Purposes and Principles of the UN (Chapter I of UN Charter)

Articles 1 and 2 of the Charter of the United Nations outline the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

The Repertoire individually covers several of the paragraphs in Articles 1 and 2. Under each section are found lists of implicit references and explicit references to the specific paragraph of the Article from the meeting records, reports and letters that have been issued as official documents of the Security Council. There are also case studies that examine specific instances where the Council discussed these Articles or which otherwise illustrate the way that the Council has applied these Articles in its decision making


A. Article 1 (2) - Equal rights and self-determination of peoples

Article 1 (2) establishes that one of the main purposes of the United Nations, and thus the Security Council, is to develop friendly international relations based on respect for the “principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples”. The case studies in this section cover instances where the Security Council has discussed situations with a bearing on the principle of self-determination and the right of peoples to decide their own government, which may relate to the questions of independence, autonomy, referenda, elections, and the legitimacy of governments.

B. Article 2 (4) - Prohibition of threat or use of force in international relations

Article 2 (4) of the Charter prohibits the threat or use of force and calls on all Members to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of other States. The case studies in this section typically cover instances where Article 2 (4) was cited and discussed in the context of inter or intra State violence, war or other territorial conflicts.

C. Article 2 (5) - Obligation to give assistance to the United Nations and refrain from assisting the target States of preventive or enforcement action

Article 2 (5) of the Charter states that Members shall assist the United Nations in any action taken in accordance with the Charter, and refrain from giving assistance to a State against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action. The Repertoire has generally focused on the first principle of the Article, and from 1989-2007 provided examples of calls for assistance made in Security Council decisions. From 2008 onwards, the Repertoire has focused on Council practice relating to the second principle of the Article and featured for instance calls for refraining from actions that could be considered as providing assistance to a State under Council action.

D. Article 2 (6) - Need to ensure that non-United Nations Members act in accordance with its Principles

Article 2 (6) of the Charter states that the Organization shall ensure that non-Members also act in accordance with its principles. The Repertoire studies on Article 2 (6) covers instances where the Security Council has addressed itself to non-Members of the United Nations. It has not been included since 2003 when near-universal membership in the United Nations limited its relevance.

E. Article 2 (7) - Non-intervention in domestic affairs by the United Nations

Article 2 (7) states that the United Nations has no authority to intervene in matters which are within the domestic jurisdiction of any State, while this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII of the Charter. The Repertoire covers those cases where this principle of non-intervention by the United Nations was raised and the authority of the Council to involve itself in a particular situation was questioned.