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Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

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

Using UN Databases

Using UN Databases


The UN Documentation Research Guide presents an overview of selected UN documents, publications, databases, and websites.

United Nations documentation reflects the complexity of the UN as an organization. In the Table of Contents, you will find the pattern of the usage of symbol numbers.

Research Guide 

Research Guide on Human Rights

Databases- Find documents from UN: General Assembly, Security Council, ECOSOC

UN Digital Library

What is ODS

  • Full-text database of official UN documents
    Available to the general public
    Resolutions going back to 1946 (Security Council, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council)

What can be found using ODS?

  • Major Security Council documents (i.e resolutions) going back to 1946 and General Assembly documents going back to 1985 and documents from ECOSOC
  • Draft resolutions
  • Meeting records (PVs and SRs) – may come sometime later reports

Limitations in ODS

  • ODS uses controlled language (UNBIS thesaurus) and not necessarily those you normally use.
  • You might key in “children’s rights” but the database is using the “rights of the child”
  • Do not allow search after bodies (Security Council, Human Rights Council). Go to the websites for each entity.
  • Useful when searching for countries

Some examples:
Use the format to fille in your query to retrieve the document(s)
Word in title-box:
Transitional justice 

Full text box 
Ex: Anaïs MARIN (Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus)

To find the documents with the symbol numbers


When citing it is enough to use the symbol number but it is a help for the reader to have the title of the document as well. But to retrieve the correct document the symbol number is enough.

Finding documents related to human rights

Charter Bases Bodies: 

Charter Bases Bodies Database
Tick the different options

Ex: You are looking for a summary Record from Armenia

Tick these words

Human Rights Council+ Summery Record+Armenia


Treaty Bases Bodies:

UN Treaty Body database

Tick the different options



United Nations Human Rights Treaties

United Nations Human Rights Treaties by Anna Bayefsky
No updates after 2011! 
The website is userfriendly and gives you a quick understanding of the structure of the treaty bodies documentation

Human Rights Library-Minnesota University