Portal:United Nations

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The flag of the United Nations

The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are to facilitate cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, and human rights issues. It was founded in 1945 with the signing of the United Nations Charter by 51 countries.

The UN was founded after the end of World War II (October 24,1945) by the victorious Allied Powers in the hope that it would act to intervene in conflicts between nations and thereby avoid war. The organization's structure still reflects in some ways the political power-structure of when it was founded. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council, each of which has veto power on any UN resolution, are the main victors of World War II or their successor states: the People's Republic of China (formerly the Republic of China), France, Russia (formerly the Soviet Union), the United Kingdom, and the United States.

There are currently 193 United Nations member states, including the majority of internationally recognized independent state. From its headquarters in New York City, the UN and its specialized agencies decide on substantive and administrative issues in regular meetings held throughout each year. The United Nations is divided into five major administrative organs - the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Secretariat, the International Court of Justice, and the Economic and Social Council. Additional bodies deal with the governance of all other United Nations system organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The UN's most visible public figure is the Secretary-General, currently Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who attained the post on 1 January 2007. The newest Member State is South Sudan, added on July 2011.

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Selected article

The Security Council chamber

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is the organ of the United Nations charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions regimes, and the authorization for military action.[1] Its powers are exercised through United Nations Security Council Resolutions. The Security Council consists of five permanent members (the People's Republic of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States), which have veto power over any resolution, and ten temporary members, which are elected for two-year terms by the United Nations General Assembly.

Selected biography

Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan

Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan KCSS (17 January 1933 – 12 May 2003) served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 1966 to 1978, during which he reoriented the agency's focus beyond Europe and prepared it for an explosion of complex refugee issues. He was also a proponent of greater collaboration between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UN agencies. The Prince's interest in ecological issues led him to establish the Bellerive Foundation in the late 1970s, and he was a knowledgeable and respected collector of Islamic art.

Born in Paris, France, he was the son of Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan and Princess Andrée Aga Khan. He married twice, but had no children of his own. Prince Sadruddin died of cancer at the age of 70, and was buried in Switzerland.

Selected image

UN bombing victims
At Baghdad International Airport in 2003, cases containing the bodies of victims of a truck bombing of the UN Office of Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, and draped in the UN flag, are carried onto an aircraft to be airlifted to their respective home countries.

Photo credit: United States Federal Government

Selected quote

Kofi Annan
In the 21st century, I believe the mission of the United Nations will be defined by a new, more profound awareness of the sanctity and dignity of every human life, regardless of race or religion.
Kofi Annan, Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006

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  1. ^ "Under the Charter, the functions and powers of the Security Council are:".