Skip to main content
Lund University

Human Rights and Humanitarian Law: Peace and Security

The Raoul Wallenberg Institute's Guide to Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

Searching UN Offical Document Search (ODS) for Resolutions and Reports: A Guide and Examples: Haiti, Iraq-Kuwait war, the Suez question.

The ODS, The Official Documents System, database is a treasure trove for doing research

ODS is not a very user friendly database! It is a complex system,  but for people who know their way around peace and security and the UN, ODS is an invaluable tool because it covers every type of official UN document, some of which may be difficult to find in other places.ODS provides access to the resolutions of the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and Trusteeship Council from 1946 onwards. But that is the tool we have and we need to understand a bit about how a database is operating.

Search Tips
Omit common words (stop words) such as: and, the, of, a, an, on, in, etc in 'Match all words' searching.
Use Match all words when the search terms do not appear as a phrase in the UN documents.
Use 'Subject' Open the symbol and search for a term: Haiti question, humanitarian intervention, peacekeeping operations.

Since your are looking for documents by Security Council and mostly resolutions: S/RES




International Peace and Security, September 2017

All the tasks below are related to resolutions by Security Council (SC). Your task is to find the resolution(s), read and understand the contents but also to understand how they are phrased. You will find all the answers in the database ODS.
While searching for resolutions you will also find reports, agendas and draft resolutions.
Use this version of ODS


Elaborate with the different search boxes to nad limitations.
Syria: Find various UN documents from GA and SC that deals with the usage of chemical weapons in Syria.
From witch date is the last resolution about that issue? What is SC reaffirming that resolution?

Sanctions: Look resolution S/RES/2368 (2017) up: What is SC view on sanctions spelled out in the resolution?  What is said about sanctions in the Charter of the United Nations, Chapter VII  (even if not the word sanction is used)

Test your new knowledge:

1. Question: Find resolution 1083 from 1996. Witch state is the resolution about?  Witch resolution is SC recalling?  What does SC condemns in paragraph  6.
Liberia. Recalling res 1071 (1996) of 30 August 1996,
Condemns training, and deploying children for combat...

2. Question: Find resolutions where the subject is human rights violation in Libya.

What does SC Looking forward to

Witch para. in the UN Charter is the resolution stressing

Answer 2:

Symbol: S/res, Libya in the 'title box' and use the 'subject box'

Chapter VII

3. Question:  Find the resolution S/RES/748.
a) Which country is the Security Council addressing?
b) What is the political background to the resolution?

Answer 3:

4. Question
Security Council has adopted several resolutions concerning Syria. Find two of those on the usage of chemical weapons?

What are the numbers of the resolutions

Answer 4.

Symbol: type S/RES
Full text search-box: type chemical weapons Syria
Type of full-text search: Find all the words

S/RES/2235 (2015)
S/RES/2118 (2013)

5. Question: Find one resolutions on the situation in East Timor.

What is the symbol number?

In the text, find how many previous resolutions  SC is reaffirming


6. Question  Follow within the UN system the question of self-determination of peoples with East Timor and the role of UN as an example. You will find documents; reports and resolutions not only from Security Council but also from General Assembly and the Economic and  Social Council.
a) Find a note verbal, reports, working papers and  resolutions by GA,  Economic and Social Council and a draft resolutions by SC.

b) BUT you also need to read the resolutions by SC!
Use the index terms East Timor Question in combination with security Council and resolution and a limitation.

Answer 6:

a) In the box Word(s) in the title: East Timor and in the box Full Text Search: Self determination

Next search

Symbol number: S/res

use the index terms: self determination of the peoples

b) S/RES

East Timor question


Lena Olsson