Unanimity Principle in the United Nations

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Unanimity Principle in the United Nations


one of the most important principles of the United Nations Charter. According to this principle, decisions in the Security Council on all matters, except procedural ones, are taken by an affirmative vote of nine members of the council (seven before 1965), including the concurring votes of all the permanent members—the USSR, the USA, Great Britain, France, and China (art. 27). The principle of unanimity is, however, not restricted to this rule alone. A number of other articles of the UN Charter have the same content and significance (arts. 23–26, 108–110).

All articles amending or altering the UN Charter have also been based on recognition of the need for concerted action by the great powers.

Since a permanent member of the Security Council can, according to Article 27 of the UN Charter, prevent the council from in essence arriving at any substantive decision with which this member disagrees, the unanimity principle is sometimes referred to as the veto power of permanent members of the Security Council.

The member states of the United Nations, having entrusted the Security Council with the chief responsibility for maintaining international peace and security and having granted it special powers and the right to make decisions that would be binding for all members of the United Nations, including decisions to apply collective coercive measures against violators of international peace and security, in so doing recog, nized the special importance of the permanent members of the Security Council in realizing the aims and principles of the UN and in guaranteeing world peace.

The principle of unanimity among permanent members of the Security Council takes account of the political reality that the ensuring of peaceful cooperation among the great powers and joint action by them in achieving collective security is the most fundamental guarantee of world peace and the prerequisite for the development of peaceful relations among all states.

The USSR, together with the other socialist countries, upholds the policy of peaceful coexistence between states having differing social systems and tries to have this policy recognized and carried out in practice by all states. In the United Nations the USSR struggles for an unswerving and consistent observance of the UN Charter and opposes all attempts to undermine the foundation of that charter, the principle of unanimity. The imperialist powers have more than once made proposals aimed at subverting the unanimity principle through the adoption of illegal resolutions (for example, the General Assembly Uniting for Peace Resolution of Nov. 3, 1950) that granted to the General Assembly the functions and powers of the Security Council.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.