The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations. The principal organs of the United Nations tend to be six in number. The United Nations is one of the world largest and prominent international organizations. The United Nations plays various roles around the world, where each of the principal organs has a significant mission to carry out. Since the creation of the UN by world nations, the main purpose of its establishment was to maintain peace and harmony among its member states, facilitate favorable relations between world nations in terms of the international law, promote the respect of human rights and encourage the freedom of speech and movement among other security rights. The United Nations as the organization has it’s headquarter in New York City. The UN as the world organization has six main principal agency organs, which play different roles to ensure that the key target of its establishment is, achieved (Malone, 2004).
UN Six Principals
The UN Security Council ensures that peace is maintained in all its member states through the enforcement of peace forums as well as through trade embargos. It also ensures that security and compulsory resolutions are adopted by its member states. The UN Social and Economic Council majorly deal with social and economic affairs of its member states, which are 54 in number. The Council ensures that human rights are adhered to social, economic and health problems of the member states, which, in turn, are observed so as to raise the general standard of living. The UN Trusteeship Council specifically deals with issues pertaining to territories of the member countries. The General Assembly, which comprises of all the UN members states, deals with issues of the membership and adopts the budget. The UN Secretariat is usually chaired by the Secretary-General and is the organ, which deals with administration issues of the member states. In addition, there is the UN International Court of Justice based in Netherlands, which deals with issues that emerge from the members, whereas they feel these issues have to be dealt externally. Its judgment is rendered through the relative majority (Fenton, 2003).
The UN Security Council has a primary responsibility of the maintenance of peace in all its member states. It is an executive organ that is well organized in terms of its structure. It has enough mandates to execute and enforce its measures for it has been given that power. The Council tends to comprise of 15 members in total, which are both the non-permanent and the permanent. The non-permanent members are 10 in number and tend to be elected for only two terms. They ensure that the principal of equity is observed in terms of the geographical distribution. The number of non-permanent members from Africa is five, the Asian continent also gives five, while there is one from the eastern part of Europe and two each from Western Europe and Latin America. The permanent ones include the United States, France, Russia, China and Great Britain. The one month term of the presidential seat is taken in the alphabetical order of the member states appearance (Manusama, 2006).
The UN Security Council has two modes of voting and one of the procedures or protocols, which have to be observed, is that nine affirmative votes have to be obtained. A policy to be passed five of the nine affirmative votes has to be those of the permanent member countries. The UN relies on the Charter, through which they derive their power from to take any action that has been raised. They have to recommend appropriate measures to be taken on any danger that is likely to occur in the world. The Council considers actions of two sorts, namely a dispute that has emerged and might pose a substantial danger to the world. The Security Council has to analyze the dispute at first and pass the necessary recommendations, if it fails, and it is an act of aggression, or it is a threat or breach of peace, then enforcement measures have to be applied to bring the situation under control.
The actions taken include rupturing of diplomatic and economic relations with that country or military exposure if need be. The Charter of the UN Security Council has 19 chapters, and these are the basis of the power as it passes the affirmative actions to the member states that pose a danger to the world. The first chapter highlights the purpose of the United Nations, which include the security and peace. The collective measure has to be taken to either remove or prevent threats to the peace, suppression of aggressive acts and use of any other acceptable means to bring peace in a way that confirms principles of the international law. Justice ensures favorable diplomatic relations on the equity and equality of rights, self-determination and restoration of universal peace.
All the members as per the act are supposed to adhere to the principle of the equality of sovereignty of all of its members. The members should enjoy rights and benefits as the result of their membership. All peace issues should be solved in a peaceful manner to ensure that no security, peace and justice are endangered. The member countries should give the necessary support required from them and withdraw any further support of any country, with which the Security Council is taking action. All member countries should refrain from any threat or use of the excessive force against any form of the interference of the political independence of any given state and avoid interfering with its territorial integrity. The member states should act in accordance to the generally established principles of the United Nations.
The second chapter is about the membership; it consists of certain rules that represent specific requirement that one has to satisfy in order to become the member of the United Nations. It emphasizes the type of relations that have to exist between the member states. Then, the third chapter is about all six principal organs of the United Nations and the functions of each organ; the last one is the one of the Security Council and has got various articles within it, describing the power and functions.
Each member state has to ensure smooth transition of the activities of the United Nations in exercising its responsibility of security and peace maintenance, where the Security Council acts on behalf of its member states. During discharging of its obligations, the United Nations has to ensure that it is in accordance with the principles of the United Nations. Its purposes is the pacific settlement of disputes, actions having respect to breaches of peace, acts of aggression and threats to peace and regional agreements. The last chapter is the basis, through which they derive their power in the International Trusteeship System.
The Security Council has to submit annual reports to the General Assembly for their consideration. The United Nations accepts and carries decisions in accordance with the present Charter of the Security Council. In addition, the Security Council with the assistance of the committee of the military staff has to submit to all the members of the United Nations a regulation of armaments that has been established by the Council. These are meant to ensure that the least diversion is done on the economic and human resources of the world in the maintenance of the security and peace.
