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United Nations Security Council

The Security Council

In Brief...

  • 15 members: five permanent members with veto power and ten non-permanent members, elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term.
  • Meetings are called at any given time when the need arises.
  • Rotating presidency: Members take turn at holding the presidency of the Security Council for one month.

Under the Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 Members, and each Member has one vote. Under the Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.

The Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement. In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.

The Security Council also recommends to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and the admission of new Members to the United Nations. And, together with the General Assembly, it elects the judges of the International Court of Justice.

Latest News

Africa’s Sahel region can become hotbed for terrorist recruitment, UN official warns

25 November 2015 Without international aid to improve education and jobs, the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa will become fertile ground for recruiting terrorists among its tens of millions of disadvantaged people, the top United Nations official for the region warned the Security Council today.

UN urges 'zero tolerance at the highest levels of leadership' to end violence against women and girls

25 November 2015 Ending gender-based violence is a top priority for achieving the United Nations founding mission of peace, development and human rights, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, noting his specific concerns about rising violent extremism and its impact on women and girls, and calling for global collective action to end the scourge.

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