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Faculty of Social Sciences



for  Human Rights

There are a good number of FREE Internet resources which cover the subject of civil and human rights, refugees & asylum seekers. 

Much of the information is full-text, but you must bear in mind that some sites are campaigning in nature and so should be viewed accordingly.

See also: Transitional Justice
See also: Gateway sites

Highly Recommended sites:

United Nations

Much of the UN site deals with subjects which will be useful, but see especially the sections on Human Rights which contains a very useful Documents Research Guide and the main page of the OHCHR.

See also: The International Law Section on the UN homepage, which will provide links to the International Criminal Courts, the International Court of Justice, and the Tribunals on Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

See also: the section on Humanitarian Affairs, which contains links to the UN High Commissioner on Refugees.

Within this site, see: Refworld - a collection of full-text databases which draws together the most comprehensive and reliable refugee information resources available. Especially useful is the Legal Information section and choose the Type tab for Case Law resources from national and international courts dealing with asylum and refugee issues.

  Office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights

See: Countries - Human Rights in the World menu where you can find the documents relating to, and ratifications & reservations for the full list of member countries. Just use the map to select the region and country you want.

See also: Your Human Rights section which defines what human rights actually are and looks at human rights, issue by issue.  It also has a International Law section which contains the full text of a large range of conventions, protocols and treaties.

The Human Rights Bodies section covers all the bodies created by Charter or Treaty, with search links to both the Treaty and Charter Body databases. However, specific documents can be difficult to find on this revamped version. You may have more luck with an older version:

http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf  for Treaty Body Database.

http://www.unhchr.ch/Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/ for the Charter Body Database

The Publications and Resources section contain an extensive range of Factsheets, Reference information and more links to Treaties, Conventions and Protocols.

United Nations Official Document System (ODS)

Full text of United Nations parliamentary documents (including resolutions and decisions) issued at United Nations Headquarters in New York and the United Nations Office in Geneva since 1993 as well as at the United Nations Office in Vienna since 1997.

However, like the Treaty and Charter Bodies databases, the ODS can be difficult to use and may not find the full text of the document you want. If you have the document reference, it can sometimes be faster to use an internet search engine such as Google or Yahoo

University of Minnesota Human Rights Library  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

One of the largest collections of more than 21,000 core human rights documents, International Human Rights Instruments, including 238 human rights treaties and other primary declarations, conventions and protocols.

As well as International treaties and other UN documents, it has an very detailed page of Regional Materials, relating to Africa, Inter-America, Europe, and the Arab States.

Excellent subject organised links page. A very good one-stop-shop for most international law requirements.

Netherlands Institute of Human Rights - SIM Documentation Centre

Excellent Case Law source. It has multiple easy to use databases which contain full-text judgments from the Human Rights Committee ('CCPR'), the Committee Against Torture ('CAT'), the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination ('CERD') and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women ('CEDAW') as well as judgments of the European Court of Human Rights ('ECHR').

The case law of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was recently included and is integrated in the case law database of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) ('Tribunals'). 

Finally the general comments and general recommendations of the UN treaty bodies are available ('General Comments').

Council of Europe

The Council of Europe is the continent's oldest political organisation, founded in 1949 and comprising 46 countries - not all within the boundaries of 'Europe'. It is distinct from the European Union, but all member of the EU are also members of the COE.

The Human Rights section covers all aspects of HR within the European framework, with access to the text of the Convention, European Social Charter, the European Commissioner for Human Rights, the ECHR and much more.

The Legal Affairs section gives access to the Treaty Office, where you can get the full text of Conventions, Protocols and Charters 

European Court of Human Rights

Part of the Council of Europe and set up in response to the European Convention on Human Rights in 1959.

It provides information on the background, make up and jurisdiction of the Court, news releases, information on pending cases, and access to basic texts, such as the European Convention on Human Rights.

See also: the excellent HUDOC database for full text Series B decisions from 1961 - 

Organisation of the American States

The OAS site includes information about the Commission and Court of Human Rights.

Click on the Sectors & Topics menu at the top of the page and choose Human Rights for access to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

African Commission on Human and People's Rights

Gives the relevant charters and conventions and under Legal Instruments. Under Official Documents, amongst other materials there is the full text of  Sierra Leone Truth & Reconciliation Commission report.

International Committee of the Red Cross

Especially useful site for locating material dealing with all legal aspects to do with conflict and war. See: Humanitarian Law drop down menu for treaties and a break down of issues such as missing persons, protected persons or  property, women and war, children etc. See also: excellent International Humanitarian Law  (IHL) database dealing with applicable treaties, conventions and protocols. There is also full text access to the International Review of the Red Cross from 1995- as well and a very good links section.

