Human Rights Research

Updated Feb. 4, 2016.

See also the related Gallagher guides on:

International Cases


Agency Website Database Print
African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights Finalised Cases & Decisions, 2008-date
African human rights bodies, via Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) African Human Rights Case Law Analyser
European Court of Human Rights ECHR, 1979-date Westlaw, 1979-date [European Human Rights Reports ]

Recueil des Arrets et Decisions=Reports of Judgments and Decisions. European Court of Human Rights, 1996-2005 (VII).
KJC5138.A5 at Classified Stacks
Continues Publications de la Cour Europenne des Droits de L'Homme. Serie A. KJC5138.A5 at Classified Stacks

Information Note on the Case Law of the Court, 1998-date.
KJC5135.A16 E95 at Classified Stacks
Summarizes select cases and lists other recent judgments and court statistics.

Inter-American Commission of Human Rights IACHR, 1970-date Inter-American Yearbook on Human Rights, 1985-date.
KDZ574.A58.I57 at Classified Stacks
Inter-American Court of Human Rights Decisions and judgments searchable database
International Criminal Court Cases, 2006-
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Westlaw, 1995-July 2007

Basic Documents and Case Law, 1995 - 2012.
KZ1201.A12 I574 at Classified Stacks)

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia Westlaw, 1995-

UN Human Rights Committee Decisions and Views of the United Nations Human Rights Committee

multiple courts International Human Rights Reports, 1994-date.
K3236.2.U55 I58 at Classified Stacks
Reprints court and committee decisions, opinions, and reports from the United Nations, Council of Europe, and Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
multiple courts and committees Jurisprudence
(from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights)

Includes recommendations and findings from several UN treaty bodies:

  • Committee against Torture
  • Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • Committee on Enforced Disappearances
  • Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
  • Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Committee on the Rights of the Child
  • Human Rights Committee

Human Rights Information Bulletin, 1997-to date, three per year.
KJC5132.A13 H85 at Classified Stacks
From the Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs, Council of Europe.


Research Guides & Bibliographies

Research guides, like this one and the others listed below, are useful starting points. They identify major legal instruments, second sources, and commercial and free websites.

ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law: Human Rights
A 35-page work (PDF) that is a project of the American Society of International Law.

A specialized search tool covering more than 5,000 human rights websites, including academic institutions and intergovernmental, national, and nongovernmental organizations.

United Nations Documentation Research Guide: Special Topics: Human Rights
The general Research Guide gives an overview of types of UN documents and publications; the special topic guide covers the documentation of the various UN bodies that deal with human rights.

University of Minnesota Human Rights Library: Bibliographies and Guides
Links to over thirty different general and specialized guides.

Guide to International Human Rights Practice (4th. ed. 2004). K3240.4 G94 2004 at Reference Area
Dedicated to the memory and legacy of Joan Fitzpatrick, Richard Lillich, and Diana Vincent-Daviss. An extensive guide to international procedures for making human rights complaints within the UN and regional systems and other techniques and forums for protecting rights. Includes a "Bibliographic Essay" (Appendix A, pages 291-325) listing:

  • print and electronic sources for texts of international instruments and documents
  • bibliographies and finding aids
  • serial publications
  • practice-oriented and teaching materials and resources
  • works on human rights activities of nongovernmental organizations
  • an explanation of code numbers and letters used with UN documents
  • sources on the International Labor Organization, international tribunals, refugees, and regional protection of human rights.

"Bibliography for Research on International Human Rights Law," in Selected International Human Rights Instruments and Bibliography for Research on International Human Rights Law at 311-454 (3d ed. 2001).
K3240.4 .N392 2001 at Classified Stacks
Includes citations to primary sources, books, articles, UN documents, and electronic sources.

Jack Tobin & Jennifer Green, Guide to Human Rights Research.
K3236.T63 1994 at Reference Office
A very helpful introduction to human rights research with chapters on general research, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), treaties, and selected topics.

Human Rights Bibliography: United Nations Documents and Publications, 1980-1990, 5 vols.
K3236.H863 1993 at Classified Stacks
Updated by Human Rights on CD-ROM, 1993-date. Suzzallo Government Publications Reference Media. The CD-ROM covers 1980 forward, but seems to be a few years out of date.

Human Rights Bibliography (1987). Suzzallo/Allen Microform and Newspaper Collections M 2086
Comprehensive historical bibliography, including citations to thousands of primary sources, books, and journal articles.

Encyclopedia of Human Rights (2d ed. 1996).
JC571.E67 1996 at Reference Area


Treaty Compilations

In addition to the sources described on the Gallagher guides on Treaties & Other International Agreements, the following sources collect treaties on human rights.


Human Rights Treaties and Other Instruments
Organized by topic. Keyword searchable. Includes ratification information, declarations and reservations. In many cases the linked documents are available in several languages. Part of the University of Minnesota Human Rights Library.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Treaty Database
With listings by country, symbol, treaty, and type; available in English, French, and Spanish. Unfortunately the links from the OHCHR web site to a full listing of International Human Rights Instruments were not functioning as of the the latest update of this guide, but a Ratification Status Page is accessible.

Collection of International Instruments and Other Legal Texts Concerning Refugees and Others of Concern to UNHCR, 4 vols.
K3230.R45.C65 2007 at Classified Stacks
Covers refugees and asylum; statelessness; internally displaced persons; migrants; human rights; international aviation, criminal, humanitarian, and maritime law; and regional instruments concerning Africa, the middle East, Asia, the Americas, and Europe. Print version organized by theme and then instrument, with protocols following the parent instrument. Includes a short list of electronic resources in the print set following the index in each volume, with links in the online version.

