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United Nations

The League of Women Voters supports a strong, effective United Nations and endorses the full and active participation of the United States in the UN system.

Position In Brief: 

The League supports UN efforts to:

  • Promote international peace and security

  • Advance the social and economic well-being of the world’s people

  • Ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms

  • Foster trust and cooperation among nations by encouraging adherence to conventions, treaties, and other international agreements

  • Protect the integrity of the world environment

  • Achieve the full and equal participation of women in all aspects of civil and political life.

Position History: 

Read about the history of this Position in the League of Women Voters' 2016-2018 edition of Impact on Issues.

The United Nations should be an important component of U.S. foreign policy. The League supports U.S. policies that strengthen the UN’s capacity to solve global problems and promote prosperity throughout the world. The United States should work actively and constructively within the UN system, exercising diplomatic leadership in advance of decision-making. The United States should not place conditions on its participation in the UN, except in the most extreme cases, such as flagrant violations of the Charter.

The League supports UN leadership in a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to promoting world peace 43 and security that includes ongoing efforts to eliminate the underlying causes of conflict. UN peace operations should include such strategies as:

  • An increased emphasis on preventive diplomacy and the use of such techniques as an early warning system to identify possible threats to peace and mediation to help resolve disputes

  • Preventive deployment of UN peacekeepers to forestall the outbreak of hostilities

  • Enhanced capacity to respond rapidly and effectively to contain conflict and establish a just and stable peace

  • UN peacekeeping operations that have strong political and financial support from the world community and the consent of the local parties

  • Military intervention, as a last resort, to halt genocide and other crimes against humanity and to prevent the spread of conflict

  • Protection of civilian populations, including protection of displaced persons

  • Long-term commitment, both pre- and post-conflict, to establishing the institutions and conditions needed for real economic and social development

  • Enhanced capacity at UN headquarters to plan, manage and support UN peace operations.

The United States should support all aspects of UN peace operations. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have an important role to play in peace operations, including participating in behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts and providing humanitarian aid.

The League strongly supports the central role of the United Nations in addressing the social, economic and humanitarian needs of all people. The advancement and empowerment of women is fundamental to achieving peace and prosperity and should be a high priority for UN programs. Other areas for emphasis include:

  • Eradicating poverty and hunger

  • Improving basic living standards worldwide

  • Promoting the well-being and potential of children, with special attention to the girl child

  • Promoting human and political rights

  • Ensuring access to a basic education for all

  • Ensuring a basic level of health care for all

  • Protecting the environment and the world’s natural resources.

The League supports efforts to strengthen the development and humanitarian work of the United Nations through greater coordination among agencies, more efficient use of resources, additional funding as required, and more partnerships with NGOs and other non-state actors. UN-sponsored world conferences are valuable forums for building international consensus and developing practical plans of action to solve global problems.

The United States should provide strong leadership and financial support to the UN specialized agencies, participate constructively in international conferences, and fulfill all agreed-upon commitments.

The League believes that world peace and progress rest in part on a body of international law developed through conventions, covenants, and treaties and on the judgments of international courts. Disputes between nations should be considered and settled in the International Court of Justice, and its judicial decisions should be honored.

The League supports the creation of a permanent international tribunal, such as the International Criminal Court, to try individuals charged with crimes of genocide, war crimes, and other systematic crimes against humanity.

All court procedures must meet the highest judicial standards, including guarantees of due process protections and the integrity and impartiality of the courts’ officials.

The League supports full U.S. participation in the international judicial system and U.S. ratification and observance of international treaties and conventions consistent with LWVUS principles and positions.

The League supports the basic principles of the UN Charter. The League supports one-nation, one-vote in 44 the General Assembly, the veto power in the Security Council, and a strong, effective office of the Secretary General. The League supports measures to make the Security Council a more representative body that better reflects the diverse interests of UN member nations and the world's people. The United States should work to encourage member nations to consider the needs of the world as a whole and avoid divisive politicization of issues.

Member nations have the collective responsibility to provide the resources necessary for the UN to carry out its mandates, with each providing financial contributions commensurate with its ability to pay. The United States should meet its financial obligations to the UN on time, in full, and without conditions.

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