There are also various voting rules to be observed, ensuring that the member states have only one vote. The affirmative nine members’ votes should be adhered to on procedural matters. The procedure has been established and has to be followed, complimenting a continuous functionality of the Security Council and ensuring a physical presence of the members of the Security Council. They have to be represented on meetings held by the organization. The meeting held by the Security Council should be attended by a governmental representative or any other designated member that ought to represent the member country. The Security Council selects a place to hold the meetings in a place that seems judgmental and will facilitate the execution of its work to a considerable degree. The Security Council is also allowed to establish subsidiary organs other than the main Security Council so as to delegate responsibilities for the performance of its functions (Fassbender, 2011).
The Security Council has been given the mandate to adopt its own rules of carrying out its activities, which is applicable to the way the president, who is to chair the Security Council, has to be selected. The non-member are allowed to participate in the Security Council meetings, but are not allowed to vote, when the issue on discussion is also affecting that country. The non-members are allowed to give their views and raise issues, which have to be taken seriously; however, they are not allowed to participate in the voting process.
The United Nations Security Council permanent members are sometimes called the Big Five or the Permanent Five. The members formed the Big Five immediately after the Second World War. Each of the members has got a power to prevent any draft resolution of the Council from being adopted without taking into consideration the support for the draft by other states. The Big Five countries include the United Kingdom, France, the United States, China and Russia. These countries have the most powerful military forces and have the highest military expenditures. They were victorious in the World War II and were also the largest arm exporters, alongside the Republic of Germany. They are the only nations allowed by the nuclear non-proliferation (NPT) to be declared as nuclear weapon states. The vote of a permanent member state is vital in terms of the passing of a given resolution, though it never presents the adoption of draft solution in the Security Council (Hilaire, 2005).
Members, which belong to the Council, but not among the Big Five, are classified in this category of being non-members. They are ten in number. They are elected for the two-year term by the General Assembly with a replacement being done of five members each year. The term usually starts on January. The members are chosen on the basis of regional balancing and thereafter have to receive at least two thirds of votes cast for that seat by the General Assembly of the United Nations. A member that is retiring is not eligible for the reelection again into the Security Council. The voting sometimes can result in a tie, for example, a similar case that happened in the year 1979, when Colombia and Cuba both had 154 votes each, but they ended up withdrawing in favor of Mexico (Bosco, 2009).
The number of non-permanent members from Africa is five in number, the Asian continent has five representatives, while there is one from the eastern part of Europe and two each from Western Europe and Latin America. The votes of the non-permanent member states are not of such significance, when a policy is being made. This happens if a permanent vote of the member country is not present, but there are nine votes in number, then it will not be passed. The only special attention is paid to the permanent members and not the non-permanent members.
The permanent members have the power of preventing or denying any adoption of any substantive draft council resolution, irrespective of the kind of support they can end up getting from the international communities. Thus, the power of veto is only enjoyed and manifested by the permanent members. This means that the permanent members dominate in the adoption of the council draft constitution, and they have their say and failure of one member not being in support of the council draft resolution will result in the stagnation of that resolution. The power of veto does not, however, apply to all situations; for example, in the case of procedural votes, where the Security Council of the United Nations permanent members can vote on the opposing side of the procedural draft resolution without having to block the adoption that has been fully accepted by the Council.
The absence or abstention of a permanent member, when it also comes to the issue of draft resolutions from behind adopted by the United Nations, it does not affect it in any way. This means that the draft resolution will still be passed if any of the permanent states decides deliberately to absent itself or decides to absentee itself with an apology, there is no effect on the draft resolution that is going to be voted for. The power of veto being exercised by the permanent members will only be applied or used, when the issue at hand is that, which deals with a case or scenario, where the Big Five cast a negative vote on the draft resolution that is substantive (Malone, 2001).
Power of Permanent Member
The power of a permanent member is based on the veto power as it is so called in the United Nations. They have the power of preventing or denying any adoption of any substantive draft council resolution, regardless of the kind of support they can end up getting from the international communities. This simply means that if the international community’s supports are fully given to the draft solution, but a single member opposes, then it means that the draft resolution is not going to sail through. The permanent members are also the ones, who have the right or privilege of enjoying the power of veto. For example, the United States of America, when it was planning to attack Iraq in the name of the nuclear power production and generation of nuclear bombs by Iraq as a nation, though the United Nations were against, if they went ahead with the war with the support of Great Britain, which is a permanent member, it has only the power of veto and privilege of being a super power.
They went ahead and destroyed another nation, going against the United Nations principals of respecting other nations and ensuring good diplomatic relations. They ended up not finding nuclear bombs nor did they find weapons of mass destruction, which they were looking for. The other thing to note about the power of permanent member states is that the abstention of attending the United Nations meetings, then the issue of draft resolutions from being adopted by the United Nations is not affected by that act of a permanent state being absent in meetings or conferences that is held by the United Nations Security Council.
