Constitution, Powers And Functions of United Nations Organization (UNO)

What is the United Nations?

The United Nations (UN) is an international organization of sovereign states, which contains almost every country in the world. Only sovereign countries can become members of the UN. It was made in the wake of World War II. It was established on October 24, 1945, – where 51 states (including the UK) signed the UN Charter and became the founding members of the UN. Because of the end of colonialism and the break-up of countries such as the USSR and Yugoslavia, the number of independent countries increased. Currently, the UN has 193 member countries and two permanent observer entities that cannot vote. It is headquartered in Manhattan city.

The UN provides an opportunity for the independent countries of the world to discuss global issues that affect them both individually and collectively. The UN aims to look for solutions to issues, conflicts, and crises in a peaceful manner. The UN charter is a set of guidelines that explain the rights and responsibilities of member states[1].

History of the United Nation

The Atlantic Charter (1941)

After the failure of the League of Nations (which was founded in 1919) and starting of World War II, a dire need for the establishment of a new organization for promoting international peace was felt. The Atlantic Charter was a joint Declaration given in 1941 by two leaders American President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill. Initially, the word ‘United Nations’ was used by President Roosevelt and it indicated the countries that are united against Germany, Japan, and Italy. 26 nations signed the Declaration at Washington DC emphasized their conformity to the principles of the Atlantic Charter on 1st January 1942.

Dumbarton Oaks Proposal (1944 – 1945)

A meeting was set up for the formation of the United Nations at Dumbarton Oaks, where the principles of the organization were laid down. On 7th October 1944, a proposal was submitted by the Big Four Countries (China, Great Britain, USSR, and the United States) with respect to the Structure of the world organization to all the UN Governments. But there was still dispute on the question of voting in the Security Council. For this purpose, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin assembled at a conference at Yalta and on 11th February 1945 announced that the question was resolved and summoned the San Francisco Conference.

On the 25th of April 1945, the leaders assembled at the San Francisco Conference (United Nations Conference on International Organization) to determine the final structure of the United Nations Charter. On 24th October 1945, the permanent five members and other signatory nations were ratified the official UN Charter.[2]  The UN, we know today was not officially founded until 1945. This was done when the Charter of UN was drafted at the United Nations Conference on International Organisation in San Francisco.

The UN has its four main purposes

  • To keep peace all over the world.
  • To develop friendly relations among nations.
  • To help nations work together to improve the lives of the poor people, to conquer hunger, diseases, and illiteracy, and to encourage respects for each other’s rights and freedoms;
  • To be a centre for harmonizing the action of nations to achieve the goals.[3]

Structure of the United Nations Organization

Its structure is founded around its Charter which defines 6 main organs, each with definite tasks and functions. The six main organs are:

  1. The General Assembly,
  2. The Security Council,
  3. The Trusteeship Council,
  4. The Economic and Social Council,
  5. The International Court of Justice, and
  6. The Secretariat.

UN Charter[4] – an Overview

The Charter of United Nations was signed in San Francisco, on 26th June 1945. Its Preamble to the Charter says that, the shared ideals and common aims of all the peoples whose countries governments joined together to form the United Nations:

“We the peoples of the United Nations determined 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……… for these mentioned ends have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims…………”

United Nations charter divided into 19 Chapter and contains 111 Articles in total.

Chapter I – it talks about the Purposes and Principles of the United Nation and contains Article 1 and Article 2.

Chapter II – it talks about Membership of the United Nation and contains Article – 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Chapter III – it talks about the establishment and eligibility of principal Organs of the United Nations like the International Court of Justice, a General Assembly, an Economic and Social Council, a Trusteeship Council, a Security Council, and a Secretariat. It contains Articles 7 and 8.

Chapter IV – it talks about the composition, Functions and Powers, Voting, and Procedure of the General Assembly, organ of the UN. It contains Article 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22.

Chapter V – it talks about the Composition, Function and Powers, Voting, and Procedure of the Security Council, one of the Principal Organs of the UN. It contains Article 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, and 32.

Chapter VI – it talks about the Pacific Settlement of Disputes. It contains Article 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, and 38.

Chapter VII – it talks about action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression. It contains Article 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, and 51.

Chapter VIII – it talks about Regional Arrangements. It contains Articles 52, 53, and 54.

Chapter IX – it talks about International economic and social cooperation. It contains Article 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, and 60.

Chapter X – it talks about the composition, Functions and Powers, Voting, Procedure of the economic and social council. It contains Article 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, and 72.

Chapter XI – it talks about the declaration regarding non-self-governing territories. It contains Article 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84 and 85.

Chapter XII – it talks about the international trusteeship system. It contains Article 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, and 85.

Chapter XIII – it talks about the composition, function and power, voting and procedure of member of the trusteeship council. It contains article 86, 87, 88, 89, 90 and 91.

Chapter XIV- it talks about the international court of justice, a principal judicial organ of the united nation. It contains Articles 93, 94, 95, and 96.

Chapter XV – it talks about the Secretariat. It contains Articles 97, 98, 99, 100, and 101.

Chapter XVI – it talks about the miscellaneous provisions under Article 102, 103, 104 and 105.

Chapter XVII – it talks about the transitional security arrangements under Article 106 and 107.

Chapter XVIII – it talks about the Amendments in UN Charter under Article 108 and 109.

Chapter XIX – it talks about the ratification and signature in the UN charter. It contains Articles 110 and 111.

Function and Power of the UNO (United Nations Organization)

The functions of the United Nations Organisation are as follows:

  • To maintain security and international peace is at the forefront.
  • To endeavour to develop good and friendly relations among different nations.
  • To ensure respect for human rights and that they are not violated by anyone and the universal fundamental freedom is maintained.
  • To arbitrate and garner cooperation to solve problems of socio, economic, and cultural nature.
  • The maintenance of international peace and security lead to arms control and disarmament and eventually reduction of weapons.
  • To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character – deliver humanitarian aid.
  • To promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, religion, or language – promote sustainable development.
  • To establish circumstances under which justice and respect for the obligations appearing from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained – uphold international law.
  • To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations[5].


The motive behind the formation of the United Nation was to maintain worldwide peace. It is helping nations to deals with economic, social, and humanitarian issues. It also promotes the protection of refugees, sustainable development, and more. The United Nations Organisation, being the world’s largest democratic body of all nations, its responsibility towards humanity is very high in terms of building a democratic society, economic development of people living in acute poverty, and preserving the earth’s ecosystem in concern with climate change. The UN played an important role in making this human society more civil, more peaceful, and more secure in comparison to the time of its origin at 2nd World War.

[1] What is the United Nations?,

[2] Subodh Asthana, History, Objectives, and Principles of the United Nations, February 1, 2020,

[3] History of the UN,

[4] UN Charter (full text),

[5]  Rachit Garg in General, United Nation, November 5, 2020,

This article has been written by Chetna Gupta, B.A. LL.B – 3rd-year student at Department Of Law, PIMR, Indore.

Law Corner