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Comparative Human Rights, Refugee, & Asylum Law: Home

Comparative Human Rights, Refugee, & Asylum Law

This research guide will help users identify foreign and international materials to assist in international human rights, refugee, and asylum law research. It includes major resources on each topic and how to access them through the Law Library, resources provided by the United Nations, and human rights and refugee systems in Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

Step One: Research Guides

The first question you should always ask yourself: “Is there a Research Guide on this subject?”

Research guides are an excellent resource for finding primary and secondary materials on any subject. Often compiled by librarians (expert researchers) and subject experts, research guides should be consulted throughout your research process. Research guides are designed to provide a research framework to make the process easier. They often highlight key print and electronic sources for information. Some suggested Research Guides on Human Rights, Refugee, and Asylum Law are:

Next Step: Secondary Sources

To get grounded, ask: "What books or articles have been written on this subject?"

While research guides help you understand legal systems, how to go about researching legal topics, and where to find legal resources, scholarly secondary sources dive into doctrinal issues, practice matters, and other specifics of the legal theory at hand. Secondary sources can be broad (good for overviews of the subject and getting a handle on terminology) or narrow (good for discrete legal questions and pinpointing relevant primary law).

The various pages in this guide demonstrate how to locate relevant books, articles, and treatises in the Law Library and beyond.

After Secondary: Primary Sources

Once you know what you are looking for, ask: "Where can I locate this primary law?"

The corollary to always starting with secondary sources is to never start with primary sources. Use secondary sources to identify relevant primary law--case names, treaty titles, statutory citations, etc.

Then, using a research guide for a specific jurisdiction or organization, research where that primary law would be found. Find the answer to these questions:

  • What is the name of the gazette/reporter/website it is published in?
  • Is this publication available through an official website?
  • If it is not online, is it available in print in the Law Library?

The resources below will help you locate primary law for specific jurisdictions and organizations.

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