Research Teaching Cooperation
History and Background
The Women's Human Rights Resources web site is a project of the Bora Laskin Law Library at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. The site is produced by the Women's Human Rights Resources group in consultation and collaboration with law librarians, lawyers, students, researchers, activists and human rights experts around the world.
The site was introduced in 1995 following the publication of "A Select Bibliography of Women's Human Rights" by Professor Rebecca Cook and Valerie Oosterveld of the University of Toronto in the April 1995 edition of the America University Law Review .
The main goal of the Women's Human Rights Resources site is to assist individuals and organizations in using international women's human rights law to promote women's rights. This includes:
At present, the site receives an average of over 40,000 visitors a month from over 90 countries.
II. ORGANIZATION OF THE SITE
i) Headings and Subheadings:
The Website is divided into 26 subject headings. The home page lists the 26 subject headings currently available on the site.
Some of the 26 subject headings are further divided into subheadings. These subheadings are not listed on the home page, you can find the subheadings by "clicking" on a main heading to see if the subheading that you are looking for is listed.
If you are looking for information about how international women's human rights law has been used in domestic courts, you can click on the subject heading "Domestic Implementation." This will take you to the main page for the "Domestic Implementation" heading. At the left hand side of the page, you will find 2 subheadings called:
Information about the use of international law by domestic courts can be found under the subheading "Using International Law at the Domestic Level."
Not all subject headings are further divided into subheadings. The following list identifies the subject headings that are currently divided into subheadings:
ii) Division of Main headings and subheadings:
All main subject headings and subheadings are divided into 3 categories:
The articles section contains a bibliography of published scholarly materials. Most of the citations are annotated. Members of the Women's Human Rights Resources Group read the articles and write a brief description of the author's argument. The annotations are intended to identify important work that has been produced and to help you decide if you would like to get a copy of the full article. The Women's Human Rights Resources group has a very limited capacity to copy and mail a limited number of articles free of charge to small community organizations in the South. We do not have the capacity to fill all demands. Other users can attempt to get copies of the articles listed by contacting their nearest library.
The documents section contains different types of materials. These include cases, UN reports, NGO reports, international conventions or treaties and publications of various UN treaty bodies. These are organized in alphabetical order. As the site grows, we will probably separate each of the different document types.
Most of the material available in this part of the site is annotated also. The Women's Human Rights Resources group has taken great care and effort to ensure that the
annotations we provide are as useful as possible. We have started to identify some provisions that might be useful in dealing with specific violations against women.
For example, under "documents" in the "Violence Against Women" section of the site, you will find the following citation and annotation:
By identifying some provisions that are relevant to a particular right (violence against women in the example above), we hope to save organizations some time and research efforts. We also hope to make the international treaties more accessible to those who have not used them before. A word of caution, however: we are not providing legal advice or suggesting that you should use the provisions identified in your work. We are also not suggesting that we have identified all of the possible relevant provisions. Our goal is simply to give you a starting point for thinking and advocating.
The links section of the site contains annotated links to organizations around the world organized under subject headings.
We regularly update our site by adding new content and checking to ensure that our links are working. We have recently decided to write our annotations in plain English to help make the site more accessible to users. Please contact us if you have any suggestions or comments.
III. FULL TEXT MATERIALS ON THE SITE
The Women's Human Rights Resources site now makes materials available to users in full text by: (i) providing external links to resources already available on the Internet; and (ii) by providing material in full text on the Women's Human Rights Resources site itself.
i) Providing Full-Text Through External Links
Users can identify materials that are available in full text through external links by the fact that the annotations to these documents are introduced with citations that are bolded and underlined.
The following two documents are available in full text on the Women's Human Rights Resources site through external links. They are both found under "CEDAW" in the "documents" section:
By providing external links, we ensure that we do not duplicate the work of others. We also rationalize the information that is dispersed throughout the Internet so that it is organized and made accessible to researchers, health practitioners and advocates. This is particularly valuable to users in countries where Internet access remains expensive.
Members of the Women's Human Rights Resources regularly "surf" the Internet to identify appropriate external full-text links. These include links to specific documents important for those working on the international human rights of women as well as links to relevant human rights organizations around the world. Of course, the information available on the Internet is always changing. Thus, we check the external links on a regular basis to make sure that they are still working. We also ensure that the substantive content available on the site has not changed drastically. This requires actually revisiting and reviewing the sites to which we link and updating our annotations as required.
ii) Full-Text Material Available Directly on the WHRR
The Women's Human Rights Resources group is also building a full text legal database of scholarly legal literature in the "articles" section of the site. Access to these articles is made available on the site in both "high-tech" or PDF format and "low-tech" or HTML format for users with slower computer equipment and less infrastructure. The user can simply click on the PDF or HTML option available at the end of the annotations for articles where full text is available.
The kinds of materials that are available in full text directly on the WHRR include:
For example,the following article is available in full text on the Women's Human Rights Resources site in the "Reproductive Rights, Overview" section of the site under "articles."
IV. HOW ACCESSIBLE IS THE SITE?
Building a site that is as accessible as possible to individuals and organizations around the world is one of our top priorities. The Women's Human Rights Resources group promotes accessibility by:
V. NO ACCESS TO THE WEB? E-MAIL ONLY?
Many users do not have access to the World Wide Web but they do have e-mail. These users can still get access to the Women's Human Rights Resources web site through Web-to-Email servers. These servers are not run by the Women's Human Rights Resources but by other organizations. However, they make the Women's Human Rights Resources site more accessible by allowing those who only have e-mail to get information from the site by e-mail.
We have included information about one such Web-to-E-mail server at Bellanet . Please read this information carefully. It includes information about where you can go for more information about using Web-to-E-mail servers.
Good luck! Please do let us know about how you do with this service and whether it does make the Women's Human Rights Resources site more accessible.
VI. CONTRIBUTE YOUR MATERIAL
The Women's Human Rights Resources wants to include information about international women's human rights law from different regions of the world. We are interested in:
Please remember that we are looking for material that relates to international women's human rights law and that is of high quality . We will consider putting up such materials on our site in full text if they are available in electronic format. Otherwise, we will consider including a citation and annotation along with an explanation of where the full text can be obtained.