Safety advice of the United Nations
The Safety advice of the United Nations is the executive body of the United Nations (UNO). It has the principal responsibility for the maintenance of peace and international safety (article 24 of the Charte of the United Nations) and has for that specific capacities defined in Chapters VI, VII, VIII and XII of this Charter. Certain decisions of the Safety advice have force executory (the resolutions) and the Members of the Organization agree to accept and apply the decisions of the Safety advice (article 25).
HistoryThe first session of the Safety advice was taken place, the January 17th 1946, in the building Church House , with London.
Since, the meetings of the Safety advice take place to the head office of UNO, New York.
It was, right from the start, made up of five permanent members, the the United States of America, the Soviet Union, the the United Kingdom, the France and the République of China, at the same time, for the three first because they are the principal winners of the Second world war, and for the five, because representative at this time the majority of the world population (by counting the colonial empires), each one approximation with equality.
The U.N. jargon uses the acronyms P5 and P3 to speak respectively about the 5 permanent members of the Safety advice ( Permanent Five ) and of the 3 Western permanent members (the United States, France and the United Kingdom).
During the adoption of the charter, were also envisaged six nonpermanent members, increased number with ten by an amendment adopted on December 17th, 1963. The resolution of this amendment also fixed, in its article 3, the number of representatives per geographical area.
After its departure on the island of Taiwan in 1949, the Chinese government in exile continued to occupy the seat of China until the November 23rd 1971. On this date, by the resolution 2758 of the General meeting of the United Nations the government of the Popular republic of China replaced Taiwan at the Safety advice like in all the other U.N. authorities.
After the dissolution of the the USSR, the president Boris Eltsine will inform by letter the general secretary of UNO, on December 24th 1991, that the Fédération of Russia succeeds the Soviet Union at the Safety advice, decision ratified by the Council in January 1992.
RoleArticle 24 of the Charter defines it as follows: In order to ensure the fast and effective action of the Organization, its Members confer to the Safety advice the principal responsibility for the maintenance of peace and international safety. Exact attributions and the methods of action of the Council are specified in the chapter V (Safety advice), article 26, in chapters VI (Pacific regulation of the disagreements) and VII (Action in the event of threat against peace, of rupture of peace and act of aggression), and in certain articles of chapter VIII (regional Agreements).
See also: Composition of the Safety advice
In addition to the 5 permanent members, the council is composed of 10 nonpermanent members. The resolution 1991 of the General meeting of the United Nations (voted on December 17th, 1963) fixed their distribution in the following way:
- * five Member States of Africa and Asia (in general, three of Africa and two of Asia);
- * a Member State of Eastern Europe;
- * two Member States of Latin America;
- * two Member States of the Group of the States d' Europe Western and other States.
- * a Member State of Eastern Europe;
Following the election of 2006, the nonpermanent members are in May 2007:
- Africa: South Africa (until 2008), (until 2007), Ghana (until 2007)
- Asia: (until 2008), Qatar (until 2007)
- Latin America: Panama (until 2008), (until 2007)
- Eastern Europe: Slovakia (until 2007)
- Western Europe: Belgium and Italy (until 2008)
See also: Operation of the Safety advice
- the general secretary of the United Nations attends all the meetings of the Council and can intervene there, but does not vote.
- If a Member State not forming part of the Council is in question in a discussed question, it can attend these meetings and intervene there, but does not vote.
- If a Member State belonging to the Council is in question in a discussed question, it abstains from voting.
ProceduresAny decision of the Safety advice must be promulgated by a text voted according to a precise quorum; one names these voted texts of the resolutions. Each member of the Safety advice has a voice.
There are two types of resolutions, those bearing on “questions of procedure”, and… the others. Each one have a different quorum:
- the decisions on questions of procedure are made by an affirmative vote of nine members (article 27, subparagraph 2);
- the decisions of the Safety advice on all other questions are made by an affirmative vote of nine of its members in whom the voices of all the permanent members are included/understood, given that a part with a disagreement abstains from voting (article 27, subparagraph 3).
The condition of the second case on affirmative vote of all the permanent members is what one names wrongly the “right of Veto”, term which does not apply strictly here: the right to veto is an active right and a posteriori , that to invalidate an adopted text. One could more precisely name that “right of blocking”, since the mechanism, liability, make it possible to prevent a priori the adoption of the text. A encyclopedist not having for goal to reform the uses, one will take again here the usual term of “veto”.
The resolutions of the Safety advice are decisions with obligatory range, like specifies it article 25 of the Charter: the Members of the Organization agree to accept and apply the decisions of the Safety advice in accordance with the present Charter.
With the July 13rd 2006, the veto was used 258 times with, by order of importance: 122 times by the Soviet Union/Russia, 81 times by the United States, 32 times by the United Kingdom, 18 times by France and 5 times by China (including 1 time by Taiwan when it had a seat at the Safety advice).
