Celebrating United Nations Day

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October 24, 2017 is United Nations Day. This day celebrates the anniversary of when the United Nations was established in 1945 as an intergovernmental organization whose main objective is to create and maintain international order. This post highlights the history of the United Nations, as well as the extensive UN content that HeinOnline holds.

History of the United Nations

The United Nations replaced the League of Nations, which was considered to be ineffective during World War II. The term United Nations was first used by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Declaration of United Nations on January 1, 1942. This declaration was drafted by President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Roosevelt’s aide Harry Hopkins. The United Nations were considered to be the four major Allied countries of the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, and China. During World War II, 26 nations added their signatures to this declaration and agreed to continue fighting together against the Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Japan.

Representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco in 1945 for the United Nations Conference on International Organization, where the United Nations Charter was composed and subsequently signed on June 26th. The United Nations became official on October 24, 1945 when the charter was ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The six primary systems of the United Nations include the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Security Council, the Secretariat, the Trusteeship Council, and the International Court of Justice. Its main headquarters are located in New York City; however, the major agencies are based in Geneva, The Hague, and Vienna among other locations. In 2001, the United Nations organization won the Nobel Peace Prize and over the years several officers and agencies have also been awarded the prize.

HeinOnline’s United Nations Law Collection

With nearly 1,000 titles, more than 6,000 volumes and more than 2 million pages, the United Nations Law Collection offers researchers a complete online international law collection of exact reproductions of major United Nations legal publications. The collection includes the following 9 unique subcollections:

  • Treaty Publications
  • International Court of Justice (ICJ)
  • United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)
  • International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)
  • United Nations Yearbooks
  • United Nations Serials
  • Codification and Progressive Development of International Law
  • United Nations Institute for Disarmament Researcher (UNIDIR)
  • Other Related Works

This database includes Finding Aids located underneath the subcollections listed on the United Nations Law Collection page. Access a treaty by simply entering the treaty citation from either the United Nations Treaty Series or the League of Nations Treaty Series. For example, let’s find the Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects from June 24, 1995. The citation for this treaty is 2421 UNTS 457.

UNTS Search in HeinOnline

The citation will bring you directly to the first page of the treaty. Users have the option to view a Treaty Summary from this page.

Treaty Summary Link in HeinOnline

The Treaty Summary provides important information such as the registration number, citation, description, Kavass Subject, and much more.

Treaty Summary in HeinOnline

Another option for searching for a treaty is using the Full Text tab within the United Nations Law Collection, which allows users to search the whole collection. Enter “Presence of Foreign Forces in the Federal Republic of Germany” into the Full Text tab and hit the search button. The search results display the treaty and the treaty summary.

Treaty and Summary in HeinOnline

The International Court of Justice is subcollection of this database. Commonly referred to as the ICJ, this is the primary judicial branch of the United Nations. Included in this subcollection are Judgments, Advisory Opinions and OrdersPleadings, Oral Arguments, Documents and the ICJ Yearbook, among many other titles.

Another important subcollection is UNCITRAL. The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law with universal membership specializing in commercial law reform worldwide for more than 40 years. More than 50 texts are available within this section.

Also available to users are several yearbooks dedicated to specific branches of the United Nations. These are found in the UN Yearbooks section.

Picture of United Nations Database


A wide array of material is available within the UN Serials subcollection. With more than 30 serials available, this assemblage includes unique publications centered on and around the activities of the United Nations. These titles are updated monthly as new material becomes available. Users can find titles such as the Law of the Sea Bulletin and the United Nations Chronicle here.

The United Nations Law Collection is available as part of the HeinOnline International Core package, and is also available for purchase as an a-la-carte database. Find a complete list of titles in this database here. Request a quote or trial or contact marketing@wshein.com for pricing options.

For help navigating or searching in this database, contact the dedicated support team at (800) 277-6995, via email, or by live chat!

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