The Charter of the United Nations (also known as the UN Charter) of 1945 is the foundational treaty of the United Nations, an intergovernmental organization. The UN Charter articulated a commitment to uphold human rights of citizens and outlined a broad set of principles relating to achieving ‘higher standards of living’, addressing ‘economic, social, health, and related problems,’ and ‘universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.’ As a charter, it is a constituent treaty, and all members are bound by its articles. Furthermore, Article 103 of the Charter states that obligations to the United Nations prevail over all other treaty obligations.
The Charter was opened for signature on 26 June 1945 and was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries (Poland, the other original member, which was not represented at the conference, signed it two months later). It entered into force on 24 October 1945, after being ratified by the original five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—the Republic of China (after 1949, located in Taiwan and was later replaced by the People's Republic of China), the Provisional Government of the French Republic (later replaced by the Fourth Republic and then the Fifth Republic), the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (later replaced by the Russian Federation), the United Kingdom, and the United States—and a majority of the other signatories. In the meantime, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki took place on 6 and 9 August, respectively; the introduction of this new weapon of warfare completely changed the security environment in which the UN Charter was promulgated. Most countries in the world have now ratified the Charter.
|Charter of the United Nations|
|Drafted||14 August 1941|
|Signed||26 June 1945|
|Location||San Francisco, California, United States|
|Effective||24 October 1945|
|Condition||Ratification by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of the other signatory states.|
|Languages||Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish|
|Charter of the United Nations at Wikisource|
The preamble consists of two principal parts. The first part contains a general call for the maintenance of peace and international security and respect for human rights. The second part of the preamble is a declaration in a contractual style that the governments of the peoples of the United Nations have agreed to the Charter and it is the first international document regarding human rights.
The following chapters deal with the enforcement powers of UN bodies:
- WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED
- to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
- to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
- to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
- to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
- AND FOR THESE ENDS
- to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
- to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
- to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
- to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,
- HAVE RESOLVED TO COMBINE OUR EFFORTS TO ACCOMPLISH THESE AIMS.
Accordingly, our respective Governments, through representatives assembled in the city of San Francisco, who have exhibited their full powers found to be in good and due form, have agreed to the present Charter of the United Nations and do hereby establish an international organization to be known as the United Nations.
Although the Preamble is an integral part of the Charter, it does not set out any of the rights or obligations of member states; its purpose is to serve as an interpretative guide for the provisions of the Charter through the highlighting of some of the core motives of the founders of the organization.
The Purposes of the United Nations are
The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles:
Chapter II of the United Nations Charter deals with membership of the United Nations organization
1. The Security Council shall consist of fifteen Members of the United Nations. The Republic of China, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America shall be permanent members of the Security Council. The General Assembly shall elect ten other Members of the United Nations to be non-permanent members of the Security Council, due regard being specially paid, in the first instance to the contribution of Members of the United Nations to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization, and also to equitable geographical distribution.
2. The non-permanent members of the Security Council shall be elected for a term of two years. In the first election of the non-permanent members after the increase of the membership of the Security Council from eleven to fifteen, two of the four additional members shall be chosen for a term of one year. A retiring member shall not be eligible for immediate re-election.
3. Each member of the Security Council shall have one representative.
FUNCTIONS and POWERS
1. In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its Members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf.
2. In discharging these duties the Security Council shall act in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations. The specific powers granted to the Security Council for the discharge of these duties are laid down in Chapters VI, VII, VIII, and XII.
3. The Security Council shall submit annual and, when necessary, special reports to the General Assembly for its consideration.
The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.
In order to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world's human and economic resources, the Security Council shall be responsible for formulating, with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee referred to in Article 47, plans to be submitted to the Members of the United Nations for the establishment of a system for the regulation of armaments.
1. Each member of the Security Council shall have one vote.
2. Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members.
3. Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members; provided that, in decisions under Chapter VI, and under paragraph 3 of Article 52, a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting.
1. The Security Council shall be so organized as to be able to function continuously. Each member of the Security Council shall for this purpose be represented at all times at the seat of the Organization.
