The Immigration Clinic at the University of Maryland School of Law has provided
these resources to assist the general public in researching United States asylum
law. Resources provided include both online materials and print materials available
at the University of Maryland
School of Law’s Thurgood Marshall Law Library. This should not be
construed as legal advice. If you are seeking representation, please contact
a lawyer or the Immigration Clinic.
NOTE: Although a majority of the links provided are accessible to the public
free of charge, a few consist of databases designed for the exclusive use of
paying subscribers. Access to these databases will require you to submit an
Consider the following suggestions before beginning your research:
Verify research quality – Just as important as finding
information is making sure that information is reliable. When looking over
your research, consider accuracy, authenticity, objectivity, and the origination
date of the information, or the most recent update for such information.
Thorough review – Much of the information you may
be seeking will require a careful reading of both legal and non-legal resources.
Particularly when looking for factual information, a thorough reading of the
material is necessary.
Save your research – Always remember to download
or print useful information. As websites update their databases, important
information you may have found one day may be in a different location or scrapped
altogether the very next day, forcing you to re-engage in the research process.
Commonwealth Human Rights
Initiative – contains reports prepared every two years by CHRI
in preparation for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. Each report
focuses on a different, critical theme related to human rights.
Derechos Human Rights –
a comprehensive source for human rights materials including international
organizations, governments, NGOs as well as legal information. It is also
available in Spanish.
News Watch – a subscription database that features newspapers,
magazines and journals of the ethnic and minority press. The database has
nearly 1.6 million full-text articles of which nearly one quarter is also
presented in Spanish.
Very good source for those searching for diversity in viewpoints
among media coverage
Directory –over 10,000 organizations involved in human rights. The listings
include contact information and descriptions of the organizations.
Huirsearch.org – A search
engine of over 4,500 human rights websites engineered by the Human Rights
Information and Documentation System. The site is available in nine languages
including Spanish, French and Portuguese.
Human Rights Database – A database provided by the American University
Washington College of Law with annual reports, reports on sessions, and
special reports provided in both English and Spanish
Centre – contains a library and a case law database. The case
law database is particularly helpful as it contains jurisprudence of
the Human Rights Committee, the Committee Against Torture, the Committee
on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
Publications – This includes a list of books and journals which
one may consider consulting during their research. Most require payment.
Research – Includes reports and listings of many other helpful
sources for a wide range of topics including children rights, humanitarian
law, rights of indigenous people, and more.
Union of International Associations
– contains online databases on a wide range of topics including world
problems, global strategies, human values, human development and more which
together total 1,971,457 links.
Documents of the United Nations – this includes a full-text
search engine in six different languages covering all types of human
rights documentation beginning in 1993, including all UN documents relevant
to human rights.
United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) – contains
reports produced by the Resource Information Center (RIC) which can
be found under the following links:
– Documents providing a detailed history of a given country
and identifying all of the groups at risk for human rights abuses,
what has been done to these groups, and by whom.
– Written perspectives by expert consultants which provide
background information on the political and social conditions in
a country as well as its human rights situation.
& Answer – Papers on emerging social and political
developments in several countries.
Many of these same reports can be found by conducting an advanced
search by simply providing the country’s name in the search
Resource Information Center (RIC), at 20 Massachusetts Avenue,
NW, Washington DC
Although the RIC is not open to the public, it permits representatives
of asylum applicants to visit by appointment. Call 202-272-1656.
Their collection includes:
Index Media Reviews on many countries
Newspapers and magazines on human rights conditions in many
countries and regions.
Boxes for each country containing detailed published information
about human rights abuses
The latest State Department updates of country condition
NOTE: Some of these profiles are available on Refworld,
however they are not as updated.
University of Minnesota Human
Rights Library – Available in eight different languages, the site
currently has more than 85,000 human rights documents and materials and
also links several helpful human rights websites. There is also a helpful
human rights search engine available.
– Contains excellent databases providing full-text journal articles
and law reviews on country conditions and human rights violations. Both
sites also contain excellent databases for news sources and research.
Human Rights World Reports
– Annual reports provided by Human Rights Watch beginning in 1989.
Available on the left hand side are more reports, briefs and press releases
on a variety of global issues.
on Human Rights – Available in four languages (English, Spanish,
French and Portuguese), the site provides annual reports on human rights assessments
as well as other publication on a variety of other topics.
Court on Human Rights – contains several decisions and advisory
opinions handed down by the court which interprets and applies the American
Convention on Human Rights and other treaties concerning this same subject
Watch - 125,000 full-text articles on the development of gender roles
in areas like sexuality, religion, societal roles, etc.
These articles include journals, magazines, newspapers, regional publications,
government reports, NGO reports, newsletters, etc.
Human Rights of Women – Make sure to take a look at this section
under “research” on the tool bar at the top of the screen.
It contains listings of books, articles, and reports from several prominent
Although this site aims to support South African women use internet
resources for women’s social activism, the site contains a wide
array of resources and tools on women’s human rights and other women
related issues, including violence against women.
– the publication provides a multidisciplinary forum for the exchange
or original research and systematic reviews among professionals concerned
with the biomedical, psychological, and social interface of torture.
RCT Documentation Centre
– The world’s largest library dedicated to the topic of torture,
torture prevention, and torture victim rehabilitation.
40,000 items comprised of books, journals, articles, reports, picture
materials and CD-ROMs.
Research Tip: Use the Documentation Centre staff. The staff freely
assists individuals in finding and obtaining desired materials.
Bender’s Immigration Bulletin Daily
Edition – The site provides immigration news articles from outside
media sources, as well as its own articles (“inside news”). There
is also a database providing access to archived materials and the option to
join an email update list.
Citizenship Laws of
the World – This is a directory prepared by the United States Office
of Personnel Management Investigations Service that provides a synopsis of
the citizenship laws for most of the world’s countries
Human Rights Education Association
– HREA is an international organization dedicated to human rights leaning;
the training of activists and professionals; the development of educational
materials and programming; and on-line technologies. It is available in ten
Includes a directory of organizations involved in human rights education,
a global directory on human rights educators, and an annotated bibliography
of human rights education materials
*This page was created by Jose Blanco, class of 2005 and updated by Jenny Rensler.