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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

'Suffering an enormous human cost', civilian casualties up nearly 20 per cent in 2014 – UN

19 December 2014 Civilian casualties in Afghanistan increased by nearly 20 per cent in 2014 compared to the previous year and are expected to rise to a figure over 10,000 by end of December – for the first time since the UN mission in the country began keeping record in 2008.

Central African Republic: Security Council appeals to rebels to lay down arms

19 December 2014 The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned the recent resurgence of violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) and reiterated its appeal to all parties to the conflict to “immediately and permanently” lay down their arms, release all children from their ranks, and embark upon the path of dialogue as the only viable means towards achieving lasting peace.

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