Freedom of opinion and expression

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights refers to freedom of opinion and expression as a human right. This is formulated in Article 19:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

These principles constitute the foundation of the United Nations resolutions, conventions and declarations in this field.

The right to freedom of expression and opinion is guaranteed in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted in 1966 and entered into force in 1976.

Since 1993, there is a Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression who examines, monitors and reports to the Human Rights Council.

Human Rights, conventions and declaration

UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases

  • United Nations Digital Library offers UN documents and open access publications, UN voting data and speeches, UN maps, Content in 6+ languages. Replaces the traditional online catalogue UNBISnet.
  • UN iLibrary UN publications online covering different topics.
  • ODS full-text UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
  • Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
  • Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
    • a list of all documents
    • a comprehensive subject index
    • an index to speeches
    • a voting chart of resolutions
  • United Nations Documents Index (United Nations Digital Library) References to all documents by subject area are published. A collection of indexes is held by the Dag Hammarskjöld and Law Library, Uppsala, and the Libraries at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.