United Nations The United Nations is an organization of sovereign nations not a world government. It provides the machinery to help find solutions to disputes or problems, and to deal with virtually any matter of concern to humanity.It does not legislate like a national parliament. But in the meeting rooms and corridors of the UN, representatives of almost all countries of the world large and small, rich and poor, with varying political views and social systems have a voice and vote in shaping the policies of the international community. The year 1995 marks the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Organization.The UN has six main organs, listed below. All are based at UN Headquarters in New York, except the International Court of Justice, which is located at The Hague, Netherlands.The General AssemblyThe General Assembly, sometimes called the nearest thing to a world parliament, is the main deliberative body.
All Member States are represented in it, and each has one vote. Decisions on ordinary matters are taken by simple majority. Important questions require a two-thirds majority.The Assembly holds its regular sessions from mid-September to mid-December; special or emergency sessions are held when necessary. Even when the Assembly is not in session, its work goes on in special committees and bodies.The Assembly has the right to discuss and make recommendations on all matters within the scope of the UN Charter. It has no power to compel action by any Government, but its recommendations carry the weight of world opinion. The Assembly also sets policies and determines programmes for the UN Secretariat. It sets goals and directs activities for development, approves the budget of peace-keeping operations and calls for world conferences on major issues.
Occupying a central position in the UN, the Assembly receives reports from other organs, admits new Members, approves the budget and appoints the Secretary-General.The Security CouncilThe UN Charter, an international treaty, obligates States to settle their international disputes by peaceful means. They are to refrain from the threat or use of force against other States, and may bring any dispute before the Security Council. The Security Council is the organ to which the Charter gives primary responsibility for maintaining peace and security. It can be convened at any time, whenever peace is threatened. Member States are obligated to carry out its decisions. The Council has 15 members. Five of these China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States are permanent members.
The other 10 are elected by the Assembly for two-year terms. Decisions require nine votes; except in votes on procedural questions, a decision cannot be taken if there is a negative vote by a permanent member (known as the veto).When a threat to international peace is brought before the Council, it usually first asks the parties to reach agreement by peaceful means. The Council may undertake mediation or set forth principles for a settlement. It may request the Secretary-General to investigate and report on a situation. If fighting breaks out, the Council tries to secure a cease-fire. It may send peace-keeping missions to troubled areas, with the consent of the parties involved, to reduce tension and keep opposing forces apart.
It may deploy peace-keepers to prevent the outbreak of conflict. It has the power to enforce its decisions by imposing economic sanctions and by ordering collective military action. The Council also makes recommendations to the Assembly on a candidate for Secretary-General and on the admission of new Members to the UN.The Economic and Social CouncilWorking under the authority of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council coordinates the economic and social work of the UN and related specialized agencies and institutions. The Council has 54 members. It usually holds two organizational and one substantive session each year; the substantive session includes a high-level special meeting, attended by Ministers and other high officials, to discuss major economic and social issues.The Council recommends and directs activities aimed, for instance, at promoting economic growth of developing countries, administering development projects, promoting the observance of human rights, ending discrimination against minorities, spreading the benefits of science and technology, and fostering world cooperation in areas such as better housing, family planning and crime prevention.The Trusteeship CouncilThe Trusteeship Council was established to ensure that Governments responsible for administering Trust Territories take adequate steps to prepare them for self-government or independence.
In 1994, the Security Council terminated the UN Trusteeship Agreement for the last of the original 11 Trusteeships the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Palau), administered by the United States. The task of the Trusteeship System was thus completed, with all Trust Territories attaining self-government or independence, either as separate States or by joining neighbouring independent countries. The Trusteeship Council, by amending its rules of procedure, will now meet as and where occasion may require.The International Court of JusticeThe International Court of Justice (also known as the World Court) is the main judicial organ of the UN. It consists of 15 judges elected by the General Assembly and the Security Council. Only countries may be parties in cases brought before the Court.
If a country does not wish to take part in a proceeding it does not have to do so (unless required by special treaty provisions), but if it accepts, it is obligated to comply with the Court’s decision.The SecretariatThe Secretariat works for all the other organs of the UN and administers their programmes. Made up of a staff working at Headquarters and all over the world, it carries out the day-to-day work of the UN. At its head is the Secretary-General. Staff members are drawn from some 170 countries.—————————————- —————————————-WHAT THE UN DOES FOR PEACE . . .Throughout its 50 years of existence, a central purpose of the UN has been to preserve world peace. The UN has helped resolve disputes between nations, reduce tensions, prevent conflicts and put an end to fighting.
It has carried out complex operations involving peacemaking, peace-keeping and humanitarian assistance. It has thus played a major role in resolving some of the most protracted conflicts of recent years. The means at its disposal to bring about peace are varied: a Security Council decision ordering a cease-fire and laying down guidelines for settling a dispute . . .
good offices of the Secretary-General . . . a compromise worked out by a mediator . .
. unpublicized diplomatic approaches during informal encounters . . . dispatch of a fact-finding team . . .
observer missions or peace-keeping forces made up of contingents from Member States under the command of the UN.The demand for UN peace-keeping has increased dramatically, with 21 new operations in 1988-1994, compared with 13 over the previous 40 years.In early 1995, about 69,000 UN troops, military observers and civilian police, provided by 77 countries, were deployed in various areas of the world. More than 720,000 military personnel have served with the UN forces since 1948, and more than 1,100 peace-keepers have lost their lives. Many thousands of civilians have also served. . .
in SomaliaThe civil war that broke out in 1991 resulted in more than 300,000 people dead and five million threatened by hunger. The UN helped eliminate mass starvation, stop the large-scale killings and bring a bitter conflict to an end. It established in April 1992 the UN Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM), followed in December by the Unified Task Force, led by the United States. As a result, the level of killings, starvation and malnutrition fell dramatically. In 1993, a new UN Operation (UNOSOM II) replaced the Unified Task Force.
