Member states of the United Nations

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A political map of the world with all territories shaded blue to denote United Nations membership, except Antarctica, the Palestinian territories, the Vatican, and Western Sahara, which are grey
Map of the United Nations (UN) member states, with their territories (including dependent territories) recognized by the UN in blue[1]
Flags of the UN member states, in front of the Palace of Nations (Geneva, Switzerland).

There are 193 United Nations (UN) member states, and each of them is a member of the United Nations General Assembly.[2]

The criteria for admission of new members are set out in the United Nations Charter, Chapter II, Article 4:[3]

  1. Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations.
  2. The admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.

A recommendation for admission from the Security Council requires affirmative votes from at least nine of the council's fifteen members, with none of the five permanent members voting against. The Security Council's recommendation must then be subsequently approved in the General Assembly by a two-thirds majority vote.[4]

In principle, only sovereign states can become UN members, and currently all UN members are sovereign states (although five members were not sovereign when they joined the UN, all subsequently became fully independent between 1946 and 1991). Because a state can only be admitted to the UN by the approval of the Security Council and the General Assembly, a number of states that may be considered sovereign states according to the Montevideo Convention criteria are not members because the UN does not consider them to possess sovereignty, mainly due to the lack of international recognition or opposition from certain members.

In addition to the member states, the UN also invites non-member states (currently two: the Holy See and Palestine), intergovernmental organizations, and other international organizations and entities whose statehood or sovereignty are not precisely defined, to become observers at the General Assembly, allowing them to participate and speak, but not vote, in General Assembly meetings. It is the world's largest intergovernmental organization, ahead of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.[5]

Original members[edit]

Map of the current UN member states by their dates of admission.[6]
  1945 (original members)
  1946–1959
  1960–1989
  1990–present
  non-member observer states
Further information: History of the United Nations

The UN officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, after ratification of the United Nations Charter by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the Republic of China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and a majority of the other signatories.[7] A total of 51 original members (or founding members) joined that year; 50 of them signed the Charter at the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco on 26 June 1945, while Poland, which was not represented at the conference, signed it on 15 October 1945.[8]

The original members of the United Nations were: Republic of China, France, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Argentina, Brazil, Belarus, Chile, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Haiti, Iran, Lebanon, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Iraq, Liberia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Peru, South Africa, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Among the original members, 49 are either still UN members or had their memberships in the UN continued by a successor state (see table below); for example, the membership of the Soviet Union was continued by the Russian Federation after its dissolution (see the section Former members: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). The other two original members, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia (i.e., the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), had been dissolved and their memberships in the UN not continued from 1992 by any one successor state (see the sections Former members: Czechoslovakia and Former members: Yugoslavia).

At the time of UN's founding, the seat of China in the UN was held by the Republic of China, but as a result of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 in 1971, it is now held by the People's Republic of China (see the section Former members: Republic of China).

A number of the original members were not sovereign when they joined the UN, and only gained full independence later:[9]

Current members[edit]

Further information: List of sovereign states

The current members and their dates of admission are listed below with their official designations used by the United Nations.[11][12]

The alphabetical order by the member states' official designations is used to determine the seating arrangement of the General Assembly sessions, where a draw is held each year to select a member state as the starting point.[13] Several members use their full official names in their official designations and thus are sorted out of order from their common names: the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Moldova, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (a provisional reference used for all purposes within the UN, and listed under T), and the United Republic of Tanzania.

The member states can be sorted by their official designations and dates of admission by clicking on the buttons in the header of the columns. See related sections on former members by clicking on the links in the column See also.

Original members are listed with blue background and in bold.

