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PROVISIONS OF THE U.N. CHARTER PERTAINING TO CHARTER AMENDMENT AND REVIEW
Amendments to the present Charter shall come into force for all Members of the United Nations when they have been adopted by a vote of two thirds of the members of the General Assembly and ratified in accordance with their respective constitutional processes by two thirds of the Members of the United Nations, including all the permanent members of the Security Council.
1. A General Conference of the Members of the United Nations for the purpose of reviewing the present Charter may be held at a date and place to be fixed by a two-thirds vote of the members of the General Assembly and by a vote of any seven members of the Security Council. Each Member of the United Nations shall have one vote in the conference.
2. Any alteration of the present Charter recommended by a two-thirds vote of the conference shall take effect when ratified in accordance with their respective constitutional processes by two-thirds of the Members of the United Nations including all the permanent members of the Security Council.
3. If such a conference has not been held before the tenth annual session of the General Assembly following the coming into force of the present Charter, the proposal to call such a conference shall be placed on the agenda of that session of the General Assembly, and the conference shall be held if so decided by a majority vote of the members of the General Assembly and by a vote of any seven members of the Security Council.
PROPOSALS FOR UNITED NATIONS REFORM, THE WORLD ASSOCIATION WORLD FEDERALISTS, JULY 1974
The United Nations, as a political structure, is evolving with the passage of time and by the light of its experience in dealing with the problems of human society. Some substantial possibilities for further evolution, moreover, exist in the present Charter. History and experience show the need for continuing reform of the United Nations to meet the needs of a shrinking, dangerous and rapidly changing world.
Since 1945 the advent of nuclear power, the spreading of armaments, numerous wars, the wasting of resources, a deteriorating environment, rising human expectations in collision with poverty and over-population, a sharp increase, in United Nations membership and major shifts in international relationships, and the demonstrated shortcomings of the United Nations in meeting these and other global problems and in the creation of world law, combine to show the urgency of reform and strengthening of the United Nations.
Proposals for the development of the United Nations must have the guiding purpose of promoting the well-being and dignity of the human person. The longer term aims of the suggestions we offer are:
1. to strenghten the capacity of the United Nations as a means of international decision-making, as a system of justice and as a source of enforceable law, so that it may replace a system based on the threat and destructive use of national power;
2. to re-enforce human rights and to enable the United Nations to meet needs which nation-states or lower levels of government cannot effectively serve, and 3. to redirect the use of human and natural resources from war and arms into an improvement of the quality of life.
The World Association of World Federalists suggests, to the Member Nations of the United Nations some important areas for reform of its structure and operation. We recommend such proposals as these to the Member Nations as a response to the request of the Secretary-General, acting for the General Assembly, that Member Nations present their views on review of the United Nations Charter at the 27th and 29th General Assemblies.
We believe that the challenges of our present world environment demand a quantum jump toward world order and that world leadership must move quickly to prepare an adequate response. We urge the 29th General Assembly to establish a United Nations committee for the orderly consideration of suggestions and proposals which have been made and will be made by Member Nations and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, with a view to the adoption at the earliest practicable date of those measures to strengthen the United Nations which gain general support.
Some of the 'recommended proposals would require, at least in part, changes in the present wording of the United Nations Charter. For other proposals, Charter changes would be preferred, but are not absolutely essential. Finally, we offer several suggestions concerning the development of the United Nations system which do not involve the Charter.
I. PROPOSALS REQUIRING CHARTER CHANGE
1. Membership.-The function of the United Nations is to represent the peoples of humanity. Full implementation of the principle of universal membership will greatly strengthen the United Nations. The seating of the Peoples' Republic of China is a major advance toward the principle of universality. This development provides a basis from which to press forward for the admission of the other States not now Members of the United Nations. Amendment of the Charter is long overdue to remove from its language all reference to the "enemy states" of World War II.
· 2. Peaceful Settlement of Disputes. The provisions of the Charter for dealing with peaceful settlement of disputes need improvement. Experience indicates that the existing wording is too imprecise and too permissive, often leading to delay and the failure to deal with disputes at the optimum time for their settlement: There has been a tendency, moreover, for the United Nations to immobilize disputes, rather than to settle them.
The redrafting of Article 33 is therefore advisable in order to provide a specific mode of progression, when necessary, from two-party negotiations in increasingly high levels of third-party involvement in stubborn disputes. Such provisions would commit the parties to a dispute, in advance, to accept arbitration or judicial settlement, in the event that negotiation, inquiry, mediation or conciliation may prove insufficient..
