United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council refers to one of the major organs that comprise the United Nations. This organ is responsible for maintenance of the international security and peace. Originally, the Security Council was made of 11 members. Five of these were permanent members while six were non-permanent members. The permanent members were the United Kingdom, the United States, Soviet Union, France and China.
The United Nations Assembly elected the non-permanent members and they served for a term of two years. In 1965, the United Nations Charter was amended to increase membership to the Security Council to 15. This number was inclusive of the initial five members but the non-permanent members were increased to 10.
Selection of non-permanent members is done in a way that ensures that all geographic regions are represented equitably. Asia or Africa produce five members, Eastern Europe produces one member, Latin America produces two, and Western Europe or other areas produce two members. The General Assembly elects 5 of the 10 non-permanent members every year and they serve for a term of two years. Each year, five non-permanent members retire. Presidency of the council is held in a rotation by each member for duration of a month.
In all procedural matters, every member holds a single vote. However, the definition of this is in dispute sometimes. Council decisions are made through an affirmative vote by any of the nine members. Affirmative votes of nine members are required in deciding on substantive matters including disputes investigation or sanctions application. These votes include those of the permanent members who hold veto power.
Just like the whole United Nations, the United Nations Security Council was established after the Second World War. This council was aimed at addressing failures of other international organizations, specifically the League of Nations that had failed to maintain global peace. During the early years of its existence, the Security Council was greatly affected by the divisions caused by the Cold War between the USSR and US as well as their allies.
However, the council was still effective despite these challenges. For instance, the United Nations Security Council was able to authorize interventions in Congo Crisis and Korean War. It also sent peace keeping missions in West New Guinea, Cyprus and the Suez Crisis. Peace keeping efforts of the United Nations increased with authorization of the Security Council after the USSR collapsed. Today, resolutions of the United Nations Security Council are enforced by the UN peacekeepers.
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