Skip to main content

United Nations: Human Rights

Guide to information created by the UN and the UN Family of Organizations

Introduction

The UN's work in human rights is carried out by various bodies. "Charter-Based" bodies such as The Human Rights Council and its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights were established by UN resolution.  Treaty-based bodies such as the Committee against Torture were established by multilateral treaties.

United Nations Human Rights Information

Universal Declaration of Human Rights: An Historical Record of the Drafting Process. Amazing website that presents documents in chronological order, arranged according to the various bodies that met to discuss, draft and re-draft the Declaration. 

United Nations & Human Rights Research Guide.  Detailed research guide for UN documentation on human rights, compiled by the UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library. 

United Nations Yearbook.  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 Doe Reference Collection. Each yearbook contains summaries with supporting citations of key UN activities, including several hundred pages on human rights.   

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Main office for 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 for the Human Rights Council.  

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

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.

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.

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.  

United Nations Books on Human Rights

Copyright © 2014-2016 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Except where otherwise noted, this work is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License.