This article is a part of the lawmatics series on ‘Simplifying the Charter of United Nation’. In our last articles, we have discussed the purposes and principles of United Nation  and Membership and Organs of United Nations, as per its charter. In this article, we will discuss chapter IV which describe the provisions related to General Assembly of United Nation.


Composition- Article 9

1. The General Assembly shall consist of all the Members of the United Nations.

2. Each Member shall have not more than five representatives in the General Assembly.

Functions and Powers

Article 10- Discussion by General Assembly

  • The General Assembly may discuss any questions or any matters within the scope of the present Charter or relating to the powers and functions of any organs provided for in the present Charter, and,
  • may make recommendations to the Members of the United Nations or to the Security Council or to both on any such questions or matters.

Article 11-Principles of cooperation in the maintenance of international peace and security

1. The General Assembly may consider

  • the general principles of cooperation in the maintenance of international peace and security,
  • including the principles governing disarmament and the regulation of armaments, and
  • may make recommendations with regard to such principles to the Members or to the Security Council or to both.

3. The General Assembly may call the attention of the Security Council to situations which are likely to endanger international peace and security.

Article 12 (Cases referred to security council)

1. While the Security Council is exercising in respect of any dispute or situation the functions assigned to it in the present Charter, the General Assembly shall not make any recommendation with regard to that dispute or situation unless the Security Council so requests.

2. The Secretary-General, with the consent of the Security Council,

  • shall notify the General Assembly at each session of any matters relative to the maintenance of international peace and security which are being dealt with by the Security Council and
  • shall similarly notify the General Assembly, or the Members of the United Nations if the General Assembly is not in session, immediately the Security Council ceases to deal with such matters.

Article 13

1. The General Assembly shall initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of:

 a. promoting international cooperation in the political field and encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification;

b. promoting international cooperation in the economic, social, cultural, educational, and health fields, and assisting in the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.

2. General Assembly may recommend measures for the peaceful adjustment of any situation, regardless of origin, which it deems likely to impair the general welfare or friendly relations among nations, including situations resulting from a violation of the provisions of the present Charter setting forth the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations.

Article 15 (Reports of actions)

1. The General Assembly shall receive and consider annual and special reports from the Security Council; these reports shall include an account of the measures that the Security Council has decided upon or taken to maintain international peace and security.

2. The General Assembly shall receive and consider reports from the other organs of the United Nations.

 Article 16 (Functions related to Trusteeship council)

The General Assembly shall perform such functions with respect to the international trusteeship system as are assigned to it under Chapters XII and XIII, including the approval of the trusteeship agreements for areas not designated as strategic.

Article 17 (Approval of Budget)

1. The General Assembly shall consider and approve the budget of the Organization.

2. The expenses of the Organization shall be borne by the Members as apportioned by the General Assembly.

3. The General Assembly shall consider and approve any financial and budgetary arrangements with specialized agencies and shall examine the administrative budgets of such specialized agencies with a view to making recommendations to the agencies concerned.


Article 18 (Two-third majority)

 1. Each member of the General Assembly shall have one vote.

2. Decisions of the general assembly on important questions shall be made by a TWO-THIRDS MAJORITY of the members present and voting.

These questions shall include:

  • recommendations with respect to the maintenance of international peace and security,
  • the election of the non-permanent members of the Security Council,
  • the election of the members of the Economic and Social Council,
  • the election of members of the Trusteeship Council,
  • the admission of new Members to the United Nations,
  • the suspension of the rights and privileges of membership,
  • the expulsion of Members,
  • questions relating to the operation of the trusteeship system, and
  • budgetary questions.

3. Decisions on other questions, including the determination of additional categories of questions to be decided by a two-thirds majority, shall be made by a majority of the members present and voting.

Article 19 (Non-Payment of Contribution)

A Member of the United Nations which is in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions to the Organization shall have no vote in the General Assembly if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years.

The General Assembly may, nevertheless, permit such a Member to vote if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the Member.


Article 20 (Sessions)

The General Assembly shall meet in regular annual sessions and in such special sessions as occasion may require.

Special sessions shall be convoked by the Secretary-General at the request of the Security Council or of a majority of the Members of the United Nations.

Article 21 (president and procedure)

  • The General Assembly shall adopt its own rules of procedure.
  • It shall elect its President for each session.

Article 22 (establishment of subsidiary organs)

The General Assembly may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions.


Charter of United Nation Organization

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