Member stateDate of admissionSee also
 Afghanistan19 November 1946
 Albania14 December 1955
 Algeria8 October 1962
 Andorra28 July 1993
 Angola1 December 1976
 Antigua and Barbuda11 November 1981
 Argentina24 October 1945
 Armenia2 March 1992Former members: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
 Australia1 November 1945Australia and the United Nations
 Austria14 December 1955
 Azerbaijan2 March 1992Former members: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
 Bahamas18 September 1973
 Bahrain21 September 1971
 Bangladesh17 September 1974
 Barbados9 December 1966
 Belarus24 October 1945Former members: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
 Belgium27 December 1945
 Belize25 September 1981
 Benin [note 1]20 September 1960
 Bhutan21 September 1971
 Bolivia (Plurinational State of) [note 2]14 November 1945
 Bosnia and Herzegovina22 May 1992Former members: Yugoslavia
 Botswana17 October 1966
 Brazil24 October 1945Brazil and the United Nations
 Brunei Darussalam21 September 1984
 Bulgaria14 December 1955
 Burkina Faso [note 3]20 September 1960
 Burundi18 September 1962
 Cabo Verde [note 4]16 September 1975
 Cambodia [note 5]14 December 1955
 Cameroon [note 6]20 September 1960
 Canada9 November 1945Canada and the United Nations
 Central African Republic [note 7]20 September 1960
 Chad20 September 1960
 Chile24 October 1945
 China24 October 1945Former members: Republic of China and China and the United Nations
 Colombia5 November 1945
 Comoros12 November 1975
 Congo [note 8]20 September 1960
 Costa Rica2 November 1945
 Côte d'Ivoire [note 9]20 September 1960
 Croatia22 May 1992Former members: Yugoslavia
 Cuba24 October 1945
 Cyprus20 September 1960
 Czech Republic19 January 1993Former members: Czechoslovakia
 Democratic People's Republic of Korea17 September 1991
 Democratic Republic of the Congo [note 10]20 September 1960
 Denmark24 October 1945
 Djibouti20 September 1977
 Dominica18 December 1978
 Dominican Republic24 October 1945
 Ecuador21 December 1945
 Egypt24 October 1945Former members: United Arab Republic
 El Salvador24 October 1945
 Equatorial Guinea12 November 1968
 Eritrea28 May 1993
 Estonia17 September 1991Former members: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
 Ethiopia13 November 1945
 Fiji13 October 1970Fiji and the United Nations
 Finland14 December 1955
 France24 October 1945France and the United Nations
 Gabon20 September 1960
 Gambia [note 11]21 September 1965
 Georgia31 July 1992Former members: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
 Germany18 September 1973Former members: German Democratic Republic and Germany and the United Nations
 Ghana8 March 1957
 Greece25 October 1945
 Grenada17 September 1974
 Guatemala21 November 1945
 Guinea12 December 1958
 Guinea-Bissau17 September 1974
 Guyana20 September 1966
 Haiti24 October 1945
 Honduras17 December 1945
 Hungary14 December 1955
 Iceland19 November 1946
 India30 October 1945India and the United Nations
 Indonesia28 September 1950Withdrawal of Indonesia (1965–1966) and Indonesia and the United Nations
 Iran (Islamic Republic of) [note 12]24 October 1945
 Iraq21 December 1945
 Ireland14 December 1955
 Israel11 May 1949Israel, Palestine, and the United Nations
 Italy14 December 1955
 Jamaica18 September 1962
 Japan18 December 1956Japan and the United Nations
 Jordan14 December 1955
 Kazakhstan [note 13]2 March 1992Former members: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
 Kenya16 December 1963
 Kiribati14 September 1999
 Kuwait14 May 1963
 Kyrgyzstan2 March 1992Former members: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
 Lao People's Democratic Republic [note 14]14 December 1955
 Latvia17 September 1991Former members: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
 Lebanon24 October 1945
 Lesotho17 October 1966
 Liberia2 November 1945
 Libya[15][note 15]14 December 1955
 Liechtenstein18 September 1990
 Lithuania17 September 1991Former members: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
 Luxembourg24 October 1945Luxembourg and the United Nations
