Saturday, 18 April 2015

UN in your language

Databases of the United Nations

Article Index
Databases of the United Nations
Press Releases of the United Nations
United Nations History
Human Rights
Humanitarian Affairs, Refugees
International Law
Millennium Development Goals
Non-Governmental Organizations
Nuclear Science
Peace and Security
Population Issues
Question of Palestine
Statistics and Country Information
UN Terminology
additional resources
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Bibliographic Information on UN Documentation

ODS - Official Documents of the United Nations 

ODS covers all types of official United Nations documentation, beginning in 1993. Older UN documents are, however, added to the system on a daily basis. ODS also provides access to the resolutions of the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council and the Trusteeship Council from 1946 onwards.

UNBISnet (United Nations Bibliographic Information System)

  • Bibliographic Search
    Catalogue of United Nations (UN) documents and publications indexed by the UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library and the Library of the UN Office at Geneva. Also included are commercial publications and other non-UN sources held in the collection of the Dag Hammarskjöld Library. The coverage of UNBISnet is from 1979 onward, however, older documents are being added to the catalogue on a regular basis as a result of retrospective conversion. UNBISnet also provides instant access to a growing number of full text resources in the six official languages of the UN (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish), including resolutions adopted by the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council from 1946 onward.
  • Voting Records
    The voting records for all resolutions which were adopted - either without a vote or by roll-call or recorded vote - by the General Assembly beginning with its 1st session (1946-) and the Security Council beginning with its 1st year (1946-). Links to the full text of resolutions are provided.
  • Index to Speeches
    Citations to speeches made in the General Assembly beginning with its 38th session (1983-), the Security Council beginning with its 38th year (1983-), the Economic and Social Council beginning in 1983 and the Trusteeship Council beginning with its 15th special session (1982). Links to the full text of speeches are provided.

UN-I-QUE : United Nations Info Quest (Dag Hammarskjöld Library)

UN-I-QUE (UN Info Quest), a ready-reference file created by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library to respond to frequently asked questions, is designed to provide quick access to document symbols/sales numbers for UN materials (1946 onwards). It does not give full bibliographic details nor does it replace existing bibliographic databases (UNBISnet, UNBIS Plus on CD-ROM) produced by the Library. UN-I-QUE focuses upon documents and publications of a recurrent nature: annual/sessional reports of committees/commissions; annual publications; reports periodically/irregularly issued; reports of major conferences; statements in the General Debate; etc. Information within each record is presented in reverse chronological order to facilitate identification of the most recent data.

Press Releases of the United Nations

UN Press Releases & Press Release Archive Search

Press releases, which are not considered official documents, serve information purposes only. They constitute, however, a valuable tool for research on current topics since they are produced well in advance of official documents.
Press releases are available in full text since 13 October 1995.


United Nations History

United Nations Yearbook Series – Online Version

The United Nations Department of Public Information launched on 9 October 2008 the first ever online version of the Yearbook of the United Nations -- the Organization’s flagship research publication.  The new website provides free public access to the 59 volumes of the Yearbook collection, detailing the work and achievements of the United Nations system over the first 60 years of its existence (1946-2006).  New volumes, and additional useful features, will continue to be added. The site incorporates a user-friendly search function, allowing users to locate any Yearbook reference using key words, phrases or document symbols, by year or range of years.  Search results can be displayed in plain text or as a printable PDF file.  It is expected that the new website will not only serve as a strong research tool, but it will also help users better understand global issues as they affect them today.  It will broaden the Organization’s outreach to the public, increasing awareness of, and support for, the United Nations throughout the world.

Human Rights

Human Rights by Country

Charter-based Bodies Documents Search

The current Charter-based bodies are the Human Rights Council and its subsidiaries, including the Universal Periodic Review Working Group, and the Advisory Committee. Previously, the Charter-based bodies were the Commission on Human Rights and its subsidiaries, including the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

Treaty Body Documents Search

Several UN human rights conventions establish monitoring bodies to oversee the implementation of the treaty provisions. The treaty bodies are composed of independent experts and meet to consider States parties' reports as well as individual complaints or communications. They may also publish general comments on the treaties they oversee. The treaty-based bodies tend to follow similar patterns of documentation.


