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International Law


Treaty texts

General Treaty Series

National Treaty Series


United States

International Agreements Database
Searchable collection of the full-text agreements between the United States Department of Energy and foreign governments.
   online source: US Dept. of Energy


Australian Treaties Library (1901- )

United Kingdom (online)



Other Collections

Canado-American Treaties (1793-1997)
   online source: University of Montreal Canado-American Treaties Collection

In addition to the above-mentioned series the Law Library possesses a number of other general, national and subject-based treaty series (e.g. air law, space law, law of the sea, transport, humanitarian law, private international law etc.). Use the keyword search on Novanet to find a treaty series that covers the topic or region you wish to study.

Ratifications, reservations, declarations

Where to find an overview of ratifications, reservations and declarations of a multilateral treaty depends on which country or international organization is the depositary. The depositary is indicated in the final provisions of each treaty.

For multilateral treaties deposited with the Secretary-General of the UN, the information can be found at the United Nations Treaty Collection website. A number of other international organisations, treaty secretariats and national ministries of foreign affairs also present information on their websites.

For information about ratifications of human rights treaties see the RATIF database of the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights Documentation Site.

What are travaux preparatoire and how can I find them?

Travaux préparatoires are the documentary evidence of the negotiation, discussions, and drafting of a final treaty text. Travaux préparatoires may sometimes also be referred to as:

  • negotiating history
  • drafting history  
  • preparatory documents 

According to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, these documents can be used to supplement the interpretation of a treaty when the meaning is ambiguous or obscure when reading the treaty alone.

See "What are Travaux...", and "Ask Dag - Questions related to Travaux Preparatoire" Dag Hammerskold Library, .

Preparatory documents exist for every treaty; however, these documents are published for only a limited number of treaties. The Law Library possesses several of these publications (e.g. UN Charter, Refugee Convention, European Convention on Human Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on the Law of Treaties, ICCPR, Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, Unidroit conventions).

In addition, some treaty secretariats publish preparatory and implementation documents on their Internet site. When a treaty has been concluded within the framework of an international organization, you should also check the website of that organization.

When the International Law Commission has been involved in drafting a convention, you can find reports on the preparatory work in the Yearbook of the International Law Commission (JX 1261 U58) and on its website. Another helpful guide is the 3-volume publication The International Law Commission, 1949-1998, by Arthur Watts (JX 1261 U58 I61)

Finally, it is important to do background reading in secondary sources (monographs, journal articles, case law). These could contain references to a treaty's travaux préparatoires.

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Online Treaty Databases

United Nations Treaty Collection

This database collection includes a searchable collection of treaties and statuses of treaties in the collection. It is updated in real-time.

Canada Treaty Information

This fulltext database includes recent Canadian bilateral and multilateral treaties. This online source allows you to search by keywords or topic.


This collection include several treaties series and is searchable by year, alphabetically, and by keyword.

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UN Resources and Documentation

The Dag Hammarskjold Library provides a collection of guides and research tools to help navigate the UN documentation system and the resources available through the UN.

Legal Research Resources

UN Documentation Research Guide

UN How to Find UN Documentation

International Law Documentation

UN Human Rights Documentation

UN Documentation Symbols

Dag Hammarskjold Library - UN Resources and Documents

  • Official Document System: The United Nations official document system provides full text search of documents issued since 1993; resolutions of all principal organs & Security Council plenary documents since 1946.
  • UNBISnet: Consists of three databases 
    • Bibliographic records: The Library’s catalogue of UN documents and publications as well as non-UN resources such as books held in our collection.​
    • Voting Records: Voting records for all resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council from 1946 onwards.
    • Index to Speeches: Statements delivered at official meetings of the main UN bodies from 1983 onwards.
  • UNBIS Thesaurus: The multilingual UNBIS Thesaurus contains the terminology used in subject analysis of documents and other materials relevant to United Nations programmes and activities.
  • Index to Proceedings: A research tool providing a window into the meetings of the main UN organs.

UN Data


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