What is the role of United Nations Security Council

role of United Nations Security Council

The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It is the executive organ of the UN. It has 15 members–five permanent and 10 non-permanent members. The non-permanent members are elected by the UN General Assembly for a period of two years. Its five permanent members or P-5 are: US, Russia, China, UK, and France.

The permanent members of the Security Council have been given the veto power. It means any permanent member may stop the Council from taking any decision by casting its vote against the pending proposal on any substantive issue. To decide whether a particular issue is a substantive issue or not is also a substantive matter. Thus, the permanent members have two occasions to use their veto power one at the time of deciding whether it is a substantive issue or not and second at the time of deliberation on a particular matter about the course of action. This is known as ‘Double Veto’. In non-substantive matters, the decisions of the Security Council are taken with the support of 9 members.

Functions and Role of the Security Council
The Security Council may take the following actions to maintain international peace and security or the threat to the same :
1. Holding consultation and persuading nations to act in favor of peace.
2. Providing mediation and arbitration to solve disputes threatening international peace.

3. Imposing financial and diplomatic sanctions against the nation for ensuring international peace. Iran and North Korea are the recent cases where the UNSC has imposed economic sanctions.
4. As a final resort, the Security Council is authorized to take military action against the nations which are found guilty of a violation of peace. The UN does not have a regular military force. The forces of the UN are contributed by the member states. The Korean War 1950-53 and Gulf war 1991 are successful examples of UN military action. NATO and other forces have been used in Afghanistan and Libya under the mandate of the UN.

Military action is known as peace enforcement. Besides, the Security Council also undertakes peace-keeping activities in different parts of the world. The difference is that in peacekeeping operations, the security forces of the UN are authorized to use arms only in self-defense.

Besides, the UNSC also has some other functions with respect to elections of members to UN bodies, passing of the budget, amendment of Charter etc.

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