UNOSOM II sought to restore order, promote reconciliation and help rebuild Somalia’s civil society and economy; its mandate ended in March 1995. Various UN agencies are at work, under difficult conditions, to provide humanitarian assistance. . . in MozambiqueThe UN has helped secure peace in Mozambique.
In 1992, to facilitate implementation of the peace agreement between the Government and the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), the Security Council set up the UN Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ). ONUMOZ monitored the cease-fire, verified the demobilization of combatants, coordinated humanitarian aid and monitored in 1994 the country’s first multi-party elections, which led to the peaceful installation of a new Government. ONUMOZ successfully completed its mission in January 1995. . . in CambodiaThe UN helped end the 12-year conflict in Cambodia.
The Secretary-General over the years exercised his good offices in the search for peace, and in 1988 presented proposals for a political settlement. High-level meetings of the five permanent members of the Security Council led to the signing in 1991 of the Agreements on Cambodia a peace treaty to end the conflict and prepare the country for elections. The Agreements assigned the UN an unprecedented role. A large operation, the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), was set up to supervise the cease-fire, disarm combatants, repatriate refugees, and organize and conduct free and fair elections. The May 1993 elections led to the peaceful installation of a new Government in September 1993, thus successfully fulfilling UNTAC’s task. .
. in Iran and IraqThe UN was instrumental in ending the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq. Intensive mediation efforts by the Security Council and the Secretary-General led in August 1988 to a cease-fire and to the acceptance by both countries of a 1987 UN peace plan. After the cease-fire, the UN military observers of the UN Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG) were deployed between the two opposing armies to supervise the end of the hostilities and troop withdrawal. UNIIMOG completed its task in 1991.
. . in AfghanistanThe UN played a similar peacemaking role in Afghanistan. As a result of six years of negotiations conducted by a personal envoy of the Secretary-General, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Soviet Union and the United States signed in April 1988 agreements aiming at a settlement of the conflict. To verify compliance with the agreements, the UN deployed the observers of the UN Good Offices Mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Soviet troop withdrawal was completed on schedule in 1989, thus fulfilling the Mission’s task. The Secretary-General and his personal envoy have continued to work for a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan. . . in Central AmericaThe UN has helped resolve the conflicts in Central America. The UN Observer Group in Central America (ONUCA), in place between 1989 and 1992, monitored security commitments undertaken by five Central American countries.
It also helped demobilize some 22,000 members of the Nicaraguan resistance (also known as contras), who in March-June 1990 turned in their weapons to ONUCA. Another UN mission monitored the February 1990 elections in Nicaragua the first UN-monitored elections in an independent country.In El Salvador, the Secretary-General assisted in talks between the Government and the Farabundo Mart National Liberation Front (FMLN) aimed at ending the 12-year conflict. The Secretary-General’s mediation led to the 1992 peace agreement between the Government and FMLN, which ended the conflict and opened the way to national reconciliation. The UN Observer Mission in El Salvador monitored all agreements concluded between the Government and FMLN, and observed the 1994 elections. In Guatemala, the UN supervised talks between the Government and the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG), which led in 1994 to two agreements opening the way to a settlement of the 30-year conflict.
In November 1994, the UN set up a Mission for the Verification of Human Rights in Guatemala. . . in HaitiIn 1990, the UN monitored the first democratic elections in Haiti, which led to the installation of a Government headed by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. After a military coup in 1991 forced Mr. Aristide into exile, the UN mediated an agreement for the return to democracy.
In the absence of further progress, the Security Council authorized in 1994 the formation of a multinational force and the use of all necessary means to facilitate the departure of the military leaders. After the landing of the United States led multinational force, President Aristide returned to Haiti in October 1994. A UN peace-keeping force, the UN Mission in Haiti, is in place to sustain the secure and stable environment established by the multinational force. . .
in the former YugoslaviaThe UN has strenuously sought to resolve the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. To help restore peace, the UN imposed in 1991 an arms embargo, while the Secretary-General and his envoy assisted in seeking a solution to the crisis. A peace-keeping force, the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR), deployed in 1992, sought to create conditions of peace and security in Croatia, facilitated the delivery of humanitarian relief in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and helped ensure that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was not drawn into the conflict. In 1995, UNPROFOR was split into three operations covering the three countries. As UN-sponsored negotiations continued, the UN peace-keeping forces and UN agencies sought to maintain cease-fires, protect the population and provide humanitarian assistance.
. . in the Middle EastThe Middle East has long been a major concern to the UN. In 1948 a military observer group, the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), was set up to monitor the truce called for by the Security Council during the first Arab-Israeli war. UNTSO’s functions have evolved, but its military observers have remained in the area, helping to defuse tension.
A peace-keeping force, the UN Emergency Force, was created in 1956 at the time of the Suez crisis. It oversaw the withdrawal of British, French and Israeli troops and contributed to peace and stability in the region. After the 1973 war, two peace-keeping forces were dispatched to the Middle East. The second UN Emergency Force remained in the Sinai until 1979, when an Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty was signed. The UN Disengagement Observer Force, deployed on the Golan Heights in 1974, mainta …