The United Nations, abbreviated as UN, was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international co-operation and collective security. Today, there are 193 member states, or nearly every country in the world.
When countries join the United Nations they agree to accept the obligations of the UN charter, an international treaty that sets out the basic principles of international relations. According to the charter, the UN has four purposes:
- to maintain international peace and security;
- to develop friendly relations among nations;
- to help solve international problems and promote respect for human rights;
- to act as a centre for harmonising the actions of nations.