Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Human Rights Law Research Guide

This guide will lead researchers through primary materials and introduce important secondary sources. While general human rights sources are covered in the guide, special attention is paid to resources that specifically address international women's human

IGOs and NGOs Concerned with Human Rights

Selected Inter-Governmental Organizations

Listed below are some of the most important inter-governmental organizations whose work includes the promotion and protection of human rights through the drafting of treaties and other international legal instruments.  Most of these IGOs also monitor compliance with international human rights instruments and/or adjudicate claims tha arise thereunder, either directly or through one or more autonomous subsidiary entities. 

United Nations Entities

Regional Inter-Governmental Organizations

The ICRC and International Humanitarian Law

The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) is a unique institution (neither an IGO nor an NGO) based in Switzerland, which has a mandate to protect the victims of international and internal armed conflicts under the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols. 

The ICRC's website provides access to the most comprehensive online collection of primary materials on International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which governs the conduct of armed conflict and aims to protect those not participating in the hostilities.  Highlights of this invaluable online resource include:

Selected Non-Governmental Organizations

Listed below are some of the most prominent non-governmental organizations devoted to protecting a broad range of human rights in countries throughout the world.  In addition to engaging in advocacy, these organizations also produce credible research and reports on human rights issues and abuses.

  • Amnesty International
    • Visit the What We Do page for information about specific human rights issues.
    • Advanced Search - Enter keywords to locate AI's reports on human rights in specific jurisdictions.  Use the filters on the left to limit by Content Type (research), Topic, Country, and Resource Type (report or annual report).
  • Human Rights Watch
    • Use the main menu bar to browse by country or by topic.
    • Use the Publications Tool to search for reports by keyword and filter by country, by date, and by topic.
    • Visit the About Our Research page for information about HRW's research methodologies.
  • Human Rights First
    • Visit the Topics and the Campaigns pages for information about specific human rights issues.
    • Visit the Resources page and scroll down to search by keyword for fact sheets, issue briefs, and other publications.  Use the filters to limit by topic, campaign, and media type.

Tools for Identifying Additional NGOs That Focus on Human Rights

In addition to the well-known NGOs listed above, there are hundreds of others that focus on human rights generally or on specific issues related to human rights.  Some of these NGOs operate on a worldwide basis, while others are regional or national in scope.  Some NGOs focus primarily on advocacy, while others are actively engaged in monitoring and documenting human rights abuses.  Use the tools described below to help you identify NGOs that focus on human rights.

  • Worldwide NGO Directory
    Maintained by the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO), this online directory offers one of the most comprehensive free listings of NGOs operating at the international, regional, and national levels. 
    • To browse geographically, click on one of the geographic regions listed below the map. 
    • Or open the Search Template to search by keyword or area of focus.  Limit by region or country, if desired.
  • Human Rights NGO Links
    The University of Minnesota's Human Rights Library maintains this list of links to NGOs that focus, in whole or in part, on human rights issues.