General Assembly – It is legislature of the U.N. and all the countries which are the members of the organization are represented in it. Each member country can send five representatives but is has only one vote. The General Assembly is a deliberative body and can discuss any matter relating to the preservation of peace, disarmament, economic development, peaceful uses of atomic energy, social progress, human rights etc.
The President of the Assembly is elected for a year from amongst the representatives. The General Assembly elects ten non-permanent members of the Security Council, all the twenty seven members of the Economic and Social Council, certain members of the Trusteeship Council and the Judges of the International Court of Justice (together with S.C.). It has the power to discuss the working and functioning of the other organs. It also passes the entire budget of the United Nations.
Committees – There are seven main committees of the U.N.; Political, Economic, Social, Trusteeship, Legal, Administrative and a Special Political Committee.
Security Council – It is the executive body of the U.N. It consists of five permanent members, viz. U.S.A., U.S.S.R., U.K. France and the People’s Republic of China and ten non-permanent members. The non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly for 2 years from among the member states. A decision on crucial matters requires vote by nine members with no negative vote from any of the five permanent members.
Powers and Functions – (i) It elects together with the General Assembly, the Judges of the International Court of Justice, (ii) It recommends the admission of new members or expulsion or suspension of old members, and the appointment of the Secretary General, (iii) It can look to any matter concerning the maintenance of peace and security, (iv) It is charged with the regulation of armaments and armed forces, (v) It may recommend peaceful solution or if necessary, may order the use of armed forces in order to restore peace.
Veto in the Security Council – Veto means the negative vote. The permanent members of the Security Council have got Veto powers. Any matter supported by the majority of the members fails to be carried through if negative vote is cast by any of the permanent members.
The Economic and Social Council – (ECOSOC) – It consists of 27 members elected by the General Assembly for a period of three years. Its main function is to achieve international co-operation by solving international problems of economic, social, cultural and humanitarian character. It works for the promotion of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of all without any distinction as to race, sex, religion or language.
The Trusteeship Council – It consists of 14 members and is entrusted with task of promoting the well-being of dependent people of the trust territories and ensuring their political, social, economic and educational advancement.
International Court of Justice – It is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The Judges of the court are elected by the General Assembly along with the Security Council for a nine-year term. The court consists of 15 Judges. All member states which are parties to a dispute have to comply with its decisions. Its jurisdiction covers legal disputes brought before it by nations. It hands down advisory opinion at the request of the General Assembly, the Security Council or other bodies or agencies of the United Nations.
Headquarters – The Hague (Netherlands).
- The Secretariat – For the carrying out of the day-to-day operations of the U.N. there is a working force of more than eight thousand men and women. The Secretary-General is the head of the Secretariat. He is appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. He gathers information on problems and presents them before delegates. He is appointed for a period of five years but he can be re-appointed.