This database provides easy access to jurisprudence emanating from the United Nations Treaty Bodies which receive and consider complaints from individuals: the Human Rights Committee (CCPR), the Committee against Torture (CAT), the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED), the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
The jurisprudence database is intended to be a single source of the human rights recommendations and findings issued by all above committees in their work on individual cases. It enables the general public, governments, civil society organizations, United Nations partners and international regional mechanisms to research the vast body of legal interpretation of international human rights law as it has evolved over the past years.
It may also provide guidance to persons preparing complaints to be submitted to Committees by providing access to the views and decisions taken by the Committees on specific human rights issues regarding different countries.
This database is based on a database designed and developed by the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) of Utrecht University which has agreed to make its database available to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Universal Human Rights Index of United Nations Documents

The Universal Human Rights Index provides instant access for all countries to human rights information from the United Nations system. The index is based on the observations and recommendations of the following international expert bodies:

  • the seven Treaty Bodies monitoring the implementation of the core international human rights treaties (since 2000)
  • the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council (since 2006)

You can access the information by country, by rights and by body.

The UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women

In December 2006, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a comprehensive resolution calling for an intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women and requesting the Secretary-General to establish a coordinated database on the extent, nature and consequences of all forms of violence against women, and on the impact and effectiveness of policies and programmes for, including best practices in, combating such violence.

The primary source of information for the database is the responses received from Member States to the questionnaire on violence against women, of September 2008, and subsequent updates. Other sources of information include:

  • States parties' reports to human rights treaty bodies
  • Information provided by Member States in follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women (1995); for reports of the Secretary-General; and in statements made at the United Nations
  • Information available through relevant United Nations entities

UNODC Human Trafficking Case Law Database

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has developed a human trafficking case law database to provide immediate, public access to officially documented instances of this crime. The database contains details on victims' and perpetrators' nationalities, trafficking routes, verdicts and other information related to prosecuted cases from across the world. In doing so, it provides not only mere statistics on numbers of prosecutions and convictions, but also the real-life stories of trafficked persons as documented by the courts. The database aims to assist judges, prosecutors, policy-makers, media researchers and other interested parties by making available details of real cases with examples of how the respective national laws in place can be used to prosecute human trafficking. At its launch in October 2011, more than 150 selected cases from over 30 countries and two regional courts have been uploaded, with an additional 100 cases from over a dozen states to be added in the coming months.

Humanitarian Affairs, Refugees

UNHCR's Refworld 
(United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)

Refworld is the leading source of information necessary for taking quality decisions on refugee status. Refworld contains a vast collection of reports relating to situations in countries of origin, policy documents and positions, and documents relating to international and national legal frameworks. The information has been carefully selected and compiled from UNHCR's global network of field offices, Governments, international, regional and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and judicial bodies.

ReliefWeb (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)

ReliefWeb is your source for timely, reliable and relevant humanitarian information and analysis.
Our goal is to help you make sense of humanitarian crises worldwide. To do this, we scan the websites of international and non-governmental organizations, governments, research institutions and the media for news, reports, press releases, appeals, policy documents, analysis and maps related to humanitarian emergencies worldwide. We then ensure the most relevant content is available on ReliefWeb, or delivered through your preferred channel (RSS, e-mail, Twitter or Facebook).
We also produce maps and infographics to illustrate and explain humanitarian crises. To ensure ReliefWeb is updated around the clock, we maintain offices in three different time zones: Kobe (Japan), Geneva (Switzerland) and New York (USA). Wherever you are in the world, you can follow ReliefWeb on Twitter and Facebook, where we tweet on important and interesting humanitarian events, issues and content that we come across.

International Law

United Nations Treaty Collection

The Office of Legal Affairs Treaty Section has launched a new online version of the United Nations Treaty Collection in September 2008. The new website is free and provides access to UN publications about treaties, including:

  • UN Treaty Series;
  • Status of Multilateral Treaties deposited with the Secretary-General; and
  • Certified True Copies.

The site is also available in French. The text of each treaty is available in all languages in which the treaty is authentic.