For more half, these vetoes were done in the first decade after the creation of UNO and in the decade 1976-1985: 83 and 60 respectively, is 143 on the whole. During the years 1996-2006 it was used 13 times only, that is to say 2,5 times less often than in the preceding decade which counted some less (1956-65 with 31 vetoes).
Between 1946 and 2006, one notes an inversion between the United States and the USSR (then Russia) since, in the first three decades, the first used this means only 12 times (of which no time in the two first), against 113 times for the seconds, whereas in the three last decades the first used 69 times of them, against 9 times for the seconds (including only one in the last decade).
Among these vetoes, a good number (59) were refusal of admission of novel members, especially in the first two decades (generally allowed members later on) and especially by the USSR.
Problems and dysfunctions
Concerning the members of the Council
Permanent members; Not-representativeness As previously indicated, it is more the representativeness of the China and the France which them role in the war (they rather quickly ceased belonging to the Alliés, since occupied by the Puissances of the Axis, even if the French of the free France and the Chinese government in exile contributed largely to the effort of war) which explains the statute of the five permanent members of the Safety advice. However, the wave of Decolonization S, the end of the Years 1940 in the middle of the Years 1960, the demographic progression of Asia, of Africa and the Latin America, the parallel stagnation of the Soviet Union (and CEI) and its bursting, the stagnation of the France and the the United Kingdom, make that today, even with the 1,3 billion Chinese, these permanent members represent in 2006 only 30% of the world population, including 20% for only China, against more than 50% in 1945, whose less than 15% for China.
This situation explains why a broad part of the Member States, since the Années 1970 especially, question, if not the existence even of the permanent members, at least the choice of those current or the number of permanent members, even of nonpermanent. Thus countries like the South Africa, the Germany, the Brazil, the Egypt, the India, the Indonesia, the Japan, the Nigeria or the Italy wish to become permanent members.
; Veto Another source of problem is the clause on affirmative vote of all the permanent members , which prevents the adoption of resolutions regularly answering however the criteria exposed in chapters VI and VII, because one or more permanent members wish, for various reasons, that the put questions are not settled on the level of the Safety advice, in particular when these resolutions propose coercive mechanisms (Embargo S, Blocus) or direct interventions of forces under mandate of UNO.
One still saw that in 2006 with the attacks of Lebanon by Israel, nonthe respect of his nuclear matter engagements of Iran, and the test of a nuclear bomb by the North Korea: in each one of these cases one of the permanent members blocked the adoption of a coercive resolution, including (case of the Iran) when a preceding resolution had posed a deadline after which this type of measurements was to be taken.
Nonpermanent members; Not-representativeness The question of the representativeness of the nonpermanent members and their number is recurring since the Années 1960. The amendment with the Charter of December 1963 precisely aimed at correcting that while increasing their number from six to ten and by fixing quotas by zones. But since, the demographic rocker and the geopolitical changes make that certain areas under-are represented. The group “Asia-Africa”, for example, accounts for 65% of the population, except permanent members, for 50% of the seats, whereas the Latin America accounts for 10% of the population and 20% of the members. Several proposals were made these three last decades, of which some are hereafter exposed.
; Blocking of the elections Another recurring problem, the competition for the nonpermanent seats which involves severe blockings sometimes. There are the notable case, in 1979, of the 155 ballots which did not manage to decide between Cuba, constant by the Eastern bloc and the Colombia supported by the Occident. It is finally the Mexico, more " neutre" , which was elected.
In 2006 one found a similar problem, this time between a famous candidate “mondialist” (the Guatemala) against a famous candidate “altermondialist” (the Venezuela). After 47 ballots, at November 2nd, 2006, neither the Guatemala nor the Venezuela had succeeded in obtaining the 128 votes necessary (two thirds of the voters at the General meeting which counts 192 Member States). It is finally with the profit of the Panama, candidate of consensus, that the two countries will be withdrawn. November 7th, 2006, Panama is elected nonpermanent member at the Safety advice for two years, representing the Group of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. It has reccueilli 164 votes with the 48e ballot.
Concerning the resolutions
Adoption; Unsuited resolutions The main issue is related to the situation of the permanent members. The fact that only one can prevent the adoption of a resolution, even in the case or the 14 other members are favorable, induced there three phenomena which block the good performance of the Safety advice:
- the complete blocking of a resolution (veto), which was very important during the first decades of UNO, then into full Cold war;
- the infinite negotiations which delay the adoption of a resolution, lead regularly to texts much less constraining than the situation would require it and often arrive after most serious of the discussed crisis (there was of it the example with the Rwanda in 1994, and one again has it with the Darfur in 2006);
- the comminatory resolutions with deadline, which are not followed of an executory resolution after this date, or at least not according to the methods envisaged by the preceding resolution ( cf for 2006, evoked cases of Iran, of Israel and Korea).
; Resolutions not applied or exceeded Always related on the statute of the permanent members, but also to the lack of will, so much of the whole (or a majority) of the members of the Safety advice that of the General meeting, it very often arrives that resolutions remain hanging over one important duration, sometimes beyond of a point where they become impracticable.
