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Introduction The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security Today nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN membership totals 191 countries When States become Members of the United Nations they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations According to the Charter the UN has four purposes to maintain international peace and security to develop friendly relations among nations to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations The United Nations has six main organs Five of them -- the General Assembly the Security Council the Economic and Social Council the Trusteeship Council and the Secretariat -- are based at UN Headquarters in New York The sixth the International Court of Justice is located at The Hague in the Netherlands Most people when asked about the UN would reply in terms of its peacekeeping functions Indeed over the years the UN has played a major role in helping defuse international crises and in resolving protracted conflicts It has undertaken complex operations involving peacemaking peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance It has worked to prevent conflicts from breaking out And after a conflict it has increasingly undertaken action to address the root causes of war and lay the foundation for durable peace But the activities of the UN are not limited to this alone It has many other functions some of them equally important One of the UNs central mandates is the promotion of higher standards of living full employment and conditions of economic and social progress and development In the face of disaster the UN family of organizations supplies food shelter medicines and logistical support to the victims -- most of them children women and the elderly Through
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