The expression “United Nations” was first named during the Second World War in 1942 by Franklin Roosevelt in the “Declaration of United Nations”. In this declaration several states pledged their governments to fight together against the axis powers.
The forerunner of the UNO was the League of Nations, which was founded during the First World War. Later on it established under the Treaty of Versailles to promote international cooperation and to maintain peace and security. The end of the League came with the Second World War because it failed to prevent the war.
In 1945 representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco to draw up a Charter on the proposals of 4 representatives. The United Nations Organization officially became into existence, when the Charter had been ratified by a few countries.
Altogether 51 countries became member states, when the UNO was founded. Over the years a lot of other countries joined the organization. Nowadays there are 191 member states. Switzerland just got a member in 2002 and therefore it’s besides Timor-Leste the latest member.
setting out rights and obligations of the member states
establishing the Organization’s organs and procedures
maintain international peace and security
Over the decades, the United Nations has helped to end numerous conflicts, often through actions of the Security Council, which is the primary organ for dealing with issues of international peace and security
- persuade opposing parties to use the conference table rather than force of arms
- help restore peace when conflict does break out
- activities like peacemaking, peacekeeping, disarmament
solve international problems (social, cultural, economic,…)
Although people associate the UN with making and keeping peace and security, economic and social development also plays a major role. AIDS, drugs, crime or refugees are very important issues for the UN as well. The principal body, which deals with these issues, is the ECOSOC.
develop friendly relations among nations
promoting human rights
•right on living
•equal rights in front of the law
•freedom of speech and religion
•protection from torture and slavery
•protection from discrimination
•protection from prosecution
The UN created a protection code of human, to which all people can aspire. The UN also made some agreements, which go into special human rights. The 3 bodies of the UN for human rights are the General Assembly, committees of experts and world conferences. The General Assembly promotes and enforces human rights. The world conferences are held every year, on which the further development of human rights gets discussed. The third part form several committees of experts, which supervise, if the terms of human rights are kept to.
six principal organs:
- General Assembly
- Security Council
- International Court of Justice
- Economic and Social Council
- Trusteeship Council
several programs and bodies
The General Assembly is composed of representatives of all member states. Lots of important decisions concerning budgetary, peace and security or the admission of new members are made by the General Assembly or by one of the six committees, which are part of the General Assembly as well. A session is held every year usually in September.
The Security Council consists of 15 members. 5 of them are permanent members, the other members are voted by the General Assembly every two years. The Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace. If a dispute leads to a fight, the Security Council or a subsidiary body of it has to bring it to an end.
The International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice has its seat in The Hague. The main task is to decide on disputes between countries, which acclaim its jurisdiction. In the ICJ there are 15 judges, which are elected for 9 years.
Economic and Social Council
This Council has 54 members. Every year a third gets elected for three years. A lot of developing countries are represented in the Economic and Social Council, because of its tasks, which concern human rights, promoting the economy in poor countries or raising the living standard. The Economic and Social Council is the body with the most subsidiary agencies and commissions.
The secretariat is the highest administrative body. Its most important task is the organizational support for the other bodies. The secretary general is the highest person in the secretary and is seen as the “head of the UN” because of the numerous public appearances.
The budget of the UN amounted in 2000 to over 2,5 billion dollars. The biggest part of the budget comes from the member state. Every member state has to pay an amount, which is assessed on a scale approved by the General Assembly.