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Article 99 of the UN Charter, invoked for the first time in decades as Israel attacks Gaza ( Know the BASICS)



Why in the News?

The United Nations Secretary-General has decided to invoke Article 99 of the UN Charter and has urged the UN Security Council to act on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

What is the UN Charter?

1) The UN Charter is the founding document of the United Nations.

2) It was signed on 26 June, 1945 in San Francisco, US at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on International Organization. It came into force on 24 October 1945.

3) The charter grants the power to the UN to take action on a wide variety of issues.

4) The Charter is considered an international treaty, meaning UN Member States are bound by it.

What is Article 99 of the UN Charter?

1) Article 99 of the UN Charter is a special, discretionary power given to the UN Secretary-General.

2) The article allows the UN Secretary-General to bring to the attention of the UN Security Council (UNSC) any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security

3) When Article 99 is invoked, the President of the UNSC is under the obligation to call a meeting of the Security Council.

4) It has only been invoked four times in the past — in the Congo (1960), East Pakistan (1971), Iran (1979) and Lebanon (1989).

Can Article 99 bring an end to the Israel-Gaza war?

Article 99 does not provide the UN Secretary General with the means to compel the UNSC to adopt resolutions.

Moreover, for a resolution to be adopted, it needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the five permanent members – the United States, Russia, China, France or Britain.

With the US and Britain supporting Israel’s military actions, it is unlikely that the vote will see permanent members’ unanimous support.

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