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 They are still reliable sources, particularly for locating older decisions, but they are no longer updated as regularly as they once were.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.
- Bayefsky.com (UN Human Rights Treaties Jurisprudence)
Begin by selecting one of the two browsing options: by treaty or by state (country). After the page refreshes, you will be prompted to apply additional filters to generate a list of decisions. Decisions will be displayed in chronological order, beginning with the oldest. Click on the case caption to view the full text in your Web browser or to download it in PDF or MS Word format. Last updated in April, 2017.
It is also possible to search Bayefsky.com by keyword for decisions issued by treaty bodies. Be sure to select Jurisprudence from the pull-down menu to limit your search to treaty body decisions.
- University of Minnesota Human Rights Library
This Human Rights Library provides access to decisions issued by some, but not all, of the treaty bodies authorized to consider individual complaints. Decisions are displayed in chronological order, beginning with the most recent. They may be viewed in a Web browser but are not available for download. Dates of coverage vary by treaty body.