31 Facts About Security Council


Permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states to the United Nations or nominees for the office of Secretary-General.

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Resolutions of the Security Council are typically enforced by UN peacekeepers, which consist of military forces voluntarily provided by member states and funded independently of the main UN budget.

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On 17 January 1946, the Security Council met for the first time at Church House, Westminster, in London, United Kingdom.

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Security Council was largely paralyzed in its early decades by the Cold War between the US and USSR and their allies and the Council generally was only able to intervene in unrelated conflicts.

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However, the Security Council found itself bypassed in favour of direct negotiations between the superpowers in some of the decade's larger conflicts, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Vietnam War.

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In 1991, the Security Council demonstrated its renewed vigor by condemning the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on the same day of the attack and later authorizing a US-led coalition that successfully repulsed the Iraqis.

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All members of the Security Council are signatory to the NPT, and all permanent members are nuclear weapons states.

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UN's role in international collective security is defined by the UN Charter, which authorizes the Security Council to investigate any situation threatening international peace; recommend procedures for peaceful resolution of a dispute; call upon other member nations to completely or partially interrupt economic relations as well as sea, air, postal and radio communications, or to sever diplomatic relations; and enforce its decisions militarily, or by any means necessary.

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The Security Council recommends the new Secretary-General to the General Assembly and recommends new states for admission as member states of the United Nations.

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Decisions taken under Chapter VII, such as economic sanctions, are binding on UN members; the Security Council is the only UN body with authority to issue binding resolutions.

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Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court recognizes that the Security Council has authority to refer cases to the Court in which the Court could not otherwise exercise jurisdiction.

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The Security Council exercised this power for the first time in March 2005, when it referred to the Court "the situation prevailing in Darfur since 1 July 2002"; since Sudan is not a party to the Rome Statute, the Court could not otherwise have exercised jurisdiction.

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The Security Council made its second such referral in February 2011 when it asked the ICC to investigate the Libyan government's violent response to the Libyan Civil War.

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At the UN's founding in 1945, the five permanent members of the Security Council were the Republic of China, the Provisional Government of the French Republic, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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In 1971, General Assembly Resolution 2758 recognized the People's Republic as the rightful representative of China in the UN and gave it the seat on the Security Council that had been held by the Republic of China, which was expelled from the UN altogether with no opportunity for membership as a separate nation.

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Five permanent members of the Security Council were the victorious powers in World War II and have maintained the world's most powerful military forces ever since.

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Role of president of the Security Council involves setting the agenda, presiding at its meetings and overseeing any crisis.

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Security Council generally meets in a designated chamber in the United Nations Conference Building in New York City.

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Security Council has held meetings in cities including Nairobi, Kenya; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Panama City, Panama; and Geneva, Switzerland.

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In March 2010, the Security Council moved into a temporary facility in the General Assembly Building as its chamber underwent renovations as part of the UN Capital Master Plan.

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In 1994, the French ambassador complained to the Secretary-General that "informal consultations have become the Security Council's characteristic working method, while public meetings, originally the norm, are increasingly rare and increasingly devoid of content: everyone knows that when the Security Council goes into public meeting everything has been decided in advance".

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Only members of the Security Council are permitted in the conference room for consultations.

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The open meeting of the Security Council is merely a public ratification of a decision that has already been reached in private.

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In 2012, the Security Council held 160 consultations, 16 private meetings and 9 public meetings.

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In times of crisis, the Security Council still meets primarily in consultations, but it holds more public meetings.

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In 2016, the Security Council held 150 consultations, 19 private meetings and 68 public meetings.

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Article 29 of the Charter provides that the Security Council can establish subsidiary bodies in order to perform its functions.

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Scholar Sudhir Chella Rajan argued in 2006 that the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, who are all nuclear powers, have created an exclusive nuclear club that predominantly addresses the strategic interests and political motives of the permanent members—for example, protecting the oil-rich Kuwaitis in 1991 but poorly protecting resource-poor Rwandans in 1994.

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Since three of the five permanent members are European, and four are predominantly white developed nations, the Security Council has been described as a pillar of global apartheid by Titus Alexander, former Chair of Westminster United Nations Association.

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Security Council has been criticized for failure in resolving many conflicts, including Cyprus, Sri Lanka, Syria, Kosovo, and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, reflecting the wider short-comings of the UN.

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Proposals to reform the Security Council began with the conference that wrote the UN Charter and have continued to the present day.

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