By Subject
International Human Rights Research

This guide provides an overview of international human rights research tools at the Hastings Law Library and on the Internet. It includes information about indexes, books, periodicals, and websites with useful human rights information. The resources listed should give you a good start on your research and lead you to more specific documents and materials with in-depth subject-specific human rights information.

This Guide is organized by subject. If you are looking for specific documents produced by a particular organization, see the UC Hastings Research Guide to International Human Rights (Organization/Jurisdiction).

Where to Start

These will give you a general overview of the topic, and provide you with citations to find further information.


Collection of Human Rights Documents


Compilations of Human Rights Resources




Some treaty databases available on Lexis:

Some treaty databases available on Westlaw:

Locating Other Important Human Right Books

Hastings has a very good collection of recent human rights publications. To find books on your subject of interest, search the library's catalog. You might try a "keyword" search to locate a few useful titles, and then you can select "s" to find similar titles cataloged by subject.

Note: If you simply want to browse the library's collection of human rights titles, the following call numbers might be helpful:

  • HQ503-1742 (family, gender, and women)
  • JC571-599 (topics relating to human rights issues by region or country)
  • K3230-3240 (international law, asylum, and refugees)
  • K3242-3585 (includes minority rights, indigenous peoples, and environmental justice)
  • KDZ (Inter-American and Latin American human rights issues)
  • KJC5130-5170 (human rights issues in Europe)

To locate books available in other libraries, search MELVYL® (the combined University of California library catalog), WorldCat on FirstSearch, or other online library catalogs.

Locating Periodical Articles

There are several indexes you can use to search for human rights articles in legal periodicals. The primary indexes are Current Index to Legal Periodicals , Index to Legal Periodicals and Books , and Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals . All three of these indexes can be searched in print or online. For more details about these and other indexes (including Lexis, Westlaw, and Internet links), consult the Journal Preemption Check Guide at the library homepage or ask a Reference Librarian for assistance.

It might also be useful to search  AND Westlaw Full-Text Law Reviews . Although there is a lot of overlap, you may want to search both Lexis and Westlaw since their databases include many different articles. [Note: A full-text law review search will only cover law review articles written since the mid-1990s, and it will not include as many journals as a search using one of the indexes mentioned above.]

(Note: For additional periodicals in the Hastings collection, search the Library Catalog using the subjects "Human Rights - Periodicals" or "Civil Rights - Periodicals".)


  • Weissbrodt, David and Hoffman, Marci. "Bibliography for Research on International Human Rights Law" - 6 Minn. J. Global Trade 200 (Winter 1997)
  • Cook, Rebecca J. and Valerie L. Oosterveld. "A Select Bibliography of Women's Human Rights" - 44 Am. U. L. Rev. 1429 (1995)
  • Perkins, Steven C. "Guide to Researching International Human Rights Law" - 24 Case W. Res. J. Int'l L. 379 (1992)
  • Louis-Jacques, Lyonette and Weissbrodt, David. "Bibliography for Research on International Human Rights Law" - 13 Hamline L. Rev. 673 (1990)
  • Vincent-Daviss, "Human Rights Law: A Research Guide to the Literature, Part I: International Law and the United Nations" - 14 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 209 (Fall 1981)
  • Vincent-Daviss, Human Rights Law: A Research Guide to the Literature - Part II: International Protection of Refugees and Humanitarian Law" - 15 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 211 (Winter 1982)
By Organization/Jurisdiction
Where to Start
To find a topic or to get started on your research, you might want to look at Hastings Law Library Human Rights Research Guide, or browse the topics covered in the Encyclopedia of Human Rights, 2nd edition (JC571 E67 1996; Reserve stacks), or scan the topics covered at the University of Minnesota's Human Rights Library .
Finding Books
You can search the Encore for print titles at the Hastings Law Library. You can search other Library Catalogs (including MELVYL®) for additional print resources at local libraries. Or you can search "WorldCat" on FirstSearch to find out if any books exist on your topic at any library worldwide. (Note: FirstSearch is only available from computers on campus.) If you do find a book on your topic that we don't own at Hastings, you can submit a request to have the book borrowed by Hastings through Inter-Library Loan --- Books (ILL). It can take up to three weeks to get books from ILL, so plan ahead.
Finding Journal Articles
Finding a journal article on your topic can be a great way to start your research or to solidify an important point in your paper. The library has created a useful guide to finding journal articles that should answer most of your questions about how to find articles in law reviews and other publications.
Getting Research Help
The Reference Librarians are available to help you plan your research strategy and to help you find the resources that might be useful in your papers. Either stop by the reference desk, chat with the reference librarian, or if you have a more complicated question, e-mail Vince Moyer, and make an appointment to discuss your research.
Research Guides

The library has published a series of legal research guides covering topics that might be relevant when you are doing your human rights research. Topics include:

ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law: Human Rights

Organizations and Information

United Nations Human Rights Resources & Documents

Print, CD-Rom & Microfiche Resources

Internet Resources
International Labor Organization

Keep in mind that there are books, websites and index entries to journal articles that spell International Labour Organisation as 'Labor' and/or 'Organization'. Here is the main page for the International Labour Organisation, click on the ILO Information Resources page for links to conventions, recommendations and statistics.

