“The UN was not created to take mankind to heaven, but to save humanity from hell.” –Dag Hammarskjöld, UN Secretary-General, 1953-1961
The Security Council (UNSC) was established in 1946 as one of the six main organs of the newly formed United Nations. It is the primary peacekeeping force within the international organization and is charged with maintaining international security. Unlike the other committees in the U.N., the Security Council has the unique capability to issue sanctions and to authorize military action. The Security Council often creates subsidiary committees to enforce varying resolutions. The UNSC is made up of fifteen members, five of which are permanent and ten of which rotate biennially. The five permanent members include the nations that “won” the Second World War: France, United Kingdom, The United States, China, and The Soviet Union (now Russia) . There are ten additional rotating non-permanent members of the Security Council. The permanent states represented in the Security Council also maintain veto power, granting them the ability to unilaterally strike down any action proposed by the committee as a whole.
Under UNSC Resolution 1674, adopted in 2006, the Council once again affirmed its responsibility to intervene in cases of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and other crimes against humanity. Its mandate further calls for the protection of civilians in an armed conflict. Historically the Security Council has had an important role in ending armed conflicts between two nation states. One such example is UNSC Resolution 242, which effectively ended the Yom Kippur War between Israel and Palestine and is still considered the basis for current peace negotiations. More recently, the gross violations of human rights witnessed in Libya in 2011 prompted the UNSC to pass Resolution 1970, which called for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya. Most recently, in 2012 the Security Council has accounted for the issues in the Middle East and African nations.
One of the biggest weaknesses of the UNSC is entrenched in the veto power allotted to the five permanent members. As we have seen in situations ranging from issuing sanctions to sending peacekeeping forces, the Western nations (France, UK, and the US) tend to be against the Eastern powers (China and Russia). This has often led to continued violations of human rights and ultimately resulted in unilateral action by one member state. This, in effect, defeats the entire purpose of a Security Council and poses a threat to the validity of the entire organization. The UNSC remains a relevant entity in international peace building and security but cannot remain so if its members do not abide by its resolutions. This calls for a change in the structure of its entity for it to remain relevant and adequately representative of the entire United Nations’ membership, and not primarily the five most powerful nations.
Background Guides and abstracts for HAMUN 43 coming soon!
1. Resolving the Political and Humanitarian Crisis in Venezuela
The country of Venezuela has been undergoing turmoil since the latter parts of the Chavez administration all the way up to the current day Maduro administration. Venezuela has been plagued with all forms of crime, corruption, and economic downturn and is currently still fighting to hold off the effects from these issues. The UN’s Security Council needs to take action in preventing the issues affecting Venezuela from proliferating throughout the area into other countries and help resolve the issues harming the people of Venezuela. The crisis occurring in Venezuela presents a massive security problem for northern South America and cooperation between Venezuela and the UN is key to quelling this situation.
2. Establishing a Cohesive Framework for North Korean Nuclear Disarmament
Currently, North Korea has significantly ramped up its nuclear weapons program and has made significant progress in producing weapons of mass destruction. Constant nuclear weapons test in the surrounding bodies of water by North Korea has caused many countries such as South Korea and the United States to fear the possibilities of potential nuclear conflict with North Korea. The escalation of tensions between North Korea and other nuclear armed countries has produced a fear that war may be inevitable in the near future. The Security Council needs to take swift action in diplomatically engaging North Korea and bringing an end to the rampant production of nuclear weapons. Disarming the North Korean weapons initiative is a vital step in de-escalating tensions between antagonistic countries and preventing the possibility of nuclear war in the near future.