While, under Article 29, the Security Council may establish subsidiary organs as it deems them necessary for the performance of its functions, there is in fact no permanent standing machinery to function in pacific settlement of political disputes. Therefore the wording of Article 37 should be amended to include provisions for a standing Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Such a Commission should consist of a small group of persons universally respected, such as past Presidents of the General Assembly; the Commission should determine its own procedures and methods, and its work should normally be confidential.
3. The International Court of Justice.-It is desirable to relate the Court much more closely and effectively to the maintenance of international peace and security. No single act would be of greater aid to this aim than for states to declare that they recognize as compulsory the jurisdiction of the Court in all legal disputes. In addition, the following amendments, among others, are worth consideration in reviewing the Charter and the Statutes of the International Court of Justice:
. (a) There should be a provision for referring automatically to the International Court of Justice for judicial settlement the justiciable legal elements of any dispute which has proved intractable under a revised Article 33 on Peaceful Settlement.
(b) Broader provisions for the use of the Court for advisory opinions are necessary. At present the Security Council, the General Assembly, and any United Nations organ or agency so authorized by the Assembly may request an opinion. In addition, regional organizations, individual States, and the SecretaryGeneral should have such rights before the Court.
(c) The United Nations as a legal entity should also have authorization to bring cases before the Court.
(d) There should be provisions to establish international regional Courts under the supervision of the International Court of Justice, and for the right of litigants to appeal from a regional court to the International Court of Justice. 4. Human Rights. At the present time the United Nations deals with most human rights matters at as many as five different stages: in a sub-committee or ad hoc committee or by a special rapporteur, then in the Commission on Human Rights, in ECOSOC, next in the Third Committee, and in the Plenary of the General Assembly. The United Nations should create a new human Rights Council to integrate these steps and to report directly to the General Assembly. Such a Council would be on the level of the Economic and Social Council, and would relieve ECOSOC of its human rights responsibilities, thus freeing it to concentrate on economic and social developments.
It is desirable that the United Nations should implement the proposal for creating a new post of High Commissioner for Human Rights. The establishment of a World Court of Human Rights to supplement existing and planned regional Courts of Human Rights deserves study. Such a World Court of Human Rights would have responsibiliites analogous to the European Court of Human Rights. 5. Strengthening the ECOSOC.-The United Nations Economic and Social Council needs the means to fulfill the functions for which it is responsible. Moreover, the authorization in the Charter for ECOSOC to "coordinate the activities of the Specialized Agencies through consultation" is inadequate. We may well expect that the present enlarged membership of ECOSOC will strengthen its ability to make broadly based decisions of policy. It is important that ECOSOC reflect the kind of concerns about the terms of trade, commodity price levels and related matters which are central interests of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
For truly effective co-ordination of the economic and social work of the United Nations system, ECOSOC should have the authority to review all questions relating to economic and social matters before their subcommission to the General Assembly and to pass on the policies, plans and budgets of the concerned Specialized Agencies before their adoption by those bodies. Authority well beyond that specified in the Charter is necessary to enable the Economic and Social Council to carry out it job effectively.
II. PROPOSALS FOR WHICH CHARTER CHANGE IS DESIRABLE
6. Peacekeeping.-The Charter has spelled out the procedure for taking enforcement action against aggressors in Chapter VII. These provisions should, of course, be implemented. In addition, however the framers of the Charter did not adequately foresee the evolution of international peacekeeping by interposition in order to arrest conflict and prevent violence without prejudice to the matter at issue. Consequently a new paragraph under Article 40 is desirable to spell out the generally agreed principles of observation and of peacekeeping by interposition. A draft of this new section should include points such as the following: (a) The Security Council may, whenever it deems it necessary to prevent aggravation of a situation, establish United Nations Peace Observation Teams, and a United Nations Interposition Force to arrest or prevent violence, and to permit peaceful settlement as delineated in Chapter VI.
(b) The establishment, deployment and maintenance of such teams and forces would be in accordance with agreed guidelines to be annexed when developed. (c) All Member Nations able and desiring to participate shall designate especially trained and instantly-ready observer personnel and armed contingents or equivalent support for the United Nations Observer Teams and Interposition Forces.
(d) The Security Council may at any time decide to authorize direct United Nations recruitment and training of such personnel, initially for a United Nations "fire brigade" force of not more than two thousand in number.
(e) All States shall accept United Nations Peace Observation Teams at any trouble spot and on both sides of contested areas or borders when required by the Security Council, the General Asembly or the Secretary General.
(f) United Nations peacekeeping operations by interposition need not, if international security requires, be confined to "consent type" missions in which states in potential or actual armed conflict assent to their use.
(g) Removal or recall of UNIForce contingents shall require a decision of the Security Council.