2. The Security Council shall hold periodic meetings at which each of its members may, if it so desires, be represented by a member of the government or by some other specially designated representative.
3. The Security Council may hold meetings at such places other than the seat of the Organization as in its judgment will best facilitate its work.
The Security Council may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions.
The Security Council shall adopt its own rules of procedure, including the method of selecting its President.
Any Member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council may participate, without vote, in the discussion of any question brought before the Security Council whenever the latter considers that the interests of that Member are specially affected.
Any Member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council or any state which is not a Member of the United Nations, if it is a party to a dispute under consideration by the Security Council, shall be invited to participate, without vote, in the discussion relating to the dispute. The Security Council shall lay down such conditions as it deems just for the participation of a state which is not a Member of the United Nations.
Chapter XIX of the United Nations Charter deals with ratification and signature of the UN Charter. It provided that the Charter would enter into force once ratified by the Permanent Five members of the United Nations Security Council and a majority of the other signatory states.
The Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement was created to reduce the danger of nuclear war between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The agreement was signed in Washington, D.C., on June 22, 1973, during a relative period of détente. The United States and the U.S.S.R. agreed to reduce the threat of a nuclear war and establish a policy to restrain hostility.
In reality, the agreement had little impact, with Henry Kissinger doubting whether it was "worth the effort" and describing the outcome as only "marginally useful".Crime of aggression
A crime of aggression is a specific type of crime where a person plans, initiates, or executes an act of aggression using state military force that violates the Charter of the United Nations. The act is judged as a violation based on its character, gravity, and scale.Acts of aggression include invasion, military occupation, annexation by the use of force, bombardment, and military blockade of ports.The crime of aggression is a crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The definitions and the conditions for the exercise of jurisdiction over this crime were adopted by consensus at the 2010 Kampala Review Conference by the States Parties to the Court.Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize
The Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize was established in 1990 by UNESCO:
"to honour living individuals and active public or private bodies or institutions that have made a significant contribution to promoting, seeking, safeguarding or maintaining peace in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and the Constitution of UNESCO."The prize bears the name of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the late former dictator of Côte d'Ivoire, who served from independence in 1960 until his death in 1993. It is awarded annually. The prize includes a cheque of USD 150,000, a gold medal and a peace diploma. If there are multiple recipients, the cheque is shared equally.Innocent passage
Innocent passage is a concept in the law of the sea that allows for a vessel to pass through the territorial waters of another state, subject to certain restrictions. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Article 19 defines innocent passage as:
1. Passage is innocent so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State. Such passage shall take place in conformity with this Convention and with other rules of international law.
2. Passage of a foreign ship shall be considered to be prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State if in the territorial sea it engages in any of the following activities:
(a) any threat or use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of the coastal State, or in any other manner in violation of the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations;
(b) any exercise or practice with weapons of any kind;
(c) any act aimed at collecting information to the prejudice of the defence or security of the coastal State;
(d) any act of propaganda aimed at affecting the defence or security of the coastal State;
(e) the launching, landing or taking on board of any aircraft;
(f) the launching, landing or taking on board of any military device;
(g) the loading or unloading of any commodity, currency or person contrary to the customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations of the coastal State;
(h) any act of wilful and serious pollution contrary to this Convention;
(i) any fishing activities;
(j) the carrying out of research or survey activities;
(k) any act aimed at interfering with any systems of communication or any other facilities or installations of the coastal State;
(l) any other activity not having a direct bearing on passage.
Innocent passage concedes the coastal country's territorial sea claim, unlike freedom of navigation, which directly contests it.The law was codified in 1958 and affirmed in 1982.International sanctions
International sanctions are political and economic decisions that are part of diplomatic efforts by countries, multilateral or regional organizations against states or organizations either to protect national security interests, or to protect international law, and defend against threats to international peace and security. These decisions principally include the temporary imposition on a target of economic, trade, diplomatic, cultural or other restrictions (sanctions measures) that are lifted when the motivating security concerns no longer apply, or when no new threats have arisen.
