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Chapter Summary

In the Charter of the United Nations, only Article 39 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is an integral part of the UN Charter, determines French and English as official languages, taking up the League of Nations tradition. For the five other principal organs, however, the usual language clause is lacking. But as the Charter was signed in the five languages Chinese, French, Russian, English and Spanish, which were declared to be equally authentic, these five languages were considered to be official languages. Language regulations in the United Nations System, including its specialized agencies and multiple other UN bodies and organizations, are even more variegated than for the main organs, their subsidiary bodies and for UN world conferences. German was reintroduced as a working language in 1951 together with Russian, followed in the 1980s by Chinese and Arabic.

Keywords: Arabic translation unit; German translation; language regulation; Rules of Procedure; UN Charter; UN world conference

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