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United Nations

Last Updated: Monday July 02 2007 13:26 GMT

Who are the Security Council?

UN BUILDING SECURITY COUNCIL ROOM 1 in New York

The 15 members of the UN Security Council try to keep the world a peaceful and secure place.

They vote on the best ways to prevent countries fighting. There are two groups of members.

Five permanent members


These countries are always on the council. They got their membership because they were important in 1945, when the UN was set up.

  • France
  • UK
  • Russia
  • China
  • USA

Ten temporary members


These members are voted for every two years by the rest of the UN. The members voted on to the security council as of December 2010 were:

  • Austria
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Gabon
  • Japan
  • Lebanon
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Turkey
  • Uganda

The rules for voting

1. One member, one vote.

2. Each of the five permanent members can stop the UN from making decisions they may not agree with. This is called the power of veto.

3. Nine votes in favour are needed to make a decision.

4. Five of the nine votes must come from permanent members.