International Federation of  Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Founded in 1919, the International Federation comprises 181 member Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, a Secretariat in Geneva and more than 60 delegations strategically located to support activities around the world.

This site contains mission documents, archive publications and links to other national and international humanitarian sites.


OSCE - Organisations for Security & Co-operation in Europe

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
(OSCE) is a pan-European security body whose 55 participating
States span the geographical area from Vancouver to Vladivostok.

The Resources section contains a Documents Library, which contains full text to most OSCE documents, factsheets and publications; Features, and Photo archives.

See links also to Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and OSCE High Commissioners on National Minorities


GlobaLex is an electronic legal publication dedicated to international and foreign law research. Published by the Hauser Global Law School Program at NYU School of Law.

For excellent guides on a range of international law issues, including a very good guide to the United Nations and its constituent parts, see the International Law research links. The Hauser homepage also contains  links to other very useful full text working papers, including the Jean Monnet series.

International Labour Organization

UN specialized agency which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights.

See: Information Resources on the right-hand side for  conventions, statistics, ratifications and much more information on the topic of labour rights and protections

American Society of International Law

See the Research Tools section.

Excellent resource of primary texts, documents and treaties. Searchable EISIL database for information sources.

See also: ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law - chapter on Human Rights.

PICT - Project on International Courts and Tribunals

".. the only internationally based effort to address, with a comprehensive and holistic approach, all existing international courts and tribunals. "

Contains access to over 20 courts, full-text publications, Research Themes, with relevant PICT articles and bibliographies, news and other full-text material.

NI Human Rights Commission

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is a statutory body established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998. It contains publications, some cases, legislation and policy documents covering their role in civil rights and equality in Northern Ireland.

Committee on the Administration of Justice

Full text of key documents plus a full list of publications under a variety of topics relating to Northern Ireland, e.g. policing, equality, a Bill of Rights and criminal justice. Excellent links page

Other recommended sites

Directgov  the main UK government website.

Responsibility for the successful implementation of the Human Rights Act 1998 into UK Law has  moved from the Department for Constitutional Affairs to the Ministry of Justice. However, the DCA still has up to date information, e.g.  news, Legislation, statistics and some full text publications.

See Foreign and Commonwealth Office for a breakdown of human rights in the foreign policy of  the UK government.

Human Rights Internet (HRI)

A thematically organized resource guides (e.g., women's rights, children's rights, UN processes), publications (many related to UN processes), information on NGOs and searchable databases.

Excellent links to UN treaties and declarations, divided by subject. 

Amnesty International

Useful country by country information. Click on Library to search archive from 1996 and to get access to the annual reports. Also contains very useful links section broken down by subject.

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch is the largest human rights organization based in the United States. 

This site is broken down by region or issue and contains guide, documents, briefings and press releases. 

Women's Human Rights Resources.

A project of the Bora Laskin Law Library at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. The site is produced in consultation and collaboration with law librarians, lawyers, students, researchers, activists and human rights experts around the world. It includes a bibliographical database of articles, documents and other information covering all aspects of civil, political and human rights for women and girls.

Frederick K. Cox International Law Center War Crimes Research Portal

Produced by Case Western Reserve School of Law. Pretty comprehensive collection of web resources on the topic of war crimes, broken into a useful subject listing, but searchable also by keyword. The site also contains full text memoranda written of a variety of war crime topics and a bibliography of relevant books and articles. 

Human Rights Program

Run under the auspices of the Harvard Law school, this site contains, guides to research, full text publications, lectures, speeches and discussions.
ICAR - Information Centre about Asylum and Refugees in the UK

Run by the School of  Social Science and Public Policy at King's College London.  It contains useful statistical information; the Resource section contains a searchable database of information dealing with all aspects of Asylum in the UK and the site also includes a useful downloadable guide to researching this subject area.

Refugee Study Centre

Part of the University of Oxford's International Development Centre at Queen Elizabeth House. Full text access to their in-house journal - Forced Migration Review . Also available are full text working papers and links to relevant useful websites.
Legal Action Group

A combined group of lawyers interested in expanding access to justice for all. Site contains information human rights within the UK. The human rights section contains links to LAG articles and guidance on the Human Rights Act 1998

University of Essex Human Rights Centre

Some of the Publications are available to download.

Access to the Children and Armed Conflict site with information on such issues as child soldiers.

Under the Student Resources section, The Library provides a human Rights Directory. some of the information is Essex specific but others are useful guides and links.


Campaign group which has been "working to protect and promote rights and freedoms since 1934".
It contains full text documents, policy papers and articles on civil rights - but be aware of the campaigning element of the site.


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Last updated: 07/07/10
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