Audiovisual Library of International Law

The Office of Legal Affairs has launched the Audiovisual Library of International Law. This website has three main parts:

  • The Historic Archives present documents, photos, and digital film footage relating to the UN role in the development of international law;
  • The Lecture Series contains lectures by leading scholars on topics in international law, and includes a bibliography of related materials;
  • The Research Library provides links to other web-based research resources in international law, including other UN sources, national treaty series, and selected scholarly articles provided by HeinOnline (still in pilot/beta).

The Audiovisual Library aims to provide free, scholarly resources to students and practitioners around the world, particularly in regions where there are few resources for the study of international law.

The United Nations Rule of Law Website and Document Repository

The United Nations Rule of Law Website is a promotional and educational tool for practitioners and the general public. It seeks to inform users about the UN’s work in the field of rule of law, and its efforts to coordinate and strengthen system-wide approaches in this field. It is the central UN rule of law web-based resource, serving as a gateway to the rest of the UN’s related sites, and making information more widely accessible about UN rule of law issues and activities, and the various tools, documents and materials on the subject. The website is also an avenue for users to access other web resources on or related to rule of law, developed by the UN or external organizations.

Electronic Legal Resources on International Terrorism
(United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Terrorism Prevention Branch)

This site aims to provide comprehensive and accurate legal information on the steps taken by the international community and individual countries in the fight against international terrorism. Stored data are accessible in full-text, and provide up-to-date information on counter-terrorism conventions, resolutions, and national criminal laws worldwide. Model laws, legislative guides, and other legal tools can also be accessed to assist national authorities in setting up the structures and adopting the legislation necessarry to implement  the global legal framework against terrorism.

TRACK - “Tools and Resources for Anti-Corruption Knowledge”

(United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)

From here, you can access the Legal Library related to the United Nations Convention against Corruption using the links from the main menu or the world map. The Legal library contains laws, jurisprudence and information on anti-corruption authorities from over 175 States worldwide, indexed and searchable according to each provision of the Convention.

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

MDG Indicators

This site presents the official data, definitions, methodologies and sources for more than 60 indicators to measure progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. The data and analyses are the product of the work of the Inter-agency and Expert Group (IAEG) on MDG Indicators, coordinated by the United Nations Statistics Division. You will also find the official progress reports and documents produced by IAEG. Links to related sites and documents and constantly updated news will keep you up to date with the ongoing activities on MDG monitoring.

Non-Governmental Organizations

Directory of NGOs associated with DPI
(currently not available)

This directory will give you access to information related to Non-Governmental Organizations associated with the Department of Public Information. You can search for information by the name of the organization, the region where the organization's headquarters is located, or the organization's main area of interest.

Search Engine & NGO Database
(NGOs in consultative Status with the ECOSOC)

The searchable Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Database contains information about the organizations that have Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations ECOSOC).

Integrated Civil Society Organizations System

This database, developed by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), provides online registration for the Civil Society Organizations, facilitates the application procedure for consultative status with ECOSOC and assists accredited NGOs in submitting quadrennial reports and in designating representatives to the UN. Users can search the database of more than 12.000 organizations to find out more about their activities, meeting participation and accreditation status in the areas of sustainable and social development, advancement of women, financing for development, forests and public administration.

Nuclear Science

International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

INIS, the International Nuclear Information System, is the world’s leading database on the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology.information. INIS was established in 1970 in response to the IAEA's mandate "... to foster the exchange of scientific and technical information on peaceful uses of atomic energy".
The INIS Database, contains over 3 million bibliographic records and a unique collection of over 850 000 full-text documents (non-conventional "grey" literature – NCL) in 63 languages, including many documents that cannot easily be found anywhere else.
The INIS Multilingual Thesaurus – a major tool for describing nuclear information and knowledge in a structured form, which assists in multilingual and semantic searches.


Peace and Security

The Global Reported Arms Trade

Many countries regularly report their arms imports and exports to the UN. This creates trust and helps ensure that weapons are only used in conformity with the UN Charter. Access to all information from this UN Register of Conventional Arms is now a click away.

