Charter of the United Nations
The Charter of the United Nations is a foundational treaty that established the United Nations (UN) as an international organization. It was signed on June 26, 1945, in San Francisco, California, and entered into force on October 24, 1945. The UN Charter outlines the purposes, principles, structure, and functions of the United Nations, as well as the rights and obligations of its member states.
The main purposes of the United Nations, as stated in the Charter, are:
- To maintain international peace and security.
- To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.
- To promote international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian nature.
- To be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in achieving these common goals.
The Charter also establishes the principal organs of the United Nations, which include:
- The General Assembly: It is the main deliberative and policymaking body of the UN, consisting of representatives from all member states. Each member state has one vote, and important decisions require a two-thirds majority.
- The Security Council: It has primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. It consists of 15 members, including five permanent members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and ten non-permanent members elected by the General Assembly.
- The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC): It promotes international economic and social cooperation and coordinates the work of specialized agencies, functional commissions, and other UN bodies working in these areas.
- The International Court of Justice: It is the principal judicial organ of the UN and settles legal disputes between states.
- The Secretariat: It is headed by the Secretary-General, who is the chief administrative officer of the UN. The Secretariat carries out the day-to-day work of the organization, including providing support to the other organs.
The Charter also establishes principles that member states are expected to uphold, such as sovereign equality, non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states, peaceful settlement of disputes, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The UN Charter has been supplemented by numerous international treaties, declarations, and resolutions over the years. It serves as a fundamental document guiding the work of the United Nations in addressing global challenges and promoting peace, security, development, and human rights worldwide.