Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.
The United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe Backgrounders are a great resource for locating UN documents and sites covering international law topics and selected countries
These guides provide links to treaties, UN resolutions, UN press releases, UN reports and UN Web sites. Many thanks to the UNRIC Library staff for posting these useful guides online.
UNRIC Library Backgrounders
Backgrounders are available for the following countries:
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Backgrounders are available for the following topics:
Global Food Crisis
Human Rights Council
Millennium Development Goals
Participation of the European Union in the work of the United Nations
Protection of civilians in armed conflict
Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
Eileen Chamberlain Donohoe, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council, spoke this afternoon at Stanford Law School. She articulated five goals for the U.S. in the upcoming years at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
1. Improve the Council’s ability to respond in real time to human rights emergencies, including taking preventative measures.
2. Support victims of human rights abuses.
3. Promote a more diverse mix of issues that are addressed by the Council.
4. Lower resistance to investigations of violations committed by individual countries.
5. Promote human rights defenders in all jurisdictions.
United Nations Databases and Web Sites for Legal Research and Education
Steven Robert Miller (Indian Univ. Law Library)
Res Gestae, The Journal of the Indiana State Bar Association
Vol.54 # 3 , pp.12-20 (October 2010)
Nice article providing an introduction to major UN databases, such as UNTS, UN-I-QUE, and the UN AudioVisual Library of International Law, ASIL’s ILEX database of U.S. cases, and IALS’s FLARE index of Treaties. All web sites are free.
Hat tip to Paul
In February the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched the Gender and Land Rights Database.
hat tip to Don Ford.
From the FAO press release:
The Gender and Land Rights Database produced in consultation with national statistics authorities, universities, civil society organizations and other sources worldwide, offers up-to-date information on how men and women in 78 countries differ in their legal rights and access to land. It can be searched by both country and thematic issues, including national and international legal frameworks, customary law, land tenure institutions, civil society institutions and land-related statistics.
In most of the world, women lag well behind men in ownership of agricultural land and access to income from land, even though women are major producers of food crops and play crucial roles in providing and caring for their households.
“Disparity in land access is one of the major causes for social and economic inequalities between males and females in rural areas. It jeopardizes food security at the household and community levels, and has an impact on national food security and development. It is vital information for policy makers. But until now, finding information on this phenomenon in one place has been difficult to come by,” Marcela Villarreal, Director, FAO Gender, Equity and Rural Employment Division said as the new database was placed online.
The new information tool, available to anyone with access to the Internet, provides policymakers and other users with a better picture of the major social, economic, political and cultural factors which affect access to land and enforcement of women’s land rights.
The database covers both national and customary laws governing land use; property rights and inheritance; international treaties and conventions; land tenure and related institutions; civil society organizations that work on land issues, and other related statistics.
By searching country profiles, users can find out the answers to specific questions on topics like the total number of land holders, the total number of women land holders and the number of rural households headed by women. They can also call up comparisons on a given topic between two or more countries.
“Decision-makers at all levels now have, on the one hand, a comprehensive source of information on the more relevant factors affecting the equality of land rights in their countries and, on the other hand, the possibility to make comparisons between trends and situations in their own and other countries,” FAO Gender and Development Research Officer Zoraida Garcia said.
“They can then use this information to tailor their own decisions and strategies, but also to have a clearer idea of the possible impacts which those strategies might have on the real economic empowerment of women, and on the well-being of rural communities,” she added.
“FAO had so many requests on a regular basis from member states and others in the international community who wanted to understand how gender disparities affected and were impacted by the land tenure situation. That’s why we developed this tool, to help provide a comprehensive view of the issue,” Garcia explained.
Britain’s Green Party has released a proposal for a UN Global Human Rights Index that would annually evaluate all countries.
Proposed UN Global Human Rights Index
From the executive summary:
The Green Party of England and Wales is proposing that the UN establish a Global Human Rights Index (GloHRI), which would measure and rank each country according to its conformity with international human rights standards.
Using an objective points system, GloHRI would measure every country, based on its compliance with a check-list of agreed human rights norms, such as whether or not it has the death penalty, detention without trial, freedom of the media, the right to protest, equal rights for women and minorities and so on.
This simple, accessible index would enable objective comparisons between the human rights records of different countries, and permit the identification of whether each individual country’s human rights record was, year-on-year, improving or deteriorating.
Published annually, GloHRI would document where each state upholds or violates human rights; providing an incentive for all nations to improve their human rights record and ranking.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission maintains an online copy of “Making the Mountain Move: An Activist’s Guide to How International Human Rights Mechanisms Can Work for You.” This guide provides information on the UN Treaty Based Human Rights bodies, Inter-American Human Rights system, African Union, and the European Court of Human Rights.
Making the Mountain Move: An Activist’s Guide to How International Human Rights Mechanisms Can Work for You.
The United Nations released today the new United Nations Treaty Collection Database, including the full-text of agreements in the UN Treaty Series. For those that miss the old interface, it does include a link to the legacy site. It does include a new search interface. Many thanks to the folks at the UN Treaty Section of the Office of Legal Affiars for their work on the new database.
New United Nations Treaty Collection http://treaties.un.org/
Old legacy site: http://untreaty.un.org/
Many UN document databases, such as the Official Document System (ODS) provide full-text access to reports. However, these dynamically generated URLs make it difficult to share the link with library patrons. Our colleagues at the United Nations Dag Hammarskjøld Library in New York have devised a nice work around the problem. Use the following root URL http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=
After the equal sign (=), add the UN publication’s document symbol number.
For instance, if you wish to link to the International Convention for the Suppresion of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, with a document symbol of A/RES/59/290, the URL would look like this: http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=A/RES/59/290.
Be aware that this links lead one to a Web page that includes the desired document in all six official UN languages.