Тhe United Nations


At the invitation of the United States, delegates from 50 nations met in San Francisco between 25 April and 26 June 1945. In tribute to the memory of President Roosevelt, who died just before the Conference convened, his proposal that the new world body be called the "United Nations" was accepted by acclamation. It was also decided that the first nation to affix its signature to the Charter would be China, the first country to be attacked in the Second World War. The General Assembly decided that 24 October, the anniversary of the entry into force of the Charter-should henceforth be officially called "United Nations Day" and be devoted to making known to the peoples of the world the aims and achievements of the Organization and to gaining their support for its work.

The Charter provided a constitution for an organization to preserve peace and promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom. All nations signing the Charter are obligated to settle international disputes by peaceful means and to refrain from the threat'or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any other State. They must also refrain from giving assistance to any State against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action. Nothing, however, in the Charter authorizes the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State. The primary aim is the maintenance of world peace. Its six "principal organs", named in the Charter, provide the means to build agreement and facilitate peaceful change. The six principal organs are:

  • The General Assembly, in which all Member States are represented;
  • The Security Council,
  • The 54-member Economic and Social Council, which is elected by and reports to the General Assembly;
  • The 5-member Trusteeship Council, which reports to the Security Council;
  • The International Court of Justice;
  • An internationally staffed Secretariat headed by a Secretary-General who is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendations of the Security Council for A 5 years.

The General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the United Nations It is composed of representatives of all Member States, each of which has one vote. Decisions on important questions. such as those on peace and security, admission of new Members and budgetary matters, require a two-thirds majority. Decisions on other questions are reached by a simple majority.

The General Assembly's regular session begins each year on the third Tuesday in September and continues usually until the third week of December. In recent years, the Assembly has been in session throughout the year. At the start of each regular session, the Assembly elects a new. President, 21Vice-Presidents and the Chairmen of the Assembly's six Main Committees. In addition to its regular sessions, the Assembly may meet in special sessions at the request of the Security Council. Emergency.special sessions may be called within 24 hours.

The Security Council has primary responsibility, under the Charter, for the maintenance of  international peace and security. It is so organized as to be able to function continuously, and a representative of each of its members must be present at all times at United Nations Headquarters.   The Council may meet else where than at Headquarters.

When a complaint concerning a threat to peace is brought before it, the Council's first action is usually to recommend to the parties to try to reach agreement by peaceful means. When a dispute leads to fighting, the Council's first concern is to bring ft to an end as soon as possible.

The Security Council consists of 15 members: 5 permanent members (China, France, Russia,the UK and the USA) and 10 other members elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. Each Council member has one vote. Decisions on procedural matter are made by an affirmative vote of at least nine of the 15 members. Decisions on substantive matters require nine votes, including the concurring votes of all five permanent members. This is the rule of "great Power unanimity" often referred to as the "veto" power.

The presidency of the Council rotates monthly, according to the English alphabetical listingof its member States.

The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations; it began work in 1946. The Court has a dual role: to settle in accordance with international  law the legal disputes submitted to it by States, and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized international organs and agencies.

The Court is composed of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms of office by the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council sitting independently of each other. It may not include more than one judge of any nationality. Elections are held every three years for one-third of the scats, and retiring judges may be re-elected. The Members of the Court do not represent their government but are independent magistrates.

With the exception of the International Court of Justice, which has its seat at the Hague in the Netherlands, all the principal organs are based in New York.

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