The United Nations
The United States hosted the San Francisco Conference in early 1945 to finalise and sign the Charter of the new organisation, the ‘United Nations’. The United Nations was established on 24th October 1945. Since then, we celebrate 24th October as UN Day The United Nations (UN) is an important international institution of our times. It was set up in 1945 with 51 countries as member nations and its current membership is 193.To promote the goals of peace and cooperation, the United Nations has six principal organs.They are;
- The General Assembly
- The Security Council
- The Economic and Social Council
- Trusteeship Council
- International Court of Justice
The General Assembly
Among the principal organs, the General Assembly is the central body. The principles of sovereign equality and universality are embodied in its composition. All members of the United Nations (presently191) are members of the General Assembly. Irrespective of size or strength, every member has one vote in the Assembly. Some important Achievements.
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
- The Declaration on Decolonisation (1960)
- Declaration on New International Economic Order (1974)
- Declaration on Rights of the Child (1989)
- Declaration on International Terrorism (1994)
The Security Council
The Security Council is the most powerful decision-making body of the United Nations. It has the main responsibility to maintain international peace and security. Unlike the Assembly, the membership of the Council is limited to 15 countries only, out of which five are permanent members. These five countries are China, France, Russia, the UK and the USA. The remaining ten members- called non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly for a term of two years.
The Economic and Social Council
The Economic and Social Council works to promote international cooperation in economic and social fields. It comprises 54 members all of whom are elected for a term of three years by the General Assembly, giving representation to various geographical regions. Decisions are taken by a simple majority of members present and voting.
The Trusteeship Council
The Trusteeship Council was created to supervise the working of the international trusteeship system. All the 11 territories, originally placed under the trusteeship system have become free. Now that there is no trust territory to be administered, the Trusteeship Council has ceased to play an active role in the UN system and does not hold meetings.
The International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice, known as the World Court, located at The Hague (The Netherlands), is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The Court consists of 15 judges, who are elected jointly by the General Assembly and the Security Council for a term of nine years.
The Secretariat General comprises the international staff posted at the UN headquarters, New York and other locations throughout the world. They are expected to be impartial and independent in the discharge of their responsibilities. the United Nations and not any particular member country. The Chief of the Secretariat is the Secretary General who is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council for a term of five years.
Since the inception of the Organization, six persons have served as the Secretary–General. They are;
- Trygve Lie of Norway (1946-52)
- Dag Hummarskjold of Sweden (1953 – 61)
- U Thant of Myanmar (1961 – 71)
- Kurt Waldheim of Austria (1972 – 81)
- Javier Perez De Cuellar of Peru (1982 – 91)
- Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt (1992 – 96)
- Kofi Annan from Ghana. (1997-2006)
- Presently, Ban Kimoon of South Korea is occupying this prestigious office - (Since 2006)