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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

Yemen: Security Council demands militants’ withdrawal from north-western city

11 July 2014 Amid a serious deterioration of the security situation in Yemen due to ongoing turmoil in the country’s restive northwest, the United Nations Security Council today demanded that Al Houthi militants, all armed groups and parties involved in the violence disarm, withdraw and relinquish control of [the city of] Amran.

Middle East: Appealing for ceasefire, Ban urges Israel, Palestinians to find common ground

10 July 2014 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today warned the United Nations Security Council of the “risk of an all-out escalation in Israel and Gaza” and made an urgent appeal for maximum restraint, saying his “paramount concern is the safety and well-being of all civilians, no matter where they are.”

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