Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Charter of the United Nations

June 26, 1945

Ratified in 1945 by 51 original member countries, the Charter of the United Nations is the legal foundation of the United Nations as an international organization. To date, 193 countries have ratified the charter. As a constituent treaty, the UN charter is binding for all member countries, and member countries are obliged to the charter above all other treaties. The document outlines the purposes of the United Nations, which include maintaining international peace and security, encouraging and facilitating collective action to address international issues, and promoting the respect of human rights and dignity. The charter establishes and outlines the functions and powers of each of the principal organs of the United Nations: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council (suspended since 1994), the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat. It also provides for the creation of other subsidiary organizations, protocol for the addition of new member countries, and a process of amendments to the charter.

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