Abstract: This paper describes how moral values have determined the founding of the United Nations Organization in 1945 and the evolution of its purposes, principles and policies since then. An examination of the proceedings of the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco demonstrates that the drafting of the United Nations Charter was significantly influenced by global moral values, i.e. globally shared beliefs distinguishing right from wrong, good from bad, and the current from a preferable state-of-the-world. A common desire to eradicate war, poverty, inhuman treatment, and to halt the exploitation of peoples, has led to an affirmation of the values of peace and security, social progress and development, human dignity and the self-determination of all peoples. All these values ended up in the UN Charter. My paper briefly analyses how the United Nations, and especially its General Assembly, has continued to influence the maturing of global morality through contributions to the values-debate, and to the translation of these values into the language of international law, including the law on the use of force, sustainable development, human rights and the right to self-determination.
By John O. Sutter, PH.D