UNSC - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

1)   Which UN body has imposed the strongest sanctions ever on North Korea in Sept 2017?

d. IMF
Answer  Explanation 


The UN Security Council has unanimously passed a US-drafted resolution that imposes strongest sanctions ever on North Korea, including restricting its oil imports and banning textile exports, to curb the reclusive nation’s nuclear programme.

The move comes in response to the sixth and largest nuclear test by North Korea on September 3.

International community was hitting North Korea’s ability to fund its weapons programme.

The US had originally proposed harsher sanctions, including a total ban on oil imports by North Korea.

But the vote was passed only after Pyongyang allies Russia and China agreed to the reduced measures.

Oil “is the lifeblood” of North Korea’s effort to build and deliver a nuclear weapon.

The resolution reduces almost 30 per cent of oil provided to the North by cutting off over 55 per cent of its gas, diesel, and heavy fuel oil.

Today’s resolution completely bans natural gas and other oil byproducts that could be used as substitutes for the reduced petroleum. This will cut deep.

When these new stronger sanctions are added to those passed last month, over 90 per cent of North Korea’s publicly reported exports are now fully banned.

Moreover, this resolution also puts an end to the regime making money from the 93,000 North Korean citizens it sends overseas to work and heavily tax.

This ban will eventually starve the regime of an additional USD 500 million or more in annual revenues.

Beyond the USD 1.3 billion in annual revenues we will cut from North Korea, new maritime authorities will help us stop them from obtaining funds by smuggling coal and other prohibited materials around the world by ship, said the body.

The resolution bans all North Korean textile exports. Textile exports - North Korea’s largest economic sector that the Security Council had not previously restricted - earned North Korea an average of USD 760 million in the past three years.

The resolution requires the end of all joint ventures with North Korea.

2)   Which countries have been selected for the UNSC membership from Jan 2017?

a. Sweden
b. Bolivia
c. Ethiopia
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

The 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly in the last week of May 2017 elected Sweden, Bolivia, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan.

The countries will serve on the world body’s Security Council for a period of two years, starting from 1 January 2017.

After rounds of voting at the United Nation Headquarters in New York, only one non-permanent Council seat remains to be filled.

Italy and the Netherlands had been vying for the remaining seat. However, the voting yielded no clear winner. The two countries then suggested sharing the two-year term, each with a one-year period.

At the election, the General Assembly members voted by secret ballot for five seats divided by geographical grouping: two from Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, two from the Western Europe and Others Group, and one from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Bolivia and Ethiopia were chosen by their regional groups and had no competitors. Kazakhstan won the seat reserved for Asia Pacific against Thailand, while Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden had competed for two seats for Western Europe.

The newly-elected countries will replace Spain, Malaysia, New Zealand, Angola and Venezuela.

UNSC: Know More

  • The United Nations Security Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations.
  • It is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security as well as accepting new members to the United Nations and approving any changes to its United Nations Charter.
  • Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions.
  • The Security Council held its first session on 17 January 1946.
  • The 5 permanent members, each with the power of veto, are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

3)   Where did the Israel Security Cabinet approve a new settlement?

a. West Bank
b. Gaza Strip
c. Palestine territory
d. Both a and c
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and c

Israel's Security Cabinet on March 30, 2017 unanimously approved the construction of a new settlement in the West Bank.

This is marking the state's first new settlement in Palestinian territory in more than 20 years.

The new settlement, which will be constructed north of the Palestinian city of Ramallah, is intended for Israeli settlers evacuated from Amona, an outpost destroyed by Israeli authorities in February.

The Security Cabinet also advanced plans to construct 2,000 homes inside existing settlements.

These homes are part of a plan approved 2 months ago to grow settlements by more than 5,500 homes.

The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution in December 2016 condemning Israeli settlements constructed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal.

These territories, occupied by the Israeli military since 1967, are located where Palestinians plan to create their future state.

UNSC Resolution 2334 was passed after the US abstained from voting.

UN was the first to protest against the new settlement. While the Obama administration was a fierce critic of the Netanyahu government, a regime change with Trump marks new realities for Israel and Palestine.

4)   UNSC on 31st Dec welcomed a ceasefire in the Syrian civil war with which nation?

a. Russia
b. United States
c. Ukraine
d. Crimea
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Russia

United Nations Security Council on 31st Dec 2016 welcomed a ceasefire in the Syrian civil war.

Rebel groups threatened to abandon the two day old truce if violations persisted. A resolution welcoming the ceasefire, the third truce this year, sought to end 6 weeks of war.

