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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

Ban appoints Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as new special envoy for Yemen

25 April 2015 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appointed Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed of Mauritania as his Special Envoy for Yemen after Jamal Benomar of the United Kingdom stepped down from the role.

Security Council must match scale of Syria crisis with 'bold response' – UN relief officials

24 April 2015 The Syrian crisis is getting worse and civilians are paying the price, senior United Nations humanitarian officials said today as they called for an end to the “numbness to the senseless violence”, while the Security Council demanded parties to the conflict facilitate expanded aid operations and immediate delivery of life-saving supplies to hard-to-reach and besieged areas.

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