Academic journal article Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law

An Analysis of United Nations Security Council Resolutions: Are All Countries Treated Equally?

Academic journal article Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law

An Analysis of United Nations Security Council Resolutions: Are All Countries Treated Equally?

Article excerpt

This Note argues that the Security Council fails to treat all Members of the United Nations equally, specifically singling out Israel, and to a lesser extent South Africa, for disparate treatment during the Cold War period. After introducing the Security Council, the Note creates a hierarchical classification system of wording in Security Council resolutions, specifically of emotive and instructive wording. Once the system is explained, the Note analyzes the words used in each Security Council resolution and cross-references those words with the Entity being discussed. To do this, the Note focuses on nine specific areas in which the disparate treatment among Members is evident, particularly with regards to Israel. The Note concludes by stressing the importance of correcting the underlying endemic flaws in the United Nations system rather than trying to patch problems with artificial devices, such as the Negroponte Doctrine. Only by ridding the Security Council of its biases can it serve the purpose it was created to fulfill.


     A. Background
     B. Regional Groups
     C. Resolutions
     A. Emotive Wording
     B. Instructive Wording
     C. Modifiers
     A. Two Distinct Time Periods
     B. Entity-Specific Word Choices
        1. The Hebron massacre v. the Park Hotel bombing
        2. Precise numbers and civilians
        3. Black September, al-Anfal, and the West Bank
        4. South Africa: The other pariah state
        5. Warnings: The domain of Israel and South Africa
        6. Censure: Reserved for Israel
        7. Deplored: Israel more than every other country combined
        8. Shocked: A comparison of assassinations
        9. Confidence Building Measures: Not in the Middle East
     C. The Negroponte Doctrine


The United Nations Security Council, created as a bastion of hope and international cooperation to contain and resolve threats to international peace and security around the world, has evolved into a political body whose resolutions are used to threaten and inequitably treat its Member countries. The unequal treatment strikes at the very core of the United Nations' purpose and trivializes the value of international cooperation. Specifically, Israel--and to a lesser extent South Africa--has been uniquely and excessively singled out for admonishment by the Security Council, especially when comparing incidents with those committed by other countries.


To understand the importance of the Security Council and the role it plays in the United Nations, it is necessary to examine the purpose the United Nations was created to serve and how the Security Council fails to uphold the ideals and objectives of its founders and Member countries. On June 26, 1945, fifty-one countries met in San Francisco, California and signed the United Nations Charter. (1) Following the victory over the Axis Powers in World War II, the victorious alliance of countries sought to maintain the cooperation that had proven so valuable in World War II. (2) The victors resolved to maintain the alliance and create the United Nations organization. (3) Collectively they declared, "[w]e the peoples of the United Nations [are] determined ... to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, [and] in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small...." (4) To emphasize its purpose, the Charter continues, "It]he Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members." (5) In layman's terms, the United Nations aspired to treat every country and its people equally.

The founding countries were filled with excitement at the thought of an international organization that would support their interests. …

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