The most significant case is that of the “crisis of the Middle East”, term which indicates usually the various conflicts inter or intra-official (and the dependant situations) concerning the adjoining countries of Israel, that it is with this country or between them: Israel even, the Egypt, the Lebanon, the Syria, the Palestinian part of old the Palestine agent and, moindrement, the Jordan and the Iraq. It is the subject which gave place, since 1948, with the greatest number of resolutions: 255 over 1718 (at October 18th, 2006), is approximately 1 out of 7, and an average of 4 per annum.
The resolution 1685 of June 13rd, 2006 Ask the parts concerned to immediately apply its resolution 338 (1973) of October 22nd, 1973 . Meanwhile, more than 100 resolutions passed, including at least three asking the same thing.
Opposite case: in 1975 and 1976, several resolutions raised the question of theEastern one; in the last, dated April 22nd, 1976, Safety advice request with the government indonésien to withdraw without delaying more all its forces of the territory and concludes itself by these words: Safety advice decides to remain seized of the question . The following resolution about the question is voted… on May 7th, 1999. Meanwhile, Indonesia had annexed in fact theEastern one and had made its 27e province of it.
ExecutionIn addition to the fact that certain comminatory resolutions do not give following an executory resolution, many resolutions of this kind in fact unperformed, or are incompletely carried out, because the Member States refuse to lend means human, material and financial sufficient for their execution, or because the situation was badly evaluated and that the mission undertaken is stopped before the objectives are carried out.
The case emblematic of these two situations is that of the Somali crisis of 1991 (which is still in hand in 2006). In May 1992 a mission of interposition is sent, but with human and material means very in lower part of what necessary in a case like this one, a generalized civil war opposing at least five factions and concerning the whole of the territory: less 1 000 men and an almost non-existent logistic support. In December, under the pressure of the United States, the Safety advice decides to set up more adapted mission, with the deployment in the long term of some 40 000 men and of a logistical support ad hoc .
A few months later, the new administration of the United States in place since January 1993 decides to reduce its support considerably and withdraws most of its troops, which formed the essence of the mission, and of its means, and in May 1993, the initial success of the mission becomes the instrument of its failure: the factions turn to their profit the improvement of the infrastructures realized by the troops of UNO, and even start to attack those still on the spot.
The United States then changes again tactic and decides to redeploy troops, but this time apart from the responsibility for UNO, “to make the war with the factions”, which has as a result… to destroy the rebuilt infrastructures, of touching in priority the Somali civilians and reinstalling the famine in the least accessible zones.
The mission will continue until March 1995, without result other than to have allowed, during this “respite”, the rearmament of the factions, and after its departure the civil war will begin again at the point where it was three years before.
That illustrates one of the great weaknesses of UNO: it does not have of a body of intervention and an autonomous staff, which was however envisaged in the Charter of 1945 (articles 45 to 47).
Reform proposals of the Safety advice
Reform compositionAn work group created in 1993, proposed in 1996 to add five permanent members, of which the Germany and the Japan, and three of the Tiers-Monde, like four new seats of not-permanent members, with an aim of increasing the representativeness of the Council; the French president Jacques Chirac had stated himself favorable there in Le Monde of September 22nd, 1996.
In 1997, the United States proposed five new permanent headquarters with a system of rotation, but refuses that the Council exceeds twenty members, to remain effective.
It would seem that one moves rather towards the addition of six permanent novel members: Japan, India, Germany, Brésil and two countries African which could be the South Africa (country most prosperous) and the Egypt (which would also represent the Moslem countries and the Arab world) One would find itself thus with 21 members including 11 permanent representing the whole of the continents, civilizations and the religions. But this principle, in particular constant by Kofi Annan runs up against Pakistani reserves (against India), Italian (Italy does not want to be the only large country of the European Union not to be had a permanent headquarter), Chinese and Korea (against Japan), Mexican and Argentine S (against Brazil) or Nigerians (the Nigeria hopes well to obtain a permanent headquarter).
Reform right to vetoThe French former minister for defense Paul Quilès proposed into 2000 to restrict the veto with the questions of recourse to the force, and to oblige to justify his implementation to cure the opposition to progress.
Reform mode of the economic sanctionsThose are limited in time since 2000; one passed thus from a punitive logic to an inciting logic.
Important obstacles remain for an in-depth reform of the Safety advice. The procedure of revision of the charter is indeed very constraining: it is envisaged by article 109 of the Charter. A vote in the majority of two thirds of the General meeting of the United Nations is necessary in order to call a General conference of the members of the United Nations. The conference recommends modifications of the Charter which will come into effect when 2/3 of the Member States ratify them, in accordance with their internal rights, the five permanent members included/understood.
- Commission of consolidation of the peace of the United Nations
- Committees of the sanctions
- Committee against terrorism
- Committee 1540
- the Council of the human rights of UNO
- Funds of compensation for the United Nations
- Gripping force of the peace of the United Nations
- International penal court for ex-Yugoslavia
- International penal court for Rwanda
- Audit Board, checking and inspection of the United Nations
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