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Human Rights Legal Research Guide: United Nations

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

  The High Commissioner for Human Rights is the principle person responsible for coordinating all human rights affairs at the United Nations. This Office provides substantive and technical support to the human rights bodies and mechanisms.  

Finding U.N. Documents

Background Sources

Treaty Bodies of the United Nations

Charter Bodies of the United Nations

The Human Rights Council is responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the world. Use the sources below to access documents. 
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is another review mechanism which involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years.  Documents on which the reviews are based include: a “national report” by the State under review and reports of independent human rights experts and groups. A fact sheet on this process is available here. Use the tools below to search for UPR reports.
Special Procedures is a review mechanism under the Human Rights Council that examines, and reports on human rights situations in specific countries (country mandates), or on major phenomena of human rights violations worldwide (thematic mandates). Use the information tools below to search for reports of the Special Procedures.
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is a major UN organ that deals with human rights and fundamental freedoms. Use the resource tools below to access documents and reports.  
The General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the United Nations.  It produces numerous documents on human rights issues. There are six Main Committees, two of which deal with human rights issues. The Third Committee responds to social, humanitarian and cultural matters.  The Sixth Committee responds to international legal matters.  Use the resource tools below to access their documents.  
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