According to the Charter of the United Nations, only the UN Security Council has a mandate by the international community to apply sanctions (Article 41) that must be complied with by all UN member states (Article 2,2). They serve as the international community's most powerful peaceful means to prevent threats to international peace and security or to settle them. Sanctions do not include the use of military force. However, if sanctions do not lead to the diplomatic settlement of a conflict, the use of force can be authorized by the Security Council separately under Article 42.
UN sanctions should not be confused with unilateral sanctions that are imposed by individual countries in furtherance of their strategic interests. Typically intended as strong economic coercion, measures applied under unilateral sanctions can range between coercive diplomatic efforts, economic warfare, or as preludes to war.
There are several types of sanctions.
Economic sanctions – typically a ban on trade, possibly limited to certain sectors such as armaments, or with certain exceptions (such as food and medicine)
Diplomatic sanctions – the reduction or removal of diplomatic ties, such as embassies.
Military sanctions – military intervention
Sport sanctions – preventing one country's people and teams from competing in international events.
Sanctions on Environment – since the declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, international environmental protection efforts have been increased gradually.Economic sanctions are distinguished from trade sanctions, which are applied for purely economic reasons, and typically take the form of tariffs or similar measures, rather than bans on trade.People
A people is a plurality of persons considered as a whole, as is the case with an ethnic group or nation, but that is distinct from a nation which is more abstract, and more overtly political. Collectively, for example, the contemporary Frisians and Danes are two related Germanic peoples, while various Middle Eastern ethnic groups are often linguistically categorized as Semitic peoples.Preamble to the United Nations Charter
The Preamble to the United Nations Charter is the opening (preamble) of the United Nations Charter.Statute of the International Court of Justice
The Statute of the International Court of Justice is an integral part of the United Nations Charter, as specified by Chapter XIV of the United Nations Charter, which established the International Court of Justice.Timeline of United Nations peacekeeping missions
The United Nations has authorized 71 peacekeeping operations as of April 2018. These do not include interventions authorized by the UN like the Korean War and the Gulf War. The 1990s saw the most UN peacekeeping operations to date. Peacekeeping operations are overseen by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and share some common characteristics, namely the inclusion of a military or police component, often with an authorization for use of force under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations. Peacekeeping operations are distinct from special political missions (SPMs), which are overseen by the Department of Political Affairs (DPA). SPMs are not included in the table below.United Nations Day
United Nations Day is devoted to making known to people of the world the aims and achievements of the United Nations Organization. United Nations Day is part of United Nations Week, which runs from 20 to 26 October.
In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly declared 24 October, the anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations, as which "shall be devoted to making known to the people of the world the aims and achievements of the United Nations and to gaining their support for" its work.In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a further resolution (United Nations Resolution 2782) declaring that United Nations Day shall be an international observance or international holiday and recommended that it should be observed as a public holiday by United Nations member states.United Nations General Assembly
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; French: Assemblée Générale, AG) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), the only one in which all member nations have equal representation, and the main deliberative, policy-making, and representative organ of the UN. Its powers are to oversee the budget of the UN, appoint the non-permanent members to the Security Council, appoint the Secretary-General of the United Nations, receive reports from other parts of the UN, and make recommendations in the form of General Assembly Resolutions. It has also established numerous subsidiary organs.The General Assembly currently meets under its president or secretary-general in annual sessions at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City, the main part of which lasts from September to December and part of January until all issues are addressed (which often is just before the next session's start). It can also reconvene for special and emergency special sessions. Its composition, functions, powers, voting, and procedures are set out in Chapter IV of the United Nations Charter. The first session was convened on 10 January 1946 in the Methodist Central Hall in London and included representatives of 51 nations.
