Happy U.N. Day!

Image by Flickr user Ashitakka.

On October 24, 1945, the Charter of the United Nations entered into force, and October 24th has been recognized since 1948 as U.N. Day.  The United Nations celebrates U.N. Day with various activities, including a concert that is broadcast for free on the web. (This year’s featured performer is Stevie Wonder.)

The United Nations is a vast organization which works in numerous areas, including in human rights, children’s rights, international security, international trade, and environmental issues. The U.N. is also diligent about posting its documents online in the U.N. Official Documents System; the ODS contains documents from 1993 to the present, and documents from before 1993 are added daily.

The United Nations is also the home of the largest repository of international treaties in the world. The U.N. Charter requires that member states deposit their treaties with the U.N. Secretariat; the Secretariat, in turn, must publish the treaties it receives. These treaties have been published in the United Nations Treaty Series, which is freely available online in the United Nations Treaty Collection. This collection contains not only the text of treaties deposited with the Secretariat, but also includes such important information as the dates of accession/succession/ratification for each member state and any reservations or declarations made by a signatory country.

The U.N. also has its own folk tales, the most enduring of which may be the story of Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on a desk during a U.N. General Assembly meeting in 1960. Which, like many good folk tales, may or may not have actually happened.

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