UN SECURITY COUNCIL (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 - I.R)

News-CRUX-10     30th March 2024        
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Context: In a significant development, the UN Security Council has issued a demand for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. The resolution also called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

  • United States, traditionally a staunch supporter of Israel and known for frequently exercising its veto power to shield Israel from UN actions, abstained from the vote.

UN Security Council (UNSC)

  • About: The UNSC is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, responsible for maintaining international peace and security.
  • Function: Its primary functions include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the imposition of sanctions, and the authorization of military action.
  • Membership: Comprises 15 member states: 5 permanent members with veto power (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States) and 10 non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.

oThe permanent members' veto power allows them to block any substantive resolution, regardless of the level of international support.

  • Decision-Making Process:

oResolutions require the affirmative votes of at least nine members, including the concurring votes of all five permanent members, to pass.

oPermanent members may abstain from voting without exercising their veto power.

  • Nature of UNSC Resolution: In general, UN General Assembly resolutions are in the nature of recommendations, which explicate the UN membership’s position on a certain matter. UNSC resolutions are normally seen as somewhat more prescriptive.

oHowever, there is a difference between UNSC votes under Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, with the latter considered as binding.

oIn any case, options for enforcing a UNSC resolution are limited if the country in question refuses to accept it.

oIf the UNSC wants to enforce its decision, it can decide to authorize travel bans, sanctions, or the sending of troops.