 Madagascar [note 16]20 September 1960
 Malawi1 December 1964
 Malaysia17 September 1957Former members: Federation of Malaya and Malaysia and the United Nations
 Maldives [note 17]21 September 1965
 Mali28 September 1960
 Malta1 December 1964
 Marshall Islands17 September 1991Marshall Islands and the United Nations
 Mauritania27 October 1961
 Mauritius24 April 1968
 Mexico7 November 1945Mexico and the United Nations
 Micronesia (Federated States of)17 September 1991Federated States of Micronesia and the United Nations
 Monaco28 May 1993
 Mongolia27 October 1961
 Montenegro28 June 2006Former members: Yugoslavia
 Morocco12 November 1956
 Mozambique16 September 1975
 Myanmar [note 18]19 April 1948
 Namibia23 April 1990
 Nauru14 September 1999
   Nepal14 December 1955
 Netherlands10 December 1945
 New Zealand24 October 1945New Zealand and the United Nations
 Nicaragua24 October 1945
 Niger20 September 1960
 Nigeria7 October 1960
 Norway27 November 1945
 Oman7 October 1971
 Pakistan30 September 1947Pakistan and the United Nations
 Palau15 December 1994
 Panama13 November 1945
 Papua New Guinea10 October 1975
 Paraguay24 October 1945
 Peru31 October 1945
 Philippines [note 19]24 October 1945Philippines and the United Nations
 Poland24 October 1945
 Portugal14 December 1955
 Qatar21 September 1971
 Republic of Korea17 September 1991
 Republic of Moldova [note 20]2 March 1992Former members: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
 Romania14 December 1955
 Russian Federation24 October 1945Former members: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Soviet Union and the United Nations and Russia and the United Nations
 Rwanda18 September 1962
 Saint Kitts and Nevis [note 21]23 September 1983
 Saint Lucia18 September 1979
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines16 September 1980
 Samoa15 December 1976
 San Marino2 March 1992
 Sao Tome and Principe [note 22]16 September 1975
 Saudi Arabia24 October 1945
 Senegal28 September 1960
 Serbia1 November 2000Former members: Yugoslavia
 Seychelles21 September 1976
 Sierra Leone27 September 1961
 Singapore21 September 1965Former members: Malaysia
 Slovakia19 January 1993Former members: Czechoslovakia
 Slovenia22 May 1992Former members: Yugoslavia
 Solomon Islands19 September 1978
 Somalia20 September 1960
 South Africa [note 23]7 November 1945
 South Sudan14 July 2011
 Spain14 December 1955
 Sri Lanka [note 24]14 December 1955
 Sudan12 November 1956
 Suriname [note 25]4 December 1975
 Swaziland24 September 1968
 Sweden19 November 1946
  Switzerland10 September 2002
 Syrian Arab Republic24 October 1945Former members: United Arab Republic
 Tajikistan2 March 1992Former members: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
 Thailand [note 26]16 December 1946
 The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia8 April 1993Former members: Yugoslavia
 Timor-Leste27 September 2002
 Togo20 September 1960
 Tonga14 September 1999
 Trinidad and Tobago18 September 1962Trinidad and Tobago and the United Nations
 Tunisia12 November 1956
 Turkey24 October 1945
 Turkmenistan2 March 1992Former members: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
 Tuvalu5 September 2000Tuvalu and the United Nations
 Uganda25 October 1962
 Ukraine24 October 1945Former members: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
 United Arab Emirates9 December 1971
 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland24 October 1945United Kingdom and the United Nations
 United Republic of Tanzania14 December 1961Former members: Tanganyika and Zanzibar
 United States of America24 October 1945United States and the United Nations
 Uruguay18 December 1945
 Uzbekistan2 March 1992Former members: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
 Vanuatu15 September 1981Vanuatu and the United Nations
 Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) [note 27]15 November 1945
 Viet Nam20 September 1977
 Yemen30 September 1947Former members: Yemen and Democratic Yemen
 Zambia1 December 1964
 Zimbabwe25 August 1980

