- United Nations General Assembly observers
In addition to the current 192 member states, the
United Nationswelcomes many international agencies, entities, and one non-member stateas observers. Observers have the right to speak at United Nations General Assemblymeetings, but not to vote on resolutions.
Observer status is granted by a
United Nations General Assembly resolutionat some point in time. Refer also to
Non-member observer states are recognized as sovereign entities, and are free to submit a petition to join as a full member at their discretion. For example,
Switzerlandwas also a permanent observer state from 1948 to 2002, until becoming a full member on 10 September 2002. Currently, the only such state, the Holy See, is described [ [http://www.un.org/members/nonmembers.shtml UN site on Permanent Missions] ] as a "Non-member State having received a standing invitation to participate as observer in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly and maintaining permanent observer mission at Headquarters".
Republic of China, or Taiwan, in addition to applying for full membership, has also applied variously for non-member or observer status in the UN since 1991. Such requests have been consistently denied due to the UN's recognition of the People's Republic of Chinaas the successor to the Republic of China, with sovereignty over all of China, including Taiwan; this resulted in the 1971 replacement of the Republic of China with the People's Republic as the official representative of China.
*Palestine and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta are currently not recognized by the United Nations as non-member states, but only as entities (see next section).
International organizations and entities
international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and entities whose statehood or sovereignty are not precisely defined, are invited to become observers at the General Assembly. Some of them maintain a permanent office in the United Nations headquarters in New York City, while others do not; however, this is the choice of the organization and do not imply differences in their status.
* [http://lib-unique.un.org/lib/unique.nsf/Link/R02020 Organizations granted observer status in the General Assemby] (last updated 30 November 2005)
* [http://www.un.org/members/nonmembers.shtml List of non-Member States, entities and organizations having received a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly] (last updated December 22, 2006)
* [http://www.un.int/protocol/bluebook/bb297.pdf Permanent Missions to the United Nations (Blue Book)] (last updated 3 August 2007)
* [http://www.un.org/ga/ United Nations General Assembly]
* [http://www.un.org/Overview/missions.htm United Nations missions in New York City]
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