Criminal Courts & Criminal Tribunals

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the first permanent court capable of trying
individuals accused of the most serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The treaty that established the ICC, the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002, and provisional headquarters for the Court were opened shortly thereafter. The ICC is expected to begin investigating cases by 2004. Use this website to read recent documents, press releases and fact sheets.

Regional Human Rights Resources

United States Government Documents on Human Rights


  • Hearings from the 41st Congress (1869) to current are available in microfiche. (This collection also includes a few hearings prior to 1869.)
  • LexisNexis and Westlaw include statements of witnesses at hearings before Committees of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and Joint Committees from 1993 to date.
  • To locate hearings available in the microfiche collection, use ProQuest Congressional (available to Hastings students, faculty, and staff).To view the full-text document on microfiche, please go to microfiche cabinets 2-7.
  • The Monthly Catalog is another index which can be used to locate hearings. It is available at CGP Catalog.
Congressional Reports and Documents:
  • Westlaw (LH) - For the years 1948-1989, this database contains only selected reports; from 1990 to date, it includes all congressional committee reports, including reports on bills that did not become law.
  • Lexis (LEGIS;CMTRPT) - This file contains the full text of House and Senate Committee Reports from 1990 to present.
  • ProQuest Congressional (available to Hastings students, faculty, and staff) - This database provides the full text of committee reports from 1989 to present.
  • CIS microfiche set (1789 to current) - KF49 .C622: Micrographics cabinets #1-5
  • For recent reports available on the Internet:
    • THOMAS: 104th Congress (1995) to present.
    • GPO ACCESS: 104th Congress (1995) to present.
Congressional Research Service Reports:
  • Congressional Research Service (CRS) provide valuable insight into how Congress makes decisions and are excellent sources for determining historical and current legal frameworks on domestic and international issues.
  • Sample reports:
    • Kurds in Iraq: Status, Protection, and Prospects: 94-423-F
    • U.S. Immigration Policy on Haitian Migrants: RS21349
Other Selected U.S. Publications:
Inter-American Human Rights
Some Local Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Artists Embassy International - dedicated to the universal language of the Arts for support understanding, international friendship, inter-cultural appreciation and encouragement of artists. (SF/Richmond)
  • Asian Law Caucus - promotes, advances and represents the legal and civil rights of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. (San Francisco)
  • Amnesty International - Learn about Human Rights, stay informed with RSS feeds and get involved with the local chapter.
  • Center for Justice & Accountability - works to stop torture and other serious human rights abuses around the world by helping the survivors of such abuses hold their perpetrators accountable, especially those perpetrators who live in or visit the United States. (SF)
  • Crabgrass - a small non-governmental organization based in San Francisco working globally and locally, on environmental, social justice and human rights issues. (SF)
  • Earthjustice - a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. (Oakland)
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation - a donor-supported membership organization working to protect fundamental rights regardless of technology; to educate the press, policymakers and the general public about civil liberties issues related to technology; and to act as a defender of those liberties. (SF)
  • Global Exchange - a human rights organization dedicated to promoting environmental, political, and social justice around the world. (SF)
  • Human Rights Watch - dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice...investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable...challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law. (SF)
  • Natural Heritage Institute - a non-governmental, non-profit organization founded in 1989 by a group of experienced conservation lawyers and scientists who foresaw the need for a toolkit for the next era of environmental problem solving: where the technical dimensions are more complex, the social calculus less obvious, the economics more central, the ramifications more global, and the conventional pathways less efficacious. (Berkeley)
  • Peaceworkers - a San Francisco-based international nonviolent peace organization, is the original sponsor of the proposal for a Global Nonviolent Peace Force. (SF)
  • Pesticide Action Network North America - works to replace pesticide use with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. (SF)
  • Tibet Justice Center - committed to solving the situation in Tibet peacefully, through the rule of law. (Berkeley)
  • Women's Institute for Leadership Development - to promote human rights through the conscious leadership and action of women and girls...WILD provides human rights education, engages in public advocacy, and collaborates on the adoption and implementation of international human rights standards in the United States. (SF)