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International Relations *

A guide to databases and scholarly online sources that support conducting research in international relations and comparative politics.

United States Government Resources

Described below are U.S. federal government agencies that produce reports that monitor internal affairs of countries or whose mission is to support political, economic, and/or cultural cooperation with other nations.

U.S. Department of State Country Reports

  • Human Rights Practices -- annual reports to Congress on the status of internationally recognized human rights practices per country. Online archive from 1999-present.
  • Religious Freedom -- describes the status of religious freedom in each foreign country, government policies violating religious belief and practices of groups, religious denominations, and individuals, and U.S. policies to promote religious freedom around the world. Online archive from 1999-present.
  • Terrorism -- reports on where terrorist acts have occurred, state sponsorship of terrorism and assessments of terrorist groups. Online archive from 1995-present.
  • Trafficking of Persons -- an annually updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it. Online archive from 2001-present.

Special Commissions and Agencies

  • Congressional-Executive Commission on China -- created by Congress in October 2000 with the legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, and to submit an annual report to the President and the Congress. The Commission consists of nine Senators, nine Members of the House of Representatives, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President. Site includes the Political Prisoner Database, which contains information about political prisoners in China detained for exercising their human rights under international law who were held or are being held in public detention centers, prisons, re-education through labor centers, or other detention facilities, or who are held under other forms of official control.
  • Commission on International Religious Freedom -- an independent, bipartisan, commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad. USCIRF uses international standards to monitor religious freedom violations globally, and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.
  • Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe -- also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, this is an independent commission that, for over 45 years, has monitored compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advanced comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental, and military cooperation in the 57-nation OSCE region.
  • Foreign Claims Settlement Commission -- a quasi-judicial, independent agency within the Department of Justice which adjudicates claims of U.S. nationals against foreign governments, under specific jurisdiction conferred by Congress, pursuant to international claims settlement agreements, or at the request of the Secretary of State. Funds for payment of the Commission's awards are derived from congressional appropriations, international claims settlements, or liquidation of foreign assets in the United States by the Departments of Justice and the Treasury.
  • Inter-American Foundation -- an independent U.S. foreign assistance agency created by Congress in 1969 that directly invests in community-led grassroots development across Latin America and the Caribbean. The IAF awards small grants to civil society organizations that promote inclusive economic prosperity, reduce food insecurity, combat corruption, prevent violence and crime, protect the environment and build resilience to natural disasters, and sustainably manage natural resources.
  • International Trade Commission -- an independent, nonpartisan, quasi-judicial federal agency that makes determinations in proceedings involving imports claimed to injure a domestic industry or violate U.S. intellectual property rights; provide independent analysis and information on tariffs, trade and competitiveness; and maintain the U.S. tariff schedule.
  • Japan-United States Friendship Commission -- an independent federal government agency established in 1975 to strengthen the U.S.-Japan relationship through educational, cultural, and intellectual exchange. The Commission is a grant-making agency that supports research, education, public affairs and exchange with Japan. Its mission is to support reciprocal people-to-people understanding, and promote partnerships that advance common interests between Japan and the United States.
  • Office of Refugee Resettlement -- provides new populations with the opportunity to achieve their full potential in the United States. The office's programs provide people in need with critical resources to assist them in becoming integrated members of American society. ORR’s Survivors of Torture program provides rehabilitative, social, and legal services to individuals — regardless of immigration status - who have experienced torture which occurred outside the U.S. ORR also provides care and placement for unaccompanied children who enter the United States from other countries without an adult guardian.

U.S. Military Commands

Listed below are the units within the Department of Defense unified combatant command system. The first seven of these are geographical unified combatant commands which focus on a geographic region of the world and has responsibility for U.S. military forces in that area. The latter four are functional combatant commands, which focus on particular military operations. Review the commands for obtaining an understanding of how the U.S. military projects its power and influence throughout the world.

  1. Africa Command
  2. Central Command
  3. European Command
  4. Indo-Pacific Command
  5. Northern Command
  6. Southern Command
  7. Cyber Command
  8. Space Command
  9. Special Operations Command
  10. Strategic Command
  11. Transportation Command