Rights inherent to all, regardless nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or other status. Expressed and guaranteed by law in treaties, customary law, general principles, and other international law.
Last Updated: May 11, 2015
- A Brief Guide to Finding UN Human Rights Documents
Start here if you are unfamiliar with searching for UN Human Rights material.
- UN Bibliographic Information System (UNBISNET)
Includes both UN and non-UN sources so limit your search to UN publications. Covers documents indexed by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library at UN Headquarters in New York and the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG). Mainly 1979-present. Includes separate indexes to voting records and speeches.
- UN Documents Search of the Library of the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG)
For documents located in Geneva that are not available online via UNBISNET.
- Official Document System (ODS)
Especially useful if you already have a UN document symbol. Provides access to resolutions of the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, and the Trusteeship Council (1946-present) and all types of official UN documentation (1993-present). Older documents are added daily.
- Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Bodies
OHCHR provides expertise and support to the different human rights monitoring mechanisms in the UN – the charter-based bodies and the treaty-based bodies. The charter-based bodies include the former Commission on Human Rights, the Human Rights Council, and Special Procedures. The ten treaty-based bodies monitor implementation of the core international human rights treaties, including the Human Rights Committee that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its State parties.
- UN Human Rights Charter-based Bodies Database
Searchable by document symbol or UN charter-based human rights body with limits for session number, type of document, country, subject, and mandate
- UN Human Rights Treaty-based Bodies Database
Searchable by convention (i.e. treaty), country, type of document, and document symbol, with limits for date range. No keyword search. Covers documents produced by official UN treaty-based bodies. (For list, see Human Rights Bodies—Treaty-based bodies.)
- Universal Human Rights Index of United Nations Documents
Information from the seven treaty bodies’ monitoring of the implementation of the core international human rights treaties (2000-present) and the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council (2006-present). Includes basic search—by keyword limited by country, by rights, and/or by body—advanced search; and direct access to documents by country, rights, or body.
- International Court of Justice (ICJ)
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946.
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
A milestone document in the history of human rights, it sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on December 10, 1948 General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations.
- The European Court of Human Rights
An international court set up in 1959, it rules on individual or State applications alleging violations of the civil and political rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights. Since 1998 it has sat as a full-time court and individuals can apply to it
- European Union Human Rights Policies
- Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
European Union text on human rights and fundamental freedoms, adopted in 2000.
- Organization of American States (OAS) Human Rights
The inter-American human rights system was born with the adoption of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man in April 1948. In 1969, the American Convention on Human Rightswas adopted and entered into force in 1978.
- Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)
A principal and autonomous organ of the OAS whose mission is to promote and protect human rights in the American hemisphere. It is composed of seven independent members who serve in a personal capacity. Created by the OAS in 1959, the Commission has its headquarters in Washington, D.C.
- Inter-American Court of Human Rights
Created by the American Convention on Human Rights, the Convention defines the functions and procedures of the Court.
- African Commission on Human and People's Rights
Established in July 1987 in Addis Ababba, Ethiopia with its secretariat based in Banjul, Gambia. The main role of the Commission is to monitor the implementation of the African Charter African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.