It was unanimously adopted by the 15 member council meeting in New York.

Deal brokered by Russia and Turkey which back opposing sides, reduced violence but firefighters, air strikes and shelling went on in certain areas.

Factors belonging to the Free Syrian army- a loose alliance of militias excluding more radical islamist groups- indicated that government forces and Iranian backed Lebanese Hezbollah fighters have been trying to push rebels back in the Wadi Baradavalley, northwest of Damascus.

Continued violations by the regime and bombardments and attempts to attack areas under control of the revolutionary factions will make the agreement null and void.

Rebels and political opposition said the government side was amassing forces to launch a ground attack in the area.

FSA factions indicated in a separate statement that they would abandon the truce deal if Russia, whose air power has helped President Bashar al-Assad to turn the tide of the war, did not use its influence to halt the Wadi Barada attacks.

Air raids around Wadi Bharadahad stopped and the ceasefire still held, though clashes in the area were continuing.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group confirmed there had been fighting in the area, which is the source of capital's water.

The resolution has also welcomed plans for talks in Kazakhstan before the resumption of UN brokered talks.

The war has killed more than 300,000 people and made more than 11 million homeless.

In particular, Turkey is trying to push back Kurdish forcesand the jihadist Islamic State, both excluded from the deal,from areas south of its border.

The position of other Islamist groups such as Jabhat Fatehal-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham with respect to the ceasefire is unclear with both having criticised it.

5)   UNSC on 19th Dec 2016 voted to deploy US observers to which city?

a. Aleppo
b. Damascus
c. Palmyra
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Aleppo

United Nations Security Council on 19th Dec 2016 voted to deploy UN observers to Syrian city Aleppo for monitoring evacuations and reporting on the wellbeing of civilians.

The council unanimously adopted a French drafted resolution 2328 in 2016 marking the first show of unity amidst world powers on this issue.

This measure ensures that UN will be carrying out neutral monitoring and direct observation on evacuations from eastern Aleppo and other districts of the city.

The observers will take note of efforts to carry out evacuations of fighters and civilians from Aleppo.

Evacuations must be considered in consonance with international humanitarian principles and laws.

The observers will also ensure safe passage of civilians from eastern districts of Aleppo under the UN monitoring and coordination.

All parties have been called to ensure safe and immediate passage of the UN to ensure humanitarian assistance reaches people through the most direct route.

Secretary General must take steps to make arrangements to permit the observation by the UN of the well being of civilians.

Secretary General will report to the UNSC on the implementation of the resolution within 5 days of the resolution adoption.

Strikes in Aleppo

  • Aleppo is the largest city in Syria.
  • It saw major military confrontation between Syrian opposition in cooperation with Army of Conquest and the Syrian Armed Forces of the Syrian government.
  • This is known as the Battle of Aleppo which began on 19th July 2012. It is part of the ongoing Syrian Civil War
  • Syrian Armed forces of the Syrian government are supported by Hezbollah and Shiite militias and Russia.
  • Army of Conquest includes Al Nusra Front, formerly the Al Qaeda branch of Syria.
  • Large scale devastation of the battle has called combatants to name it the mother of battles or Syria’s Stalingrad.
  • Battle caused catastrophic destruction to the Old City of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • This is one of the longest sieges in modern warfare.
  • Battle has left 31,000 people dead.
  • Overall war casualties estimated at 400,000.

6)   UNSC on 20th November, 2015 has adopted which resolution sponsored by the French calling all nations to take all necessary measures to prevent and suppress the terrorist acts of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria along with other extremist groups?

a. 2248
b. 2259
c. 2249
d. 2229
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 2249

UNSC has adopted a French sponsored resolution condemning the terror attacks carried out by IS in Tunisia, Ankara, Sousse. This is the 14th terrorism related resolution the UNSC has adopted since 1999. Resolution 2249 was adopted by UNSC within a week from terror attacks in Paris on 13th November 2015.

7)   Text based UNSC reforms will be continued in the 70th session and this was a decision adopted:

a. By consensus
b. 70% Yes 30% No
c. 51% Yes & 49% No
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: By consensus

No voting was needed on decision to continue with UNSC reforms in the 70th session as the decision was adopted by consensus. UNGA unanimously adopted the negotiating text for UNSC reforms establishing the stage for long pending process at 70th session of the international body. The UNGA President, Sam Kutesa also circulated the position of key nations with respect to the negotiating text.