In this article, the main bodies of the United Nations are explained in detail and their duties are explained. At the same time, the activities of the United Nations to protect human rights are explained. In the last section, the limit of the power of the Security Council, which has the authority to make binding decisions, is explained.


As a result of the deaths of millions of people in World War I, countries that wanted to meet with the same opinion and hope decided to establish the League of Nations. Unfortunately, it could not prevent the outbreak of World War II. With the end of the Second World War, the United Nations (UN) was established on 24 October 1945 with the idea of “peace, dignity, and equality on a healthy planet”. In the first part of this article, the main bodies of the United Nations will be examined in detail. In the second part, the contribution of the United Nations to human rights will be explained. In the last part, the limits of the power of the Security Council will be discussed.



With the end of World War II, countries that did not prohibit the use of force in international relations at a universal level established the United Nations. Countries signed the United Nations Agreement on June 26, 1945. The purpose of the United Nations is to create an international organization that has the power to resolve conflicts between states without war if a conflict arises. Unlike the League of Nations, 5 countries have absolute veto power in the United Nations. These are the USA, Russia, France, England, and China. There are also 10 temporary members. For the Security Council to take decisions, there is a 9/15 rule. The important point here is that absolute members should not vote otherwise. Official languages are Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French, Russian, and English. The main bodies of the UN, which has 193 members today, are the General Assembly, the Security Council (SC), the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and the UN Secretariat.


  1. a) General Assembly

The General Assembly consists of all members of the United Nations. (UN Charter Article 6) Each member has one and equal vote in the General Assembly. (UN Charter Article 18) Every leader can talk about whichever issue they want to talk about. The duties of the General Assembly are to make proposals on disarmament, to propose solutions through peaceful means if there is a problem between countries, and to control the budget. Votes on important matters like peace and security or admission of a new member to the General Assembly and budgetary matters are passed by two-thirds of the members present. In other matters, the absolute majority is sufficient.

  1. b) Security Council (SC)

It is one of the strongest organs of the United Nations. It consists of 15 members. 5 of these 15 members are permanent members. Five permanent members have the right to veto. Ten members are replaced every two years by-elections held at the United Nations General Assembly. One of its most important features is that while the decisions taken by other bodies are advisory, the decisions taken by the Security Council are binding. The reason for this stems from the United Nations Charter signed by the member states. If the Security Council decides that any threat to the peace, it makes recommendations. (UN Charter article 39) The Security Council calls upon the parties to comply with the measures before taking action. (UN Charter article 40) The Security Council may decide measures that do not involve armed forces, such as economic, diplomatic, and communication, and may require these measures to be implemented by members of the United Nations. (UN Charter article 41) According to the United Nations charter, the members agree to accept the decisions taken by the Security Council. (UN Charter article 25) According to Article 42 of the UN Charter, the Security Council may decide to “take action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and stability. Further, Article 43 establishes that all member states are obliged, on the Security Council’s request, to make available “armed forces, assistance, and facilities.



  1. c) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is the United Nations’ central platform for reflection, debate, and innovative thinking on sustainable development. Consisting of 54 members, this council is held responsible for economic and social studies.

  1. d) Trusteeship Council

The Council was established to help ensure that trust territories were administered in the best interests of their inhabitants and of international peace and security. The trust territories have all now attained independence, either as separate nations or by joining neighboring independent countries. The council completed its task and was suspended in 1994.

  1. e) International Court of Justice (ICJ)

The international court of justice is the judicial body of the United Nations. It consists of 15 judges elected from the General Assembly and the Security Council. The reason for this is that it can represent the different legal systems in the world. It also has the International Court of Justice Status and this is part of the United Nations Charter. (UN Charter article 92) The General Assembly or the Security Council may ask for ‘advisory opinion’ when there is a legal problem.   (UN Charter article 96)

  1. f) UN Secretariat

The Secretariat, one of the main organs of the UN, is organized along departmental lines, with each department or office having a distinct area of action and responsibility. At the head of the United Nations Secretariat is the Secretary-General. The Secretariat carries out the substantive and administrative work of the United Nations as directed by the General Assembly, the Security Council, and the other organs. At its head is the Secretary-General, who provides overall administrative guidance. ‘The main functions of the Secretariat are; to gather and prepare background information on various issues so that government delegates can study the facts and make recommendations; to help carry out the decisions made by the different organs of the United Nations; to organize international conferences; to translate speeches and distribute documents into the UN’s official languages; to keep the public informed about the work of the United Nations.’ (This section is taken from the home page of the United Nations.)

  1. Protection of Human Rights in the United Nations System

The United Nations has also made the necessary efforts to respect the fundamental rights and freedoms given to human beings simply because they are human beings. In the preamble of the United Nations Charter, ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person..’ statements are included. The United Nations, whose main purpose is to ensure the continuity of world peace and security, has understood the importance of human rights in achieving this goal and wanted to take the necessary measures to achieve this goal. It has worked for the development of human rights with the activities of the main and auxiliary organs of the United Nations structure or the agreements established within the United Nations. Some of the agreements made by the council in charge of codification in the United Nations;

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

UN Human Rights

Twin Covenants (1966)

1951 Refugee Convention


III. Limits of UNSC’S Powers

The Council has broad powers to maintain international peace and security, most notably under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, and its decisions are binding on UN members. The Security Council acts by the purposes and principles of the United Nations while fulfilling its duties. (UN Charter Article 24 (2)) These objectives and principles are included in the first and second articles of the United Nations Charter. The decisions taken by the Security Council cannot be against human rights.


With the end of the Second World War, the war-winning countries that wanted to ensure international peace and security established the United Nations. Wanting to follow a systematic way to prevent the threats to peace, the United Nations has formed its main bodies. Later, the United Nations saw human rights as a part of international peace and security and carried out various studies on this issue. The binding decisions are taken by the Security Council, which is one of the main and strongest organs of the United Nations, also have certain limits.


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