The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the first time, has demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Key Highlights:

  • The resolution also called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas.
  • The resolution was proposed by the 10 elected members of the Security Council, and 14 members voted in favour, with the United States abstaining.
  • The abstention by the United States marks a shift in its stance, previously using its veto power to shield Israel from resolutions related to the conflict.
  • The resolution calls for an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan and emphasises the need for humanitarian assistance and protection of civilians in Gaza.
  • The United States has previously vetoed three draft resolutions on the Gaza conflict but has also abstained twice, allowing resolutions aimed at boosting aid and calling for pauses in fighting.
  • Earlier, Russia and China also vetoed U.S.-drafted resolutions to the conflict.
  • After five and a half months of Israel’s assault on Gaza, the conflict has left 32,000 Palestinians dead, 74,000 injured, and over 90% of the population displaced. It has plunged the region into a devastating hunger crisis.

United Nations Security Council (UNSC) 

  • Establishment: Founded in 1945 
  • Headquarters: New York City, United States.
  • Voting: Resolutions mandate an affirmative vote of nine members, including all five permanent members, without any vetoes by permanent members.
  • Role: One of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), tasked with ensuring international peace and security.
  • Authority: Sole UN body authorized to issue binding resolutions on member states.
  • Organs: The other 5 organs—the General Assembly (UNGA), the Trusteeship Council, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat.

Member of the UN Security Council:

It is composed of 15 members:

• Permanent Members:

  • The Security Council has five permanent members: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 
  • These permanent members hold veto power, meaning a single vote can block any resolution, including those on admitting new members or appointing the UN Secretary-General.

• Non-Permanent Members:

  • The Security Council also has ten non-permanent members who are elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly. 
  • The non-permanent members are chosen based on geographical representation.

Purposes of UNSC:

According to the Charter, the United Nations has four purposes:

  • Maintain International Peace and Security.
  • Develop Friendly Relations Among Nations.
  • Cooperate in Solving International Problems and Promote Respect for Human Rights.
  • Serve as a centre for harmonising the actions of Nations.

The Security Council has been criticised for its slow procedures and its lack of effectiveness. However, it remains the most important body for maintaining international peace and security.

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