UN Security Council

The UN Security Council is the most powerful UN body. It has primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. It can take binding decisions, usually under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which deals with threats to peace and security. Its decisions and recommendations under Chapter VI – on the peaceful settlement of disputes – have great political force.  The Council has five permanent members: China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States and 10 non-permanent members are elected to serve for two years.

The Council has a range of country situations and themes on its agenda and meets in continuous session. It has been increasingly recognizing the importance of human rights for maintaining peace and security. Amnesty International works for the strongest human rights provisions to be incorporated in the Council’s decisions, including when UN peace missions are established or reviewed.

Amnesty International's country concerns include:

Afghanistan, Chad, Central African Republic, Cote D'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Kosovo, Libya, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria and Timor-Leste.

Amnesty International’s thematic concerns include:

Protection of civilians.  Amnesty International advocates for the Council to ensure adherence of all parties to a conflict to international human rights and humanitarian law, and enhance the protection of civilians. For example, Amnesty International urges the Security Council, When it establishes or renews peacekeeping mandates, to make full use of the Aide Memoire it adopted in 2010, to help analyse and diagnose key protection issues for Council action.

Women Peace and Security. As a member of the NGO Working Group on Women Peace and Security, Amnesty International works for the implementation of the Security Council resolutions on Women Peace and Security, namely resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009),and 1960 (2010), which require women’s participation in peace talks and peacekeeping and additional measures to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.

Accountability for international crimes.
  Amnesty International advocates for the Council to condemn war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, to ensure that peace agreements concluded under its auspices exclude an amnesty for such crimes and for suspected perpetrators to be brought to justice. Amnesty International seeks Council referrals, if necessary, of such international crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and urges effective cooperation with the ICC and with ad hoc criminal tribunals for Rwanda and for the former Yugoslavia, until they have fully completed their substantive work. More on international justice

Counter-terrorism and human rights. The Council’s work on counter-terrorism has demonstrated a human rights-deficit that is only just beginning to be addressed. Key concerns are: greater recognition of the importance of human rights in the work of the Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee, enhanced interaction with UN human rights bodies and ensuring fair and clear procedures are created in the Council’s listing processes of terrorist suspects.

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