The UN Charter outlines the rights and duties of the Member States and establishes the United Nations organs and procedures.
Delegates from fifty nations gathered in San Francisco, where the UN Charter was written and approved in eight weeks. By October 24, 1945, 51 states had signed the Charter and became the founding members of the organization.
The purposes of the United Nations, as set forth in the Charter are:
- to maintain international peace and security
- to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples
- to cooperate in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems and in promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms
- to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining these common ends
China, the first victim of aggression by an Axis power, was the first State that signed the UN Charter. The original copy of the UN Charter is kept at the National Archives in Washington DC. An exact copy is on display at the UN Headquarters in New York.