The Multilaterals Project at Tufts University. See human rights under the subject division.

National links. Links to information on human rights initiatives within 245 individual nations. Maintained by the Arthur W. Diamond Law Library at Columbia Law School


The links in the book titles lead to catalog records, many of which have a Description that provides chapter headings.

International Human Rights Law Sourcebook (American Bar Association, 2014).
K3238 .I573 2014 at Classified Stacks

The Core International Human Rights Treaties.
K3238.C67 2006 at Classified Stacks

Human Rights In International Law: Basic Documents, 3d ed.
K3238.H856 2007 at Classified Stacks
A selection of instruments, mostly binding, drawn up since 1930, prepared by or within the United Nations, the International Labour Organization, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe, the Organization of American States, and the League of Arab States.

Human Rights: A Compilation of International Instruments of the United Nations includes regional instruments
K3238.A1.H845 2002 at Reference Area

International Human Rights Instruments: A Compilation of Treaties, Agreements, and Declarations of Especial Interest to the United States (2d ed.).
K3238.A1.I536 1990 at Reference Area
Includes country reservations and declarations, and select bibliographies and case citations.

Human Rights: Status of International Instruments.
K3238.H863 1987 at Reference Office
Updated by Human Rights International Instruments, Chart of Ratifications. K3238.H863 at Reference Office (1997 is most current).

"List of Publications" in Towards International Instruments for Disability Rights: The Special Case of Disabled Children 251-58.
KJC3490.A6 H86 2004 at Classified Stacks
Proceedings of a conference.

Human Rights and Prisons: A Compilation of International Human Rights Instruments Concerning the Administration of Justice.
K5519.H873 2005 at Classified Stacks
Part of a four-part series that also includes a manual, trainer's guide, and pocketbook of international human rights standards for use by prison officials.

Compendium of United Nations Standards and Norms in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
HV7431.C666 2006 at Classified Stacks
Standards and norms related to:

  • persons in custody
  • noncustodial sanctions and juvenile and restorative justice
  • legal, institutional, and practical arrangements for international cooperation
  • crime prevention and victim issues
  • good governance, the independence of the judiciary, and the integrity of criminal justice personnel



A selection of country-by-country reports on human rights practices.

U.S. State  Department

  • Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 1999 - . JC571.U48 at Reference Area & Internet
  • Annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom, 1999 - . Y 4.F 76/2:S.PRT. at Reference Area Microfiche & Internet

Amnesty International Reports
Reports listed chronologically.

Human Rights Watch
News and access to full text reports (filter by country and subject)

International Women's Rights Action Watch (IWRAW)
Reports by country and by date.


Human Rights Search Engine

HuriSearch search box

HuriSearch is a specialized search engine that covers over 5,000 human rights websites, including international governmental organizations (e.g., UNICEF), nongovernmental organizations (e.g., Amnesty International), academic centers (e.g., Duke Human Rights Center), and National Human Rights Institutions (e.g., Irish Human Rights Commission).

Advanced search lets you restrict by country, issuing organization, and type of document (e.g., HTML or PDF).

You can also run a search and then filter. For instance, when I searched for "reproductive health" and Indonesia, I found 96 documents—91 from NGOs, 5 from IGOs; 69 in HTML, 23 in PDF, and 4 in Microsoft Word. The source organization with the most documents was Indonesia's NGO Coalition for International Human Rights Advocacy (HRWG) (70).

Note: site was down as of Feb. 3, 2016, but it's worth checking back.


United Nations

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
A complicated site with a tremendous amount of useful information, including reports, resolutions, and treaties. The "documents" link connects to the "treaty bodies database" and the "charter-based bodies database." Full-text documents from the early or mid-1990s.Examples of publications include:

United Nations, Human Rights Bodies
Introduction to the UN Charter and treaty-based bodies. Links to document search, complaint procedures, reform efforts, and an index to annotations. Part of the Universal Human Rights Index of United Nations Documents.

The Law Library collects UN human rights publications and some official records of human rights-related committees and commissions.

  • Report of the Human Rights Committee, 51st session (1997) -57th session (2002). K3237.U55 A176 at Classified Stacks. Search the United Nations ODS document database and use "Human Rights Committee Report" as search terms in the "words on title" search option.
  • Official Records of the Human Rights Committee, 31st-33rd session (1987/88) - 46th-48th session (1992/93). K3237.U55 U179 at Classified Stacks. Slow to publish. Previously published as Yearbook of the Human Rights Committee, 1977/78-1987, at same call number.
  • Report. Commission on Human Rights, 50th session (1994) - 57th session (2001). JC571.U55 at Classified Stacks
  • Report. Commission on the Status of Women, 38th session (1994) - 42d session (1998) , 44th session (2000) - 46th session (2002). HQ1236 .U56 at Classified Stacks
  • Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, 12th session (1993) - 26th-27th sessions (2002), except for the 14th session (1995). HQ1236 .U55 at Classified Stacks. Search the United Nations ODS document database and use "Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women" as a phrase in the "words on title" search option.
  • Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 53d session (1998)-(2002). K3242 .U54 at Classified Stacks. Search the United Nations ODS document database and use "Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination" as a phrase in the "words on title" search option.
  • Report of the Committee Against Torture, 53d session (1998)-(2000/2001) K5410.T6 U67 at Classified Stacks. Search the United Nations ODS document database and "Report of the Committee Against Torture" as a phrase in the "words on title" search option.
  • Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 53d session (1998)-date. HV640.3 U65 at Classified Stacks. Search the United Nations ODS document database and use "Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees" as a phrase in the "words on title" search option.

See also the Yearbook on Human Rights, 1946-1972, 1975-1988. JC571.U4 at Classified Stacks.


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