(h) The regular budget of the United Nations shall provide for financing of United Nations observer teams and UNIForce contingents together with a special* Peacekeeping Fund held in reserve to assure rapid response in the event of threats to the peace.
(i) If the Security Council, which under the Charter has primary responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security, fails to act in establishing an observer team or an Interposition Force in any crisis situation, the General Assembly shall have the authority to act.
In order to assure a nucleus of individuals trained in control of violence, in arbitration and mediation, and to provide personnel specializing in the solution of problems of conflict the United Nations should establish, as one division of the United Nations University, an Academy for peacekeeping and related matters.
7. Security Council Membership. The composition of the Security Council should reflect the realities of power and responsibility in the United Nations balancing the representation of all Member Nations in the General Assembly. Regarding the election of non-Permanent Members, the Charter says, “due regard is to be given to the contribution of Members to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization." This principle could be applied informally by the more frequent election of those States most able to contribute to the purposes of the Organization. To facilitate this, the prohibition of the Charter against immediate re-election should be removed. However, such informal arrangements as these might well prove insufficient.
Among possible means for such purposes would be the creation, formally or informally, of a new class of semi-permanent Members by adding a seat for each world region which the nations of such a region most able to contribute to the purposes of the United Nations would occupy in rotation or according to the wishes of the regional group. In order that Council membership may better
reflect world realities, a provision of this nature might explicitly change one-half of the existing non-Permanent seats to semi-permanent seats, or might add new semi-permanent seats and thus modestly enlarge the membership of the Council to 21. Either of these means would enable the creation of semi-permanent seats for each world region. Such a step would require amendment of Article 23 of the Charter.
8. Security Council Voting.-The Charter Provision that action in substantive matters shall require the affirmative votes of all the Permanent Members should be changed or modified, while still recognizing that primary responsibility for peace and security rests with the Permanent Members. The unanimity rule has, in fact, already undergone modification in that the Security Council no longer regards the abstention or "non-participation" of a Permanent Member as a "veto". Simply to bring the Charter into line with this practice requires a change of the language prescribing that decisions on substantive matters shall require the affirmative votes of nine Members provided that no Permanent Member casts a negative vote.
A further step forward would be to limit the use of the veto, for instance by provision for special majorities in certain situations, except in matters involving enforcement action by the United Nations. This could take place initially by a voluntary agreement for a specified number of years, after which the principle could become a part of the Charter. Experience indicates the desirability of retaining the unanimity requirement for enforcement action as envisaged under Articles 42-54. However, unanimity of the Permanent Members should not be a requirement for peacekeeping by interposition, nor for any Security Council resolution other than on enforcement. The "veto" should not be extended to any new Members, permanent or otherwise; or, in any case, there should be no increase in the present number of vetoes.
Recent reforms of the procedures of the General Assembly offer an example for possible improvements of the practices of the Security Council. Among such possibilities are meetings of the Council to review implementation of its resolutions, including periodic meetings at the ministerial level implementing the provision of Article 28, Paragraph 2 of the present Charter for this purpose; the creation of an Executive Committee for day-to-day observation of world events; and the establishment of subsidiary organs for investigation, for factfinding in disputes, and for purposes of inquiry, good offices, conciliation and mediation.
9. General Assembly Voting and Representation.—The one-nation-one-vote principle in the General Assembly needs re-examination in the course of any major review of the structure of the United Nations. Several proposals are available which could bring General Assembly representation and voting more into line with world political reality and with the principles of democracy and justice.
10. United Nations Finance.-United Nations revenue is grossly inadequate for the tasks at hand, and is a tragically small sum compared to the more than 200 billion dollars which the world's nations spend annually on arms.
To supplement contributions from Member States it will be useful to investigate other sources of revenue. Such sources might include revenues from the exploitation of the sea-bed and a limited tax or license fee in relation to space communications and other commercial uses of outer space.
The idea is worth consideration that the United Nations should have the power to offer certain types of services to international corporations, and to grant them charters, and to impose limited taxes.
A special United Nations fund should exist in each country to enable individuals, corporations and foundations to contribute to humanitarian and educational activities of the United Nations.
11. An International Disarmament Agency.-The United Nations has long recognized that the thorough implementation of General and Complete Disarmament will require the establishment of an International Disarmament Organization. Both the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics draft treaties for General and Complete Disarmament, make provision for an International Disarmament Organization. Any review of the United Nations structure should examine the character of such an International Disarmament Organization and its relationship with the other organs of the United Nations. Since disarmament is a Charter obligation, we believe that all disarmament negotiations should take place under the auspices of the United Nations.