Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Treaty Research

This guide describes resources and methods for locating and updating treaties of the United States and other countries.

Status Information & Updating (Multilateral Treaties)

Once you have located the text of a multilateral treaty, you will need to determine its current status.  On what date did the treaty enter into force?  Which countries are state parties to the treaty?  Have any countries ratified the treaty subject to one or more declarations or reservations?  Have there been any subsequent amendments to the treaty text?  To answer these questions, consult the following resources:   

  • Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General (MTDSG).
    MTDSG is the most comprehensive resource for updating the status of multilateral treaties.  It covers over 560 treaties that have been deposited with the U.N. secretary-general since 1946. Treaties are arranged chronologically by subject matter, with each chapter of the MTDSG corresponding to a particular subject.  Note that amendments to treaties (often called protocols) are listed separately.  To locate a treaty record, click on the relevant chapter to browse or search by title for the name of the treaty.  Each treaty record contains:
    • Basic Information about the treaty, including:
      • Its date of entry into force.
      • The current number of signatories and state parties.
      • The volume number of the U.N. Treaty Series in which the text of the treaty is published.
      • A link to download the text of the treaty in PDF format.
    • An alphabetical list of participating countries, including dates of signature and dates of ratification, accession, and succession;
    • The full texts of all declarations, reservations, and objections made by each state party.
       
  • Regional Treaty Collections.
    Several regional online treaty collections provide regularly updated status information for multilateral treaties.
     
    • Council of Europe Treaties
      Includes more than 200 multilateral European treaties covering a wide variety of subjects ranging from cultural protection to cross-border legal cooperation and human rights.
       
    • Organization of American States Treaties
      Includes dozens of multilateral treaties concluded among countries in the Western Hemisphere on a wide range of subjects.
       
  • Treaty Collections by Subject.
    The subject-specific online treaty collections listed below provide regularly updated status information for multilateral treaties.  Other subject-specific treaty collections also may provide status information.