Former members[edit]

Republic of China[edit]

Further information: China and the United Nations

The Republic of China (ROC) joined the UN as an original member on 24 October 1945, and as set out by the United Nations Charter, Chapter V, Article 23, became one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.[16] In 1949, as a result of the Chinese Civil War, the Kuomintang-led ROC government lost effective control of mainland China and relocated to Taiwan, and the Communist Party-led government of the People's Republic of China (PRC), declared on 1 October 1949, took control of mainland China. The UN was notified on 18 November 1949 of the formation of the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China; however, the Government of the Republic of China continued to represent China at the UN, despite the small size of the ROC's jurisdiction of Taiwan and a number of smaller islands compared to the PRC's jurisdiction of mainland China. As both governments claimed to be the sole legitimate representative of China, proposals to effect a change in the representation of China in the UN were not approved for the next two decades, as the ROC was still recognized as the sole legitimate representative of China by a majority of UN members.

By the 1970s, a shift had occurred in international diplomatic circles and the PRC had gained the upper hand in international diplomatic relations and recognition count. On 25 October 1971, the 21st time the United Nations General Assembly debated on the PRC's admission into the UN,[17] United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 was adopted, by which it recognized that "the representatives of the Government of the People's Republic of China are the only lawful representatives of China to the United Nations and that the People's Republic of China is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council," and decided "to restore all its rights to the People's Republic of China and to recognize the representatives of its Government as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations, and to expel forthwith the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek from the place which they unlawfully occupy at the United Nations and in all the organizations related to it."[18] This effectively transferred the seat of China in the UN, including its permanent seat on the Security Council, from the ROC to the PRC, and expelled the ROC from the UN. From the United Nations' perspective the "Republic of China" is not a former member. No UN member was expelled in 1971. Rather, the credentials of one Chinese delegation (from Taipei) were rejected and the credentials of another Chinese delegation (from Beijing) were accepted.

Bids for readmission as the representative of Taiwan[edit]

Ma Ying-jeou stands behind a podium decked with flowers
The presidency of Ma Ying-jeou saw the first participation of the Republic of China on a United Nations body in almost 40 years.

Between 1993 and 2007, the ROC repeatedly petitioned to rejoin the UN as the representative of Taiwan, instead of as the representative of China, using the designation "Republic of China on Taiwan" (used by the Kuomintang-led administration under Lee Teng-hui), "Republic of China (Taiwan)" (used by the Democratic Progressive Party-led administration under Chen Shui-bian), or "Taiwan" (used by the administration under Chen Shui-bian for the first time in 2007). In its application, the ROC government has called on the international community to "recognize the right of the 23 million people of Taiwan to representation in the United Nations system".[19] However, all fifteen attempts were denied, either because the petition failed to get sufficient votes to get on the formal agenda, or because the application was rejected by the UN, due primarily to the opposition of the PRC.

Responding to the ROC's application in 2007, which was rejected by the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs citing General Assembly Resolution 2758,[20] Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon stated that:[21]

With the understanding of the Governor and the Chairman, I will briefly mention that membership into the UN ultimately needs to be decided by the Member States of the United Nations. Membership is given to a sovereign country. The position of the United Nations is that the People's Republic of China is representing the whole of China as the sole and legitimate representative Government of China. The decision until now about the wish of the people in Taiwan to join the United Nations has been decided on that basis. The resolution (General Assembly Resolution 2758) that you just mentioned is clearly mentioning that the Government of China is the sole and legitimate Government and the position of the United Nations is that Taiwan is part of China.

Responding to the UN's rejection of its application, the ROC government has stated that Taiwan is not now nor has it ever been under the jurisdiction of the PRC, and that since General Assembly Resolution 2758 did not clarify the issue of Taiwan's representation in the UN, it does not prevent Taiwan's participation in the UN as an independent sovereign nation.[22] The ROC government also criticized Ban for asserting that Taiwan is part of China and returning the application without passing it to the Security Council or the General Assembly,[23] contrary to UN's standard procedure (Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Security Council, Chapter X, Rule 59).[24] On the other hand, the PRC government, which has stated that Taiwan is part of China and firmly opposes the application of any Taiwan authorities to join the UN either as a member or an observer, praised that UN's decision "was made in accordance with the UN Charter and Resolution 2758 of the UN General Assembly, and showed the UN and its member states' universal adherence to the one-China principle".[25]

In May 2009, the Department of Health of the Republic of China was invited by the World Health Organization to attend the 62nd World Health Assembly as an observer under the name "Chinese Taipei". This was the ROC's first participation in an event organized by a UN-affiliated agency since 1971, as a result of the improved cross-strait relations since Ma Ying-jeou became the President of the Republic of China a year before.[26]

The Republic of China is recognized by 21 UN member states and the Holy See.

