Why was the United Nations established?

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Reflect on the events of the Holocaust and Nazi occupation of Europe.

Make a list of these events. You might include:

  • Discrimination
  • Persecution
  • Arrest and Imprisonment
  • Forced immigration
  • Slave Labour
  • Add any others that you think are relevant. 

Now, read through the articles of the UN Charter of Human Rights (above). 

As you read through each of the Articles decide which events of the Holocaust they are written to protect against. 

How would you ensure that these rights were implemented or guaranteed?

The League of Nations, the forerunner of the United Nations was established in 1919 “to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security.” However, after failing to prevent the Second World War, the League of Nations was disbanded.

During August to October 1944, representatives from China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States met to discuss a new ‘United Nations’ (UN) to replace the League of Nations, in order to stop future wars and provide a platform for dialogue between countries.

Then, in 1945, representatives of 50 countries attended the United Nations Conference on International Organisation in order to ratify a new ‘ Nations Charter’. The Charter was signed on 25 June 1945. The UN came into existence on 24 October 1945. 

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Over the next three years the UN established a number of agreements, culminating, on 10 December 1948, with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Responding to the horrors and atrocities committed during the Second World War, the founders of the UN intended the Charter to be a “vision of what the world should be”.

The Charter, a treaty between countries, is enshrined in international law. Whilst the Charter states that all member countries must promote observance of human rights, the United Nations does not have the power to implement them