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
- Committee against Torture
- Committee on the Rights of the Child
- Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Worker and Members of Their Families
- Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Universal Periodic Review Database. Universal periodic review mechanism intended to summarize and review the human rights record of every UN member country (regardless of whether they are signatory to the treaties listed above) once every four years.
Violence Against Women Database. Provides information "on the extent, nature and consequences of all forms of violence against women, and on the impact and effectiveness of policies and programmes for, including best practices in, combating such violence." There is an advanced search engine and a page for each Member State.
NGOs & Human Rights
This search engine was developed by David Oldenkamp at Indiana University and James Jacobs at Stanford. The site seaches NGOs with Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and other NGO directories on the Internet.
Amnesty International. Contains new document summaries, publications from AI (including the annual country reports) and links.Their current annual report is available on their site, while older editions are available in the Main (Gardner) Stacks.
Asylumlaw.org. Includes human rights reports on several countries providing resources for case support (country condition information), legal research, and links to other relevant sites in the Case Support section.
The Advocates for Human Rights. In-depth coverage on human rights issues in the US from a legal perspective:
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) US Human Rights Page. ACLU Human Rights Program (HRP) dedicated to holding the U.S. government accountable to universal human rights principles in addition to rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
China’s Report on US Human Rights Violations. Interesting anc challenging account of United States Human Rights violations according to Xinhua, the official Chinese news source.
Human Rights Watch. One of the premier human rights NGOs worldwide. Browse of search human rights related publications by country and/or topic. See also Human Rights Watch US
Human Traficking Search. Search engine focusing on human trafficking, including human trafficking, child labor, bonded labor and sex slavery. The site can be searched or browsed and much of the content is full text.
International Crisis Group. Independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict. See especially the Crisis Watch Database for a 12-page monthly bulletin designed to provide an update on significant situations of conflict or potential conflict around the world.
National Economic and Social Rights Initiative. Comprehensive and up-to-date news and info about economic and social rights in the US.
OneWorld Online. OneWorld is "dedicated to promoting human rights and sustainable development by harnessing the democratic potential of the Internet." It contains news, thematic guides and other resources.
Protection Project. Documents and disseminates information about trafficking in persons, especially women and children, with a focus on national and international laws, case law, and implications of trafficking on foreign policy.
US Human Rights Network. Latest info on US Human Rights Issues. The "Resources" Link gives updates on current US issues.
United States Government & Human Rights
ProQuest Congressional. One stop shop for U.S. congressional publications. Abstracts of congressional publications back to 1789, including full text of published Congressional Hearings from 1824-present, Committee Prints from 1830, Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports from 1916-present, the United States Congressional Serial Set from 1789-present, and some legislative histories.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Informative annual report on human rights practices for all countries worldwide from the United States Department of State.
ProQuest Legislative Insight. Provides access to more than 18,000 professionally researched legislative histories of US Law. Histories include the Public Law itself, all versions of related bills, law-specific Congressional Record excerpts, committee hearings, reports and prints, Presidential signing statements, and CRS reports, from 1929-present.
Other International Human Rights Organizations
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights. Quasi-judicial body tasked with promoting and protecting human rights throughout the African continent.
Council of Europe. See especially the European Court of Human Rights, the only international court where and invidual may bring a human rights complaint forward to an international court.
European Union (EU). Economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe.
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. World's largest regional security organization offering documentation in the fields of early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, post-conflict rehabilitation. See the section on Human Rights.
Organization of American States. International Organization of member states in the Americas. The section on human rights containts key OAS human rights commissions and documents.