The power of permanent members, which is the power of veto does not apply in all situations, especially those involving procedural votes, where the Security Council of the United Nations can vote on the opposing side of the procedural draft resolution without having to block the adoption that has been fully accepted by the Council. A negative vote on the draft resolution that is substantive does also allow the permanent member countries to exercise.
Contra of the Power of Veto
The power of veto has made the Big Five the most powerful nations to have an exclusive enjoyment to the right of singlehandedly veto of any draft resolution proposed for the United Nations Security Council. The manner, in which the veto right is being exercised, has been criticized, because it has been a show of might of permanent members. It has been used as a tool of displaying the power and economic might by the Big Five. Since it has been a show of might as they are granted the veto right of the five permanent nations they used to care little in terms of the restoration of security and peace in some of the nation in crisis. Thus, the veto has been a major reason behind the failure of bringing down the war in some nations, for instance, in the year 1994, in the Rwanda genocide, which resulted in massive deaths of Rwandans. The same case applies to the Darfur war in Sudan in the year 2004. All these failures are attributed to the veto right that is being enjoyed by the United Nations permanent members (Luck, 2006).
The veto rights of the permanent member states have also led to the lack of accountability for most of the decisions that are passed by the United Nations Security Council. Since they have already secured their positions in the United Nations Security Council, they are satisfied that being the case, issues, dealing with the global and climate change, are not given a special attention as the view it as an act of charity to other countries in the world. The veto power of the permanent membership has contributed towards the failure of the nations in responding adequately the disastrous violence in Darfur, Sudan, the war of the Vietnam and the genocide in Rwanda, and even the Kuwait oil occupation. This proves the worth of abolishing the issue of permanent members and veto rights so as to create a full accountability and contributory decision making.
The veto right has been a stumbling block to agreement being reached easily in the United Nation Security Council meeting, because the veto right has stipulated that the permanent members show have a total agreement for a resolution to be passed. The veto right has resulted in problems of the unfair regional representation as well as making the United Nations Council flexible and legitimate. The issue being discussed is emerging issues in the developing countries, and for no reason should the veto power be exercised by powerful nations at the expense of those countries, which are highly affected. The voting of the permanent members should not be given a first priority as manifested in the power of veto.
The veto right has made developing countries view the Big Five in the UNSC as a symbol of the western dominance; this results in the equality in decision making. The veto right has made the UNSC to be more efficient and effective in terms of a battle for the veto power that has emerged, whereas the permanent members have used their veto in achieving deadlocks in terms of the admission procedures (Gharekhan, 2006).
Pro of Veto Right
The veto right, on the other hand, has resulted in the increase in legitimacy. The developing countries have gained some sense of reputation in the world, because of the principle of equality among all nations, whereas the permanent nations have ensured that all countries are represented and each has got a say. The principle of equality has also resulted in the establishment of a further stable nation because of their recognition by the United Nations Security Council, like South Africa, Brazil and India, which, in turn, have joined hands with other nations in the UNSC in security and peace keeping. The veto right of permanent members has an advantage for they have the interest of developing countries in the UNSC.
The veto right of permanent members has made the sanctions made by the UNSC be powerful, otherwise they can be powerless without the permanent members; the strength of the diplomacy, cultural strengths, military and economic strengths of the permanent nations have brought stability in the UNSC. The sanctions made by the UNSC to ensure that the sanctions they give are followed, because it is logical for the powerful nation to give sanctions than a small unstable country to give the sanction to most powerful nations (Lowe, 2008).
The veto right of permanent members has ensured the continuity of issues of the international security and peace. These have enabled the United Nations to solve long withstanding problems with a lot of decisiveness force, regardless of the influence and pressure from the non-permanent members. Thus, it results in gradual changes of the non-permanent members. Only the permanent ones, who have been present from the beginning, are in a better position of executing that given problem better.
In conclusion, the United Nations Security Council, being an organ of the United Nations, has contributed to the peaceful existence of people in the present world in spite of color, race or religion. This organ has created a peaceful environment worldwide by promoting peace and harmony. It has intervened in areas affected with the war, such as Somalia, and provided a substantial support to the present governments to ensure the respect of the people’s will. With the creation UNSC, much as been achieved in many parts of the worlds in terms of security issues. The member states in the UNSC have always agreed on common and urgent issues that affect the world in large, although sometime, some permanent members such as US and UK, have always differed in how to undertake security issues to stop more shed of blood. For example since US has more veto power, sometimes it goes against the agreement made by other member states. In the year 2004, US went against the decision made my UNSC in engagement o war activities in Middle East. In general, many countries are fighting for voting rights in the UNSC, while others are fighting to be included as the permanent members of the UNSC. The UNSC has made the world the better place to live in terms of security issues (Wet, 2004).