The UNO is an association of sovereign states bound by a Charter (Constitution) to maintain international peace and security. It is the worlds largest international organization; a successor to the league of Nation.

UN Charter

On June 26, 1945, the delegates of 50 countries at San Francisco (USA) signed the United Nations Charter (Constitution).

Foundation Day of the UNO

The UNO Formally came into existence on October 24, 1945 when governments of China, France, and the United Kingdom, the former USSR, the United States and a majority of other states ratified the UNO Charter. October 24 is celebrated as the United Nations Day throughout the world.

First Regular Session of the UNO

The first regular session of the UNO was held in London in January 1946 and Trygve Lie (Norway) was elected the first Secretary General of the UNO.

Headquarters of the UNO

These are located on the First Avenue, UN Plaza, New York City, and United States of America.

The UNO Flag

UN Flag - UNO FlagThe UNO General Assembly adopted the UNO flag on October 20, 1947. The white UNO emblem is superimposed on a light blue background. The emblem consists of the global map projected from the North Pole and embraced in twin olive branches (symbol of peace). The UNO flag is not to be subordinated to any other flag in the world.

Aims and Objectives

The main objectives of the UN are:

  1. To maintain peace and security in the world
  2. To work together to remove poverty, disease and illiteracy and encourage respect for each other?s rights of basic freedom
  3. To develop friendly relations among nations.
  4. To b a centre to help nations achieve these common goals.

Membership of the UNO

Admission of Members: New members are admitted to the General assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council and two-third of the members should vote in favor. Members are expelled or suspended in the same manner.

Permanent Members: There are five permanent members of the Security Council: China, France, Russia, UK and USA.

Veto: A negative vote by a permanent member bars action by the Security Council and is called a veto. Each permanent member enjoys the power were veto.

Membership: When the UNO Charter was signed, there were only 50 members. By 1994 the membership rose to 185. The following nations were admitted to the UNO in 1993:

Czech Republic Slovakia
Macedonia Monaco
Eritrea Andorra

In 1994: Palau, a newly independent Pacific nation which had been under the trusteeship of the USA.

Non-members: (1) Switzerland (2) Taiwan. In addition several other small states like Nauru. Tonga, Vatican City are also not members of the UNO.

Organization of the UNO

The principal bodies of the UN are:

  1. The General Assembly
  2. The Security council
  3. The Economic and Social Council
  4. International Court of Justice
  5. Trusteeship Council
  6. Secretariat

General Assembly (GA)

Headquarters: New York

Membership: Consists of all member states of the UNO. Each member can send five delegates but each nation has only one vote.

Functions: All other UNO bodies report to the General Assembly. It discusses and makes recommendations on any subject covered under the UNO Charter except those with which the Security Council may be dealing.

Meetings: The General Assembly meets every year in regular sessions beginning on the third Tuesday in September.

UN Security Council (SC)

Headquarters: New York

Membership: The Security Council has 15 members- five permanent members enjoying veto power (China, France, Russia, UK and USA) and 10 non-permanent elected members. The non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly. They retire on rotation every two years.

Function: The Security Council is responsible for international peace and security. Any nation, irrespective of its membership of the UNO, can put forth its problem before the Council. The Security Council can recommend peaceful solutions or, if necessary, may order use of force to restore peace.

The Economic and Social Council

Headquarter: New York

Membership: Consists of representatives of 54 member-countries elected by a two-third majority in the General Assembly. One-third of the members are elected every year to serve for a period of three years and one-third of the members retire annually.

Functions: The Economic and Social Council carries on the functions of the UNO with regard to international economic, social, cultural, educational, health and related matters.

International Court of Justice (ICJ)

Headquarter: The Hague (Netherlands)

Membership: Consists of 15 judges who are elected by the General Assembly and the Security Council for a term of nine years.

Function: It gives advisory opinion on legal matters to the bodies and special agencies of the UNO and considers the legal disputes brought before them.

Justice R. S. Pathak, Chief Justice of India, was elected Judge of the ICJ on April 18, 1989. He became the third Indian on whom this honour has been bestowed. The other two were Mr. Justice B.N. Rao and Mr. Justice Nagendra Singh.

Trusteeship Council

Headquarter: New York

Membership: There are five permanent members of the Security Council plus those nations, who administer Trust Territories.

Functions: To safeguard the interest of inhabitants of territories which are not yet fully self-governing and are governed by an administering country.

The Secretariat

Headed by: Secretary General which is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council.

Tenure: Five years and eligible for re-election after the tern expires.

Functions: It is the Chief administrative office of the UNO, which coordinates and supervises the activities of the UNO.

Secretary Generals of the UN

1. Trygve Lie 1946-52
2. Dag Hammarskjold (He was killed in an Air Crash) 1953-61
3. U. Thant 1962-71
4. Dr. Kurt Waldheim 1972-81
5. Javier Perez De Cuellar 1982-91 (Two Terms)
6. Dr. Boutros Ghali 1992-1997
7. Kofi Annan 1997-2007 (Two Terms)
8. Ban Ki-moon 2007-Till Date

Official Languages of the UNO

There are now six official languages recognized by the UN:

  1. Chinese
  2. English
  3. French
  4. Russian
  5. Spanish
  6. Arabic