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

UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies - Decisions on Individual Complaints

United Nations Databases

There was a time when retrieving decisions issued by UN treaty bodies from official UN websites was a time-consuming and often frustrating exercise.  Fortunately, those days are over, and the UN now offers two sophisticated, but still user-friendly databases for accessing treaty body decisions.  They are described below.

  • Treaty Body Jurisprudence
    Originally developed by the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM), this database includes decisions on admissibility and decisions on the merits issued by all treaty bodies authorized to consider individual complaints.  For greater precision, use the Detailed (Advanced) Search, which allows you to limit searches by date, by state/entity (country), by treaty body, by treaty article, by issue, and by type of decision.
  • Treaty Bodies Database
    This database, also hosted and maintained by the OHCHR, covers all types of publicly accessible documentation produced by the treaty bodies, not just decisions on individual complaints.  As with the Jurisprudence database described above, multiple pre-search filters enable users to run precise, narrowly targeted searches.  To limit search results to decisions on individual complaints, be sure to select Jurisprudence as the Document Type.

Additional Electronic Resources

Before the UN improved its in-house databases, it was often easier to locate decisions issued by UN treaty bodies using the free resources described below.  They are still reliable sources, particularly for locating older decisions, but they are no longer updated as regularly as they once were.  To locate recent decisions, use the official UN databases described above.