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BellaOnline's Human Rights Editor

The United Nations

As human rights advocates, I think itís important that we take a little time to learn about the United Nations; its foundation, what it does, and how it affects the world around us. Itís an influential organization in the world of human rights, and we would be better off knowing a little more about this important group.

The United Nations was born during World War II when Franklin D. Roosevelt suggested using the name ďUnited NationsĒ to Winston Churchill to refer to the Allies. Churchill liked the name because Byron used it in Childe Haroldís Pilgramage. The name ďUnited NationsĒ was first officially used on January 1, 1942, with the signing of the Declaration of United Nations by 26 countries. Signing the Declaration meant they were unified in declaring their position against the Axis powers and it was an act of declaring war. Within the next few years, it had been signed by 21 additional countries.

The United Nations was officially formed in San Francisco on October 24, 1945 after being ratified by the governments of the participating states. The United Nations didnít stay in San Francisco for very long though; its headquarters in New York City opened on January 9, 1951. With the headquarters in New York, the United Nations has also created other bases around the world, including Geneva, Nairobi, The Hague, Vienna, etc.

According to the United Nations Charter, the United Nations has four main purposes: a) Maintaining international peace, b) Developing friendly interactions among the world's nations, c) Cooperating in solving international issues, as well as promoting human rights, and d) being a center for coordinating the actions among nations. There are six main organizations within the United Nations, which include the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the Secretariat, and the International Court of Justice. Each has its own goals and specific focus. The United Nations doesnít have any governing power and canít create laws, but it does have the power to influence nations in their relations with each other and can create policies that affect everyone.

The United Nationís activities and decisions have far-reaching effects throughout the world. They have the power to influence the way nations interact with each other and their focus on human rights has brought about many great changes into the world. They will continue to be a positive force for good today and for many decades to come.

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