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United Nations Security Council

Under the Charter of the United Nations, United Nations Security Council is one of the six main organs of the United Nations and is responsible for maintaining international peace and security. According to the Article 25 of the Charter, all members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions made by the Security Council, of which makes the decisions of the Security Council legally binding. The very first session of the Security Council was held on January 17, 1946, at Church House, Westminster, London. Ever since the first session, the Security Council held the United Nations Headquarters in New York City as their permanent residence.

The United Nations Security Council consists of fifteen members, of which five are permanent members and ten are rotating in a two years basis. Permanent members are namely France, People’s Republic of China, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States of America. Every member of the Security Council has one vote. However, five permanent members have the right to veto, which means without their consensus, a resolution would be destined to fail. This right to veto has risen controversy and critiques towards the Security Council due to its sensitive nature that may prevent swift action in case a conflicting political interest occurs with a permanent member and the current agenda of the Security Council. Therefore, this makes the discussions and collective action in the Security Council highly challenging.

The United Nations Security Council holds the legitimacy to take action if international peace and security are at risk. In the moment of a crisis or a threatening situation, the Security Council may try to reach an agreement by peaceful means. If such action is not appropriate and/or non- resolving, the Security Council may take further action by issuing a ceasefire directive and/or military observation and peacekeeping force. Beyond this, the Security Council may enforce measures of economic sanctions, blockade and even a collective military action. Apart from the peace and security discourse, the Security Council recommends to the General Assembly regarding the appointment of the Secretary-General and admission of new members to the United Nations. Additionally, the Security Council together with the General Assembly elects the judges of the International Court of Justice

In today’s world of rapidly developing international crisis and peace-threatening developments by states and non-state actors; members of the Security Council are being challenged more intensively than the years past. It is a demanding challenge to pursue international peace, security and collaboration while respecting the sovereignty and tackling political agendas. In a globe with highly complex security threats and advancing methods of terrorism, the Security Council will be asked to resolve this proliferating nature of chaos.

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United Nations Security Council
Open Agenda
Study Guide