The United Nations was formed at the end of the Second World War, proving to be the successor to the League of Nations. It was hoped that the United Nations wouldbecome an effective forum for preventing war and conflict between nations.
The Charter of the United Nations was written with high ideals, seeking to promote the ideals of human rights, humanitarian assistance and the need to avoid conflict through collective assistance
Unlike the League of Nations membership of the UN was open to all “peace-loving states” that accepted the obligations of the UN Charter. There are currently 191 countries that are members of the UN, only the Vatican State has chosen to remain outside the UN.
The United Nations System is based on six principal bodies, part of what is collectively called the United Nations System:
1. UN General Assembly
2. UN Security Council
3. UN Economic and Social Council
4. UN Trusteeship Council
5. UN Secretariat
6. International Court of Justice
The United Nations came into existence on October 24, 1945 after it had been ratified by the 5 permanent members
1. People’s Republic of China,
3. Soviet Union
4. United Kingdom
5. The United States
The United Nations headquarters is situated in New York City. It was built in 1949 and 1950 and was officially opened on January 9, 1951. There are also United Nations headquarters in Geneva, The Hague, Vienna, and elsewhere.
Functions of the United Nations
1. Arms Control and Disarmament
2. Peace Keeping
UN peacekeepers are sent to various regions where armed conflict has recently ceased, in order to enforce the terms of peace agreements and to discourage the combatants from resuming hostilities. These forces are provided by member states of the UN; the UN does not maintain any independent military. All UN peacekeeping operations must be approved by the Security Council.
3. Humanitarian Assistance
In conjunction with other organizations, such as the Red Cross, the UN provides humanitarian services to disaster areas. These agencies include: World Food Programme and the High Commissioner for Refugees.
4. Human Rights
The Pursuit of human rights was one of the main reasons for setting up the United Nations, following the genocide of the Second World War.The UN Charter obliges all member nations to promote “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights” and to take “joint and separate action” to that end. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, though not legally binding, was adopted by the General Assembly in 1948 as a common standard of achievement for all.
5. International Court of Justice
Includes war crimes tribunal
6. UN Security Council
Discusses global problems and can offer resolutions to try and deal with them
Nobel Peace Prize
Books on The United Nations
United Nations – Official Site
Alphabetical Index of Official United Nations websites