Peacebuilding Portal

The Peacebuilding Portal supports multilateral collaboration and networking on conflict prevention & peacebuilding by offering local, national, and international stakeholders a web tool to strengthen their work with each other and the United Nations and better respond to issues surrounding human security, peacebuilding & conflict.

UN Peacemaker  

This Web site (registration required) serves as an online mediation support tool for international peacemaking professionals. Launched by the United Nations’ Department of Political Affairs, the site provides information for peacemakers, including Peace Agreements, Peace Agreement Summaries, selected literature on various substantive peacemaking issues, a Legal Library, as well as links to Research Centres and other useful resources. In addition, the site offers easy access to peacemaking knowledge by providing Lessons, Case Briefs, Operational Guidance Notes, Knowledge Essays and Comments on peace agreements and on the management of peace processes. The lessons, guidance and comments have been derived from the United Nations' extensive experience in peacemaking.

Population Issues

POPIN: United Nations Population Information Network

The Population Information Network (POPIN) was founded on 9 May 1979, by resolution 1979/33 of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. POPIN strives to make international, regional and national population information, particularly information available from United Nations sources, easily available to the international community. The development of POPIN was partially supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Question of Palestine

UNISPAL - UN Information System on the Question of Palestine

The United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) was established and is being developed by the Division for Palestinian Rights in response to successive General Assembly mandates. The main collection contains the texts of current and historical United Nations material concerning the question of Palestine and other issues related to the Middle East situation and the search for peace. UNISPAL contains largely the English texts of United Nations documents with a growing number of links to the texts of the other official UN languages.

Statistics and Country Information

United Nations Data Access System (UN-data)

The United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) launched on 20 February 2008 a new internet based data service for the global user community.  It brings UN statistical databases within easy reach of users through a single entry point. Users can now search and download a variety of statistical resources of the UN system.

“UN Member States on the Record”

The Dag Hammarskjöld Library launched on 13 November 2009 “UN Member States on the Record”, a new research tool which will dramatically facilitate research on the work and actions of each Member State, and make information more accessible and easy to find.
Based on frequently asked questions, the Library developed this tool to highlight the work and actions of each individual Member State and to consolidate information scattered in multiple databases to one user-friendly resource. 
This opens the rich primary research resource of United Nations documents to anyone who can browse the web -- delegates, Model UN participants, or interested citizens from around the world. Information available for each Member State includes the key documents related to its membership in the United Nations, statements made before the principal organs, draft resolutions sponsored, periodic reports submitted on human rights conventions, and more.
Running behind this new research tool are preset searches on multiple databases maintained by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library. A single click links people to the most accurate, up-to-date results, and yet also includes extensive historic coverage.  Full text documents are linked in all official languages of the United Nations.

United Nations CyberSchoolBus: InfoNation

InfoNation is an easy-to-use, two-step database that allows you to view and compare the most up-to-date statistical data for the Member States of the United Nations. In this first menu, you can select up to seven countries. Then, you can proceed to the data menu where you will be able to select statistics and other data fields.

Country at a Glance

Pick a UN Member States and view their statistics - one at a time.

UN Terminology

UNTERM - The United Nations Terminology Database

UNTERM provides terminology and nomenclature in subjects relevant to the work of the United Nations. Information is provided in the six UN official languages.
This database is a linguistic tool created primarily to facilitate the work of United Nations staff members and other people around the world who participate or are interested in the Organization's activities. The inclusion of an item in this database should not be construed as an endorsement by the United Nations of any particular position, entity or programme.

DETERM: United Nations Terminology in German with English, French and Spanish equivalents
(Database of the German Translation Section)

DETERM is an extract of the terminology database originally developed for internal purposes by the German Translation Section (GTS) of the United Nations Secretariat, New York. Data were exported from the internal database, in the Trados/MultiTerm format, and converted into a Lotus Notes/Domino format with the help of a specifically designed conversion program. DETERM was made publicly accessible in March 2002; as of April 2009, it contains approximately 10,000 records. The database is continuously updated and expanded.

Additional databases are available on the UN website at




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Backgrounders on DRCongo, Ukraine, Syria

Library Newsletter - March 2015

new Backgrounders: Ebola,
        Post-2015 Development Agenda