Voting in the General Assembly on certain important questions, namely, recommendations on peace and security, budgetary concerns, and the election, admission, suspension or expulsion of members is by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting. Other questions are decided by a straightforward majority. Each member country has one vote. Apart from approval of budgetary matters, including adoption of a scale of assessment, Assembly resolutions are not binding on the members. The Assembly may make recommendations on any matters within the scope of the UN, except matters of peace and security under Security Council consideration. The one state, one vote power structure potentially allows states comprising just five percent of the world population to pass a resolution by a two-thirds vote.During the 1980s, the Assembly became a forum for the "North-South dialogue:" the discussion of issues between industrialized nations and developing countries. These issues came to the fore because of the phenomenal growth and changing makeup of the UN membership. In 1945, the UN had 51 members. It now has 193, of which more than two-thirds are developing countries. Because of their numbers, developing countries are often able to determine the agenda of the Assembly (using coordinating groups like the G77), the character of its debates, and the nature of its decisions. For many developing countries, the UN is the source of much of their diplomatic influence and the principal outlet for their foreign relations initiatives.
Although the resolutions passed by the General Assembly do not have the binding forces over the member nations (apart from budgetary measures), pursuant to its Uniting for Peace resolution of November 1950 (resolution 377 (V)), the Assembly may also take action if the Security Council fails to act, owing to the negative vote of a permanent member, in a case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression. The Assembly can consider the matter immediately with a view to making recommendations to Members for collective measures to maintain or restore international peace and security.United Nations General Assembly Resolution 97 (1)
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 97 (1) of 14 December 1946, titled "Registration and Publication of Treaties and International Agreements: Regulations to give effect to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations", was a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly during its first session that affirmed that Adopted by the General Assembly on [Resolution 97 (1)], as
modified by resolutions 364 B (IV), 482 (V) and 33/141 A, adopted by the General Assembly on 1 December 1949, 12 December 1950 and 18 December 1978, respectively.
The resolution on Registration and Publication of Treaties and International Agreements: Regulations to give effect to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations invited the Secretariat of the United Nations to draw up an international treaty and international agreements that would oblige Registration and Publication of Treaties and International Agreements and a
certified statement regarding any subsequent action which effects a change in the parties thereto, or the terms, scope or application thereof, shall also be registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations and published by it.
No party to any such treaty or international agreement which has not been registered in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article may invoke that treaty or agreement before any organ of the United Nations.
The Secretary-General, or his representative, shall issue certified extracts from the Register at the request of any Member of the United Nations or any party to the treaty or international agreement concerned.United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), charged with the maintenance of international peace and security as well as accepting new members to the United Nations and approving any changes to its United Nations Charter. Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions; it is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states. The Security Council held its first session on 17 January 1946.
Like the UN as a whole, the Security Council was created following World War II to address the failings of a previous international organization, the League of Nations, in maintaining world peace. In its early decades, the Security Council was largely paralyzed by the Cold War division between the US and USSR and their respective allies, though it authorized interventions in the Korean War and the Congo Crisis and peacekeeping missions in the Suez Crisis, Cyprus, and West New Guinea. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, UN peacekeeping efforts increased dramatically in scale, and the Security Council authorized major military and peacekeeping missions in Kuwait, Namibia, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Security Council consists of fifteen members. The great powers that were the victors of World War II—the Soviet Union (now represented by Russia), the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body's five permanent members. These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General. The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body's presidency rotates monthly among its members.
Security Council resolutions are typically enforced by UN peacekeepers, military forces voluntarily provided by member states and funded independently of the main UN budget. As of 2016, 103,510 peacekeepers and 16,471 civilians were deployed on sixteen peacekeeping operations and one special political mission.United Nations Security Council Resolution 138
United Nations Security Council Resolution 138 was adopted on June 23, 1960, after a complaint that the transfer of Adolf Eichmann to Israel from Argentina constituted a violation of the latter's sovereignty. The Council declared that such acts, if repeated, could endanger international peace and security and requested that Israel make the appropriate reparation in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the rules of international law. Israel held the view that the matter was beyond the Council's competence and should instead be settled via direct bilateral negotiations.Resolution 138 was approved by eight votes to none; the People's Republic of Poland and Soviet Union abstained. Argentina was present but did not participate in voting.United Nations Security Council Resolution 246
United Nations Security Council Resolution 246, adopted unanimously on March 14, 1968, after reaffirming previous resolution of the topic of the independence of South West Africa and the rights of its people, the Council censured the government of South Africa and demanded they release and repatriate the South West African prisoners in their custody. The Council also decided that if South Africa failed to comply with the previous and present resolutions the Council would meet immediately to determine effective steps or measures in conformity with the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.United Nations Security Council Resolution 409
United Nations Security Council Resolution 409, adopted on May 27, 1977, reaffirmed the Council's previous resolutions and affirmed that the policies created by them would remain in place. The Council, acting under Chapter VII, further decided that all member states should prohibit the use of funds in their territory from use by Rhodesia and/or Rhodesian citizens, save for pensions. The Resolution also decided that the Committee established in Resolution 253 (1968) should examine possible uses of Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations.
