University of Pittsburgh

NGO's - Nongovernmental Organizations

Non-governmental organizations generally have no legal power; they do not sign treaties, decide disputes, or enforce international law. Their members may be private individuals, businesses, or non-profit groups, but not governments. Their involvement with international law is typically information-based. NGOs observe issues, report on issues, analyze government involvement, recommend changes in laws, archive information on topics of significance to their organization, and provide references to resources compiled by others involved with their interests.

NGOs are important sources of information because they are committed to causes that help people, because they operate with relatively little money and tend to work efficiently, because they are directly involved with people who suffer from problems rather than just the government representatives, and because they report their findings for the purpose of enlightening all people rather than just satisfying a political agenda.

Typically, NGO Web sites make most of their information available for free although they sometimes have to sell copies of their biggest research reports to raise money for future research. When you are using an NGO Web site to get facts for use in a law project, look for links with titles like
"studies,"
"publications,
"data," and
"our work."

When you are looking for international agreements, amicus briefs, or other items containing law or involved with cases, look for a link titled "documents" or, of course, "legal information."

Always be sure to see what an organization lists when you click on the word "links.

Resource List:

Here are some sites that will link you to NGO pages:

Electronic Information System for International Law

World Association of NGOs

Duke University's NGO list in issue order

Geneva International Forum

The University's electronic subscriptions to the Public Affairs Information Service (PAIS) and Policy File have a tremendous wealth of policy-related scholarly writing that involves the work of non-governmental organizations.

Revised 09/28/2011 | Copyright 2011 | Site by UMC