Czechoslovakia[edit]

Czechoslovakia joined the UN as an original member on 24 October 1945, with its name changed to the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic on 20 April 1990. Upon the imminent dissolution of Czechoslovakia, in a letter dated 10 December 1992, its Permanent Representative informed the United Nations Secretary-General that the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic would cease to exist on 31 December 1992 and that the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as successor states, would apply for membership in the UN. Neither state sought sole successor state status. Both states were admitted to the UN on 19 January 1993.[27]

German Democratic Republic[edit]

Both the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) were admitted to the UN on 18 September 1973. Through the accession of the German Democratic Republic to the Federal Republic of Germany, effective from 3 October 1990, the territory of the German Democratic Republic became part of the Federal Republic of Germany, today simply known as Germany. Consequently, the Federal Republic of Germany continued being a member of the UN while the German Democratic Republic ceased to exist.[27]

Federation of Malaya[edit]

The Federation of Malaya joined the United Nations on 17 September 1957. On 16 September 1963, its name was changed to Malaysia, following the formation of Malaysia from Singapore, North Borneo (now Sabah), Sarawak and the Federation of Malaya. Singapore became an independent State on 9 August 1965 and a Member of the United Nations on 21 September 1965.

Tanganyika and Zanzibar[edit]

Tanganyika was admitted to the UN on 14 December 1961, and Zanzibar was admitted to the UN on 16 December 1963. Following the ratification on 26 April 1964 of the Articles of Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar, the two states merged to form the single member "United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar", with its name changed to the United Republic of Tanzania on 1 November 1964.[27][28]

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics[edit]

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) joined the UN as an original member on 24 October 1945, and as set out by the United Nations Charter, Chapter V, Article 23, became one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.[16] Upon the imminent dissolution of the USSR, in a letter dated 24 December 1991, Boris Yeltsin, the President of the Russian Federation, informed the United Nations Secretary-General that the membership of the USSR in the Security Council and all other UN organs was being continued by the Russian Federation with the support of the 11 member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.[27]

The other fourteen independent states established from the former Soviet Republics were all admitted to the UN:

United Arab Republic[edit]

Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser (seated right) and Syrian president Shukri al-Quwatli sign the accord to form the United Arab Republic in 1958. The short-lived political union briefly represented both states and was used as the name of Egypt following Syria's withdrawal in 1961.

Both Egypt and Syria joined the UN as original members on 24 October 1945. Following a plebiscite on 21 February 1958, the United Arab Republic was established by a union of Egypt and Syria and continued as a single member. On 13 October 1961, Syria, having resumed its status as an independent state, resumed its separate membership in the UN. Egypt continued as a UN member under the name of the United Arab Republic, until it reverted to its original name on 2 September 1971. Syria changed its name to the Syrian Arab Republic on 14 September 1971.[27]

Yemen and Democratic Yemen[edit]

Yemen (i.e., North Yemen) was admitted to the UN on 30 September 1947; Southern Yemen (i.e., South Yemen) was admitted to the UN on 14 December 1967, with its name changed to the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen on 30 November 1970, and was later referred to as Democratic Yemen. On 22 May 1990, the two states merged to form the Republic of Yemen, which continued as a single member under the name Yemen.[27]

Yugoslavia[edit]

The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia disintegrated into several states starting in the early 1990s. By 2006, six UN member states existed in its former territory. The 2008 declaration of independence by the Republic of Kosovo has not been accepted by the United Nations.

The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, referred to as Yugoslavia, joined the UN as an original member on 24 October 1945. By 1992, it had been effectively dissolved into five independent states, which were all subsequently admitted to the UN:

Due to the dispute over its legal successor states, the member state "Yugoslavia", referring to the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, remained on the official roster of UN members for many years after its effective dissolution.[27] Following the admission of all five states as new UN members, "Yugoslavia" was removed from the official roster of UN members.

The government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, established on 28 April 1992 by the remaining Yugoslav republics of Montenegro and Serbia,[32] claimed itself as the legal successor state of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;[33] however, on 30 May 1992, United Nations Security Council Resolution 757 was adopted, by which it imposed international sanctions on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia due to its role in the Yugoslav Wars, and noted that "the claim by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) to continue automatically the membership of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the United Nations has not been generally accepted,"[34] and on 22 September 1992, United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/47/1 was adopted, by which it considered that "the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) cannot continue automatically the membership of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the United Nations," and therefore decided that "the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) should apply for membership in the United Nations and that it shall not participate in the work of the General Assembly".[35][36] The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia refused to comply with the resolution for many years, but following the ousting of President Slobodan Milošević from office, it applied for membership, and was admitted to the UN on 1 November 2000.[31] On 4 February 2003, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had its official name changed to Serbia and Montenegro, following the adoption and promulgation of the Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro by the Assembly of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.[37]

