POL 2103: The UN 11/16/2012
History of the UN
Point de départ
Westphalia peace treaty 1648
Establishment of the modern state system
The main principles:
The Hague Peace conferences 1899 and 1907
building a world based on law and order.
W. Wilson’s 14 points the establishment of the League of Nations
League of Nations three permanent organs:
Two Semi Autonomous Bodies: The Permanent Court of International Justice
The International Labour Organisation same budgets as a LN
Assembly elected the judges of the World Court
Children labor Daily life:
One small meal at home before work.
Off to the factory before daylight, often walking a mile or more.
Only one break for a 45 minute dinner.
Work until around 8 pm.
Routine physical punishment
League of Nations reached 58 members
After a number of notable successes and some early failures in the 1920s, the League ultimately proved
incapable of preventing aggression by the Axis in the 1930s.
“To achieve international peace and security”
“To promote international cooperation”
Manchurian Case 1931
Japan invasion independent state of Manchukuo
Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1934
For the first time economic sanctions against Italy
of 54 League members 50 voted
short lived after Italy’s victory in 1936
Germany withdrew from the League,
as did Japan,
Spain and others.
USA not a League member.
The onset of World War II showed that the League had failed its primary purpose, which was to prevent
any future world war. The United Nations (UN) replaced it after the end of the war and inherited a number of
agencies and organizations founded by the League.
1. Atlantic Charter August 14, 1941
Meeting from August 12, 1941, in great secrecy aboard the U.S. heavy cruiser USS Augusta and the
British battle cruiser HMS Prince of Wales, the two leaders and their staffs discussed the general strategy
of the war against the Axis Powers. The major public outcome of the Atlantic Conference was the Atlantic
Charter, issued by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill on August 14, 1941. The Atlantic Charter formed the basis of the United Nations Charter.
“… they believe that all of the nations of the world, for realistic as well as spiritual reasons must
come to the abandonment of the use of force…the establishment of a wider and permanent
system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential.
They will likewise aid and encourage all other practicable measures which will lighten for peace
loving peoples the crushing burden of armaments.”
Atlantic Charter August 14, 1941
2. Moscow Declaration October 1943
USA, Great Britain USSR, China
Pledge to wartime cooperation
“the necessity of establishing at the earliest practicable date a general international organisations”
3. The Dumbarton Oaks Conference, Washington .D.C.
USSR, USA, UK negotiations September 1944
USA, UK, China negotiations September – October 1944
Elaborated the purpose, membership, structure of the future UN
February 411, 1945
a comprehensive and unlimited veto power in the Security Council.
a concession from 16 to two republics (Byelorussia and Ukraine)
Agreement on Trusteeship and territories overseen by the League of Nations
Sponsoring an UN Conference on International Organisation in San Francisco on April 25, 1945
In April 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on
International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter. freedom of discussion
sustentative decision making by a two – third vote
increased decision making power by smaller states.
US Senate approved the Charter on July 1945.
Truman ratified the Statute of the International Court in August 1945.
The Organization officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by
China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and a majority of other signatories.
United Nations Day 24 October.
International peace and security
Friendly relations among nations
Cooperation in solving international problems
A centre for harmonizing the actions of nations
UN is defined by:
its Charter, its chapters and articles constitute a treaty and are legally binding on the signatories.
Article 103 of the Charter stipulates that if a member state finds its obligations under the Charter conflict
with duties under “any other international agreements,” they must place their Charter
setting out the rights and obligations of Member States, and establishing the Organization's organs and
Set out the rights and obligations of Member States Establish the United Nations organs and procedures
Codifies the Major Principles of International Relations
1. Sovereign equality to all members
2. Good faith fulfilment of the Charter obligations
3. Peaceful settlements of international disputes
4. Non use of force or the threat of for aggressive
5. Support for UN renforcement action
6. Nonintervention by the United Nations in matters
that are essentially within a state’s domestic jurisdiction
ambiguity what is national versus international problems
national – domestic jurisdiction
international UN jurisdiction
human right abuses in South Africa
for decades France, Portugal are refusing to submit reports to the United Nations on conditions in their
colonies claiming that overseas territories were part of their “metropolitan territory”
CubanDominican crisis handled by the Organization of American States (OAS) European Union – security, trade, balance of power economic development, environment
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, in the equal
rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other
sources of international law can be maintained, and
to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors, and
to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be
used, save in the common interest, and
to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all
Accordingly, our respective Governments, through representatives assembled in the city of San Francisco,
who have exhibited their full powers found to be in good and due form, have agreed to the present Charter
of the United Nations and do hereby establish an international organization to be known as the United
(manifesto of human dignity and value adopted on December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United
Nations the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to
cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational
institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories."
UN Declaration of the Human Rights was the product of the UN’s Commission on Human Rights, led by
Eleanor Roosevelt – a determined crusader for human rights.
Unlike the Charter, the Universal Declaration is not a treaty and its provisions therefore are not law, but it
has been largely incorporated into two International treaties that come onto effect in 1976 and have been
accepted by most member states:
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights The International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights Process negotiation, common action
Agency national governments
The Purposes of the United Nations are:
1. o maintain international peace and security , and to that end: to take effective collective
measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of
aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with
the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations
which might lead to a breach of the peace;
2.To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self
determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
3. To achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or
humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental
freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.
The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance
with the following Principles.
1. The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
2. All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall
fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.
3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that
international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the
territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the
Purposes of the United Nations.
5. All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the
present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is
taking preventive or enforcement action.
6. The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in
accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary