Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations provides the framework within which the Security Council may take enforcement action.
It allows the Council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and to make recommendations or to resort to non-military and military action to “maintain or restore international peace and security”.
The UN Charter And Working Principles
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has 13 articles under which the threat to world peace is measured, deliberated upon and eliminated. The 13 articles are namely:
- Article 39 – Determination of threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression
- Article 40 – Provisional measures to prevent the aggravation of a situation
- Article 41 – Measures not involving the use of armed force
- Article 42 – Other measures to maintain or restore international peace and security
- Articles 43-47 – Command and deployment of military forces
- Article 48 – Member States’ obligation to accept the Council’s binding decisions
- Article 49 – Mutual assistance owed by the Member States in carrying out the Council’s decisions
- Article 50 – Effects of Council preventive or enforcement measures towards third States
- Article 51 – Right of an individual or collective self-defense
Before the Security Council can take coercive action, it must determine whether there is a threat to the peace, a violation of the peace or an act of aggression. The spectrum of situations classified by the Council as endangering the peace includes country-specific situations, such as inter-state or intra-state conflicts or internal conflicts of a regional or sub-regional dimension.
In addition, the Council identifies potential or general threats as threats to global peace and security such as acts of terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or the proliferation and illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons.
Tools For Conflict Management
Constrained by U.S.-Soviet rivalry, the Security Council acted infrequently in the four and a half decades between its founding and the close of the Cold War. During that time, it authorized seventeen peacekeeping operations.
Established in May 1948, UNTSO was the first peacekeeping operation established by the United Nations. Since then, UNTSO military observers have remained in the Middle East to monitor ceasefires, monitor armistice agreements, prevent escalation of isolated incidents and support operations under the mandate of United Nations peacekeeping operations in the region performing their respective duties.
Since Russia’s intervention in Ukraine in 2014, tensions have flared between Russia and France, the UK and the US, raising concerns that the panel is less able to defuse crises.
The Syrian conflict has proven to be particularly unwieldy, as Russia, at times alongside China, has used its veto nearly twenty times to block resolutions holding the Assad regime accountable for atrocities documented by UN sources.
The Security Council has approved 59 peacekeeping operations in the years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, many of which have responded to bankrupt states, civil wars or complex humanitarian emergencies and have been deployed in areas of conflict without a ceasefire or parties’ consent.
Since Russia’s intervention in Ukraine in 2014, tensions have flared between Russia and France, the UK and the US, raising concerns that the panel’s inability to defuse crises.
The Syrian conflict has proven particularly unwieldy as Russia, sometimes linked to China, has used its veto nearly twenty times to block resolutions holding the Assad regime accountable for atrocities documented by UN sources.
The first group of United Nations military observers arrived in the mission area on 24 January of 1949 to supervise the ceasefire between India and Pakistan in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
These observers, under the command of the Military Adviser appointed by the UN Secretary-General, formed the United Nations Military Observer Group In India And Pakistan (UNMOGIP).
This hits close to home because, following the hostilities of 1971, the group has remained in the region to observe the ceasefire of 17 December 1971 and report any developments pertaining to violations of the ceasefire in the region.
As of August 2021, there are 111 personnel in the region, with 68 civilians and 43 experts on mission. Top contributors to the personnel include Croatia, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines and more. The budget for this mission to date stands at $10,519,800.
United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission In The Democratic Republic Of The Congo (MONUSCO) has been authorized to use all necessary means to carry out its mandate relating to the protection of civilians, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders under imminent threat of physical violence and to support the Government of the Democratic Republic Of The Congo (DRC) in its stabilization and peace consolidation efforts.
MONUSCO took over from the previously mandated United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) as the situation in DRC developed.
As of August 2021, the total personnel on the ground stands at 17,702, of which 16,316 are uniformed personnel and the rest are UN Volunteers and Experts on Mission. Most of the personnel are volunteers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and their budget for the current fiscal year stands at $1,123,346,000.
United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) comes with the mandate of protecting civilians, monitoring human rights & supporting the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.
On 9 July 2011, South Sudan became the newest country in the world after a 6-year long process which began with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005.
With 19,101 uniformed personnel currently stationed, this mission has been one of the largest ones with maximum participation from Rwanda, India and Nepal. Their budget currently stands at $1,201,887,500, which is for the fiscal year of 2021.
The United Nations might not be perfect, but their contribution in the sectors of peace, reconciliation and conflict management has been impeccable. Due to the structure of the charter, they cannot intervene in a nation’s domestic matters and that is something that needs to be worked upon in order to promote world peace.
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