On the basis of a referendum held on 21 May 2006, Montenegro declared independence from Serbia and Montenegro on 3 June 2006. In a letter dated on the same day, the President of Serbia informed the United Nations Secretary-General that the membership of Serbia and Montenegro in the UN was being continued by Serbia, following Montenegro's declaration of independence, in accordance with the Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro.[38] Montenegro was admitted to the UN on 28 June 2006.[39]

In the aftermath of the Kosovo War, the territory of Kosovo, then an autonomous province of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, was put under the interim administration of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo on 10 June 1999. On 17 February 2008 it declared independence, but this has not been recognised by Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo is not a member of the UN, but is a member of the International Monetary Fund[40] and the World Bank Group,[41] both specialized agencies in the United Nations System. The Republic of Kosovo is recognised by 108 UN member states, including three of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (France, the United Kingdom, and the United States), while the other two—China and Russia—do not recognise Kosovo. On 22 July 2010, the International Court of Justice, the primary judicial organ of the UN, issued an advisory opinion, ruling that Kosovo's declaration of independence was not in violation of international law.[42]

Suspension, expulsion, and withdrawal of members[edit]

A member state may be suspended or expelled from the UN, according to the United Nations Charter. From Chapter II, Article 5:[3]

A Member of the United Nations against which preventive or enforcement action has been taken by the Security Council may be suspended from the exercise of the rights and privileges of membership by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. The exercise of these rights and privileges may be restored by the Security Council.

From Article 6:[3]

A Member of the United Nations which has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the Organization by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.

Since its inception, no member state has been suspended or expelled from the UN under Articles 5 and 6. However, in a few cases, states were suspended or expelled from participating in UN activities by means other than Articles 5 and 6:

Withdrawal of Indonesia (1965–1966)[edit]

A black-and-white three-quarters view of Sukarno's face
Indonesian president Sukarno's decision to withdraw from the United Nations in 1965 is the only instance of a withdrawal of membership in UN history. Indonesia rejoined the UN a year later.

Since the inception of the UN, only one member state (excluding those that dissolved or merged with other member states) has unilaterally withdrawn from the UN. During the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation, and in response to the election of Malaysia as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, in a letter dated 20 January 1965, Indonesia informed the United Nations Secretary-General that it had decided "at this stage and under the present circumstances" to withdraw from the UN. However, following the overthrow of President Sukarno, in a telegram dated 19 September 1966, Indonesia notified the Secretary-General of its decision "to resume full cooperation with the United Nations and to resume participation in its activities starting with the twenty-first session of the General Assembly". On 28 September 1966, the United Nations General Assembly took note of the decision of the Government of Indonesia and the President invited the representatives of that country to take their seats in the Assembly.[27]

Unlike suspension and expulsion, no express provision is made in the United Nations Charter of whether or how a member can legally withdraw from the UN (largely to prevent the threat of withdrawal from being used as a form of political blackmail, or to evade obligations under the Charter, similar to withdrawals that weakened the UN's predecessor, the League of Nations),[43] or on whether a request for readmission by a withdrawn member should be treated the same as an application for membership, i.e., requiring Security Council as well as General Assembly approval. Indonesia's return to the UN would suggest that this is not required; however, scholars have argued that the course of action taken by the General Assembly was not in accordance with the Charter from a legal point of view.[45]

Observers and non-members[edit]

In addition to the member states, there are two non-member permanent observer states: the Holy See and the State of Palestine.[46]

A number of states were also granted observer status before being admitted to the UN as full members (see United Nations General Assembly observers for the full list).[60][61][62] The most recent case of an observer state becoming a member state was Switzerland, which was admitted in 2002.[63]

A European Union institution, the European Commission, was granted observer status at the UNGA through Resolution 3208 in 1974. The Treaty of Lisbon in 2009 resulted in the delegates being accredited directly to the EU.[64] It was accorded full rights in the General Assembly, bar the right to vote and put forward candidates, via UNGA Resolution A/RES/65/276 on 10 May 2011.[65] It is the only non-state party to over 50 multilateral conventions, and has participated as a full member in every way except for having a vote in a number of UN conferences.[66]

