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International Human Rights

A guide to research sources for international human rights law prepared by the Bora Laskin Law Library.

What Are Travaux Préparatoires ?

Travaux Préparatoires are the preparatory works from the drafting and negotiation of a treaty, such as minutes, drafts and reports.

Why use Travaux Preparatoires?

  • They can be used as an interpretive aid in clarifying the meanings of treaties and/or the intentions of the drafters.

 

  • Article 32 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties states that the interpretation of a treaty will take into account the "preparatory work of the treaty and the circumstances of its conclusion."

Notes on Travaux Preparatoires

 

  •  Collections of travaux preparatoires are usually published in chronological order, requiring the researcher to collate them to the text of the agreement.    

TIP: Guides to travaux preparatoires and commentaries on treaties are extremely useful as they will often track the agreement article by article with references to the relevant locations in the travaux. Search for them in the catalogue using the treaty name.

 

  • Article by article commentaries and other expert analysis of treaties and conventions will often cite travaux preparatoires.

 

  • Travaux preparatoires may also be found on treaty-body websites, or published in print and online by the signatories.