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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

Haiti: Security Council visit sheds important light on situation as elections loom, members say

29 January 2015 Members of the Security Council heard briefings today from the co-leads of a trip taken by the body to Haiti, where they saw first-hand the critical work being done by the United Nations Mission there in support of a better future for the country’s people.

DR Congo: Security Council renews sanctions, extends mandate of expert monitoring group

29 January 2015 The United Nations Security Council today renewed its sanctions on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to prevent the supply, sale or transfer of arms, training, and financing, to armed groups.

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