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Charter of the United Nations (UN Charter)

UN Charter Provisions Related to UN Membership

UN Charter, Chapter II, Articles 3-6 concern Membership in the UN. Only states can be members of the United Nations.

Membership in different organs of the UN varies.

Membership of the principal organs is determined by the Charter of the United Nations and the Statute of the International Court of Justice:

  • According to the UN Charter, Article 9, "The General Assembly shall consist of all the Members of the United Nations"
  • According to the UN Charter, Article 23, "The Security Council shall consist of fifteen Members of the United Nations"; there are five permanent members and ten non-permanent members, five of which are elected each year by the General Assembly for a two-year term
  • According to UN Charter, Article 61, "The Economic and Social Council shall consist of fifty-four Members of the United Nations elected by the General Assembly"; eighteen Members are elected each year for a three-year term
  • According to the Statute of the International Court of Justice, Chapter I, Articles 2-33, the ICJ is composed of fifteen "independent judges, elected regardless of their nationality from among persons of high moral character, who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices, or are jurisconsults of recognized competence in international law"; five members are elected every three years for nine year terms. The General Assembly and Security Council independently elect the judges and candidates must obtain an absolute majority in both organs

In accordance with the Charter, the General Assembly (Article 22), Security Council (Article 29) and the Economic and Social Council (Article 68) may establish subsidiary organs.The decision to establish a subsidiary organ (also called the mandate) usually includes:

  • Type of members: e.g. states or individuals serving in personal capacity
  • Number of members
  • Distribution of seats according to equitable geographical distribution among the regional groups
  • Method of electing members
  • Length of term of membership
  • Example: A/RES/60/251 establishing the Human Rights Council

Additional Resources

Websites, research guides, and FAQs with more information.

Key UN Charter Provisions Related to the General Assembly

Chapter IV : Articles 9-22 : General Assembly

  • Article 9 : Composition
  • Articles 10-17 : Functions and Powers
  • Articles 18-19 : Voting
  • Articles 20-22 : Procedures

UN Research Links

Key UN Charter Provisions Related to the Security Council

Chapter V : Articles 23-32 : The Security Council

  • Article 23 : Composition
  • Article 24-26 : Functions and Powers
  • Article 27 : Voting
  • Articles 28-32 : Procedure

Chapter VI : Articles 33-38 : Pacific Settlement of Disputes

Chapter VII : Articles 39-51: Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression

  • Article 41 : concerns "measures not involving the use of armed force"
  • Article 51 : concerns "the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence"

Chapter VIII : Articles 52-54 : Regional Arrangements

UN Charter Provisions Related to the Economic and Social Council

Chapter X : Economic and Social Council : Articles 61-72

  • Article 61 : Composition
  • Articles 62-66 : Functions and Powers
  • Article 67 : Voting
  • Articles 68-72 : Procedure

UN Charter Provisions Related to the International Court of Justice

Charter of the United Nations

  • Chapter III: Organs : Article 7
  • Chapter VI: Pacific Settlement of Disputes : Article 36
  • Chapter XIV : International Court of Justice : Articles 92-96

Statute of the International Court of Justice

  • Chapter I: Organization of the Court : Articles 2 - 33
  • Chapter II: Competence of the Court : Articles 34 - 38
  • Chapter III: Procedure : Articles 39 - 64
  • Chapter IV: Advisory Opinions : Articles 65 - 68
  • Chapter V: Amendment : Articles 69 & 70

The International Court of Justice was established by the UN Charter. The Statute of the International Court of Justice is annexed to the Charter and is an integral part of the UN Charter. According to the ICJ website, the main purpose of the Statute is to organize the composition and functioning of the Court.

UN Charter Provisions Related to Non-Self-Governing Territories and the UN Trusteeship Council

Chapter XI : Articles 73-74 : Declaration Regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories

Chapter XII : Articles 75-85 : International Trusteeship System

Chapter XIII : Articles 86-91 : The Trusteeship Council

  • Article 86 : Composition
  • Articles 87-88 : Functions and Powers
  • Article 89 : Voting
  • Articles 90-91 : Procedure

UN Charter Provisions Related to the Secretariat

Chapter III : Organs : Article 7

Chapter XV : The Secretariat : Articles 97-101

Overview of the Charter of the United Nations

The Charter of the United Nations has the following parts:

Preamble

Chapter I : Purposes and Principles

Articles 1-2

Chapter II : Membership

Articles 3-6

Chapter III : Organs

Articles 7-8

Chapter IV : The General Assembly

Articles 9-22

Chapter V : The Security Council

Articles 23-32

Chapter VI  : Pacific Settlement of Disputes

Articles 33-38

Chapter VII : Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression

Articles 39-51

Chapter VIII : Regional Arrangements

Articles 52-54

Chapter IX : International Economic and Social Cooperation

Articles 55-60

Chapter X : The Economic and Social Council

Articles 61-72

Chapter XI : Declaration Regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories

Articles 73-74

Chapter XII : International Trusteeship System

Articles 75-85

Chapter XIII : The Trusteeship Council

Articles 86-91

Chapter XIV  : The International Court of Justice

Articles 92-96

Chapter XV : The Secretariat

Articles 97-101

Chapter XVI : Miscellaneous Provisions

Articles 102-105

Chapter XVII : Transitional Security Arrangements

Articles 106-107

Chapter XVIII : Amendments

Articles 108-109

Chapter XIX : Ratification and Signature

Articles 110-111

Statute of the International Court of Justice

Chapter I : Articles 2 - 33 : Organization of the Court

Chapter II : Articles 34 - 38 : Competence of the Court

Chapter III : Articles 39 - 64 : Procedure

Chapter IV : Articles 65 - 68 : Advisory Opinions

Chapter V : Articles 69 & 70 : Amendment

Amendments