The researchers who compiled the front pages of this website all began their research by following the standard research path described below.
The text of the Convention on the Rights of the Child can be accessed at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ website at http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/6/crc/treaties/crc.htm . The Convention is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.
This site also lists which countries have ratified the Convention http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/6/crc/treaties/status-crc.htm and what reservations and declarations have been taken http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/6/crc/treaties/declare-crc.htm .
Parties to the convention are required to submit periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child updating the Committee on their progress in implementing the CRC. Though several countries have not followed the regular reporting guidelines, the reports that have been submitted are valuable for assessing the current state of child protection in these countries. These reports are available from the High Commissioner’s Treaty Body Database at http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf by clicking on “CRC – Committee on the Rights of the Child” and then “State Party Report.”
The Committee then responds to these state party reports in its own report. These responses can be accessed from the same website by clicking on “CRC – Committee on the Rights of the Child” and then “Concluding Observations/Comments.”
Some NGOs submit their own reports to the Committee which give an alternate perspective on the state party’s current progress relative to the Convention. These alternative reports can be accessed through the Child Rights Information Network website at http://www.crin.org/docs/resources/treaties/crc.25/annex-vi-crin.shtml .
Other UN documents can be accessed through the United Nations Official Documents System at http://documents.un.org . Note: all documents relating to the Convention should begin with “CRC/”. Bibliographic information for UN documents is available through AccessUN, however access is restricted to subscribers only. Check to see if you are affiliated with an institution that subscribes to AccessUN.
Learning about State Parties
For general information about many aspects of the state parties including a brief overview of how the government operates, the US government has a world factbook at http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook . General information about state party legal systems can also be found through Modern Legal Systems Cyclopedia .
A very useful resource for a concise overview of a particular country’s legal system is the Foreign Law Guide at http://www.foreignlawguide.com/ip which also requires a subscription to access. However, it is available in print as Foreign Law: Current Sources of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World . Foreign Law Guide provides a history of the development of the country’s legal system, describes the current state of the legal system including the court structure and active bodies of law, and provides additional sources for further research. These additional sources tend to be very useful for in depth research.
For paper sources that may also help identify the sources of primary law, check the following: Germain’s Transnational Law Research: A Guide for Attorneys , Information Sources in Law , Constitutions of the Countries of the World , and Szladits Bibliography of Foreign and Comparative Law .
Learning about Child Protective Proceedings within the State Parties
WorldCat is a useful resource for finding books worldwide either on the topic of choice or to locate the sources mentioned in Foreign Law Guide. WorldCat is accessible at http://newfirstsearch.oclc.org/ but requires a subscription to access. If WorldCat yields too much information, try searching a local library such as your university library.
The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals is useful for researching articles on a particular topic in non-U.S. law journals and the Index to Legal Periodicals, http://hwwilsonweb.com , and Legaltrac, http://infotrac.galegroup.com , are useful for searching U.S. law journals. All three of these web databases require subscription access.
For further research on a particular area of law within a specific state party, both Cornell http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/lawlibrary/guides/foreign2/ and Harvard http://www.law.harvard.edu/library/services/research/guides/international/web_resources/metapages.php have research guides which contain links to various resources covering different aspects of each country’s legal system.
Additionally the World Legal Information Institute http://www.worldlii.org is a directory of legal information that allows you to search by jurisdiction or topic or by topic within a jurisdiction. It also contains links for each jurisdiction page to information about the government, legislation, particular areas in the law, and the like.
If results to this point have been relatively fruitless, you may try scouring the web for primary sources of law. Places for research are the Global Legal Information Network, http://rs21.loc.gov:8092/glnp_agent/plsql/GLNsignon1 , and New York University ‘s List of Foreign Databases, http://www.law.nyu.edu/library/foreign_intl/ . Finally, miscellaneous information that may provide some clues as to the status of child protection in the various jurisdictions is usually available on the web and can be found using search engines such as Google, http://google.com , or Yahoo, http://yahoo.com .
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOUND LATER IN THE PROCESS
In the course of our research, we found additional resources after some of the jurisdictions were complete. They included:
Stanford University Library’s webpage of African law on the Internet; some general, some country-specific.
University of Pretoria, South Africa contains the holdings of African primary law created by librarian Shirley Schroder.
Columbia Law Library has a helpful African law research guide created by librarian Silke Saho.
University of Michigan’s webpage with links to the official federal government Gazettes from all over the world.
FLAG - A searchable portal to the holdings of foreign, international, and comparative law in UK universities and national libraries.
FLARE - Focuses on central and eastern Europe; contains research guides and library holdings.
UNICEF MAGIC contains the full text of the CRC in 49 languages.
Droit Francophone is a website in French containing links to law for French-speaking countries around the globe.
We are greatly indebted to Stephanie Davidson, Mark Engsberg, Teresa Miguel, and Scott Matheson of the Lillian Goldman Law Library at Yale Law School for their tireless help in compiling useful resources for us throughout the research process.