The resolution was adopted unanimously without a vote.United Nations Security Council Resolution 54
United Nations Security Council Resolution 54, adopted on 15 July 1948, determined that the situation in Palestine constitutes a threat to the peace within the meaning of Article 39 of the Charter of the United Nations. The resolution ordered all governments and authorities concerned to desist from further military action and to issue a cease-fire to their military and paramilitary forces to take effect at a time to be determined by the mediator in the next three days. It also declared that failure to comply with these orders would demonstrate the existence of a breach of the peace within the meaning of article 39 of the Charter and would require immediate consideration by the Council.
The Resolution further ordered that as a matter of special necessity an immediate and unconditional cease-fire in the City of Jerusalem take place the next day. The Resolution instructed the United Nations Mediator to continue his efforts to de-militarize the City of Jerusalem and assure safe access to it, to examine the alleged breaches of the earlier truces established by the Council and to that end requested the Secretary-General provide him with the necessary staff, funding and facilities needed to carry out his tasks.
The resolution was passed with seven votes in favour. Syria voted against the resolution while Argentina, the Ukrainian SSR and Soviet Union abstained from the vote.United Nations Security Council Resolution 859
United Nations Security Council resolution 859, adopted unanimously on 24 August 1993, after recalling all resolutions on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Council noted that, despite all previous Security Council resolutions since Resolution 713 (1991), the region was still a scene of hostilities and there was little compliance with previous resolutions, particularly by the Bosnian Serb party.
All war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law were condemned and concern was expressed at the deteriorating situation in Mostar in particular. The Council announced its determination to support efforts by the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in continuing to provide humanitarian assistance to the civilian population.
The siege of Sarajevo, Mostar and other cities was met with concern by the Council, which condemned the disruption of public utilities by the Bosnian Serb party in particular, calling on all parties to restore them. The Security Council reaffirmed that it was unacceptable to acquire territory by force and ethnic cleansing, stressing that an end to the hostilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina is required to achieve meaningful progress in the peace process. As the resolution determined that the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina continued to constitute a threat to international peace and security, the measures taken within it would be enacted under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.
The Security Council called for a solution to be found during the peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland, and for an immediate ceasefire in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Demands for unrestricted aid, food, water, electricity, fuel and communications were made in addition to respect for UNPROFOR and UNHCR personnel. Meanwhile, the Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali had indicated that the air force in support of UNPROFOR was now available.
The Council reiterated that a solution to the conflict must be in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law and in that context confirmed:
(a) the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina;
(b) the fact that neither a change in the name of the country nor changes regarding its internal organisation affect membership in the United Nations;
(c) the principles adopted by the London International Conference on the former Yugoslavia, regarding the end of hostilities, the return of refugees and compensation;
(d) the right of all displaced persons to return to their homes;
(e) the preservation of Sarajevo as a multicultural, multiethnic and pluri-religious centre.The Security Council recalled that people would be held individually responsible for war crimes and violations of humanitarian law and its decision in Resolution 827 to establish the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. It concluded by declaring its readiness to assist the parties in implementing a settlement once agreed.Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, also known as VDPA, is a human rights declaration adopted by consensus at the World Conference on Human Rights on 25 June 1993 in Vienna, Austria. The position of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights was recommended by this Declaration and subsequently created by General Assembly Resolution 48/121.
|United Nations System|
|Members and observers|