Facts About The United Nations Security Council

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UN Security Council members vote to adopt sanctions against North Korea in 2013.

The United Nations Security Council was formed on the 24th of October, 1945 with the core mandate of maintaining international peace and security. The Security Council is the most powerful council under the United Nation Organization. Below are some fast facts about the UN Security Council.

  • The Security Council is composed of fifteen UN member States, five of which are permanent members — United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Russian Federation, and China. The permanent members have the power to ‘veto’ a substantive decision of the Council by voting against it.
  • The other ten members of the Council are elected by the General Assembly to two-year non-renewable terms, with five new members elected each year. The ten elected members, known in Charter language as “non-permanent members,” are selected according to a distribution formula from each of the world’s major regions.
  • The presidency of the Council rotates monthly, going alphabetically among member states.
  • For a council resolution to be approved it must have nine “YES” votes out of 15 and no “NO” votes from any of the five permanent members. A “NO” vote from one of the five permanent members kills the resolution.
  • The Security Council is the only United Nations organization that can authorize military action and maintain a military-trained peacekeeping force. In violent international dispute, the Security Council can send intervening peacekeeping troops to secure areas in turmoil.
  • The Council is a fascinating but often frustrating institution. Increased monitoring by NGOs and the media, has improved the public knowledge about the Council’s  work than in the past, but the Council still falls far short on accountability, fairness and effective action.

By: Nwoha Udochukwu

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