The sovereignty status of Western Sahara is in dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front. Most of the territory is controlled by Morocco, the remainder (the Free Zone) by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, proclaimed by the Polisario Front. Western Sahara is listed by the UN as a "non-self-governing territory".[67]

The Cook Islands and Niue, which are both associated states of New Zealand, are not members of the UN, but are members of specialized agencies of the UN such as WHO[68] and UNESCO,[69] and signatories of international treaties such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change[70] and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,[71] and are treated as non-member states.[72][73]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Benin: Name was changed from Dahomey on 1 December 1975.
  2. ^ Bolivia (Plurinational State of): Previously referred to as Bolivia.
  3. ^ Burkina Faso: Name was changed from Upper Volta on 6 August 1984.
  4. ^ Cabo Verde: Previously referred to as Cape Verde. On 24 October 2013, Cabo Verde requested that its name no longer be translated into different languages.[14]
  5. ^ Cambodia: Name was changed to the Khmer Republic on 7 October 1970, and back to Cambodia on 30 April 1975. Name was changed again to Democratic Kampuchea on 6 April 1976, and back to Cambodia on 3 February 1990.
  6. ^ Cameroon: Previously referred to as Cameroun (before merging with Southern Cameroons in 1961). By a letter of 4 January 1974, the Secretary-General was informed that Cameroon had changed its name to the United Republic of Cameroon. Name was changed back to Cameroon on 4 February 1984.
  7. ^ Central African Republic: By a letter of 20 December 1976, the Central African Republic advised that it had changed its name to the Central African Empire. Name was changed back to the Central African Republic on 20 September 1979.
  8. ^ Congo: Previously referred to as Congo (Brazzaville) (to differentiate it from Congo (Leopoldville)) and the People's Republic of the Congo. Name was changed to Congo on 15 November 1971 (after the Democratic Republic of the Congo changed its name to Zaire). Also referred to as Congo (Republic of the).
  9. ^ Côte d'Ivoire: Previously referred to as Ivory Coast. On 6 November 1985, Côte d’Ivoire requested that its name no longer be translated into different languages; this became fully effective on 1 January 1986.
  10. ^ Democratic Republic of the Congo: Previously referred to as Congo (Leopoldville) (to differentiate it from Congo (Brazzaville)). Name was changed from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Zaire on 27 October 1971, and back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 17 May 1997.
  11. ^ Gambia: Previously referred to as The Gambia.
  12. ^ Iran (Islamic Republic of): Previously referred to as Iran. By a communication of 5 March 1981, Iran informed the Secretary-General that it should be referred to by its complete name of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  13. ^ Kazakhstan: Spelling was changed from Kazakstan on 20 June 1997.
  14. ^ Lao People's Democratic Republic: Name was changed from Laos on 2 December 1975.
  15. ^ Libya: Formerly recognised as the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 after originally being admitted as Libya. By notes verbales of 1 and 21 April 1977, the Libyan Arab Republic advised that it had changed its name to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. On 16 September 2011, the UN General Assembly awarded the UN seat to the National Transitional Council, thereby restoring the original name of Libya.
  16. ^ Madagascar: Previously referred to as the Malagasy Republic.
  17. ^ Maldives: Previously referred to as the Maldive Islands.
  18. ^ Myanmar: Name was changed from Burma on 18 June 1989.
  19. ^ Philippines: Previously referred to as the Philippine Commonwealth (before becoming a republic in 1946) and as the Philippine Republic.
  20. ^ Republic of Moldova: Previously referred to as Moldova.
  21. ^ Saint Kitts and Nevis: Name was changed officially from Saint Christopher and Nevis on 26 November 1986; the UN, however, continued to use the former name throughout the year.
  22. ^ Sao Tome and Principe: The official UN designation lacks diacritics; however, the name is constitutionally defined as São Tomé and Príncipe, with diacritics.
  23. ^ South Africa: Previously referred to as the Union of South Africa (before becoming a republic in 1961).
  24. ^ Sri Lanka: Name was changed from Ceylon on 22 May 1972.
  25. ^ Suriname: Name was changed from Surinam on 23 January 1978.
  26. ^ Thailand: Previously referred to as Siam.
  27. ^ Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of): Previously referred to as Venezuela.

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External links[edit]