List of states with limited recognition explained

Some contemporary geopolitical entities that wish to be recognised as de jure sovereign states have been hindered by a lack of diplomatic recognition. In the past, similar entities have existed, and there are now entities claiming independence, often with de facto control of their territory, with recognition ranging from almost all other recognised states to no states at all.

There are two traditional doctrines that provide interpretations of when a de jure sovereign state should be recognised as a member of the international community. The "declarative" theory defines a state as a person in international law if it meets the following criteria: 1) a defined territory; 2) a permanent population; 3) a government and 4) a capacity to enter into relations with other states. According to declarative theory, an entity's statehood is independent of its recognition by other states. By contrast, the "constitutive" theory defines a state as a person of international law if it is recognised as such by another state that is already a member of the international community.[1]

Several entities reference either or both doctrines in order to legitimise their claims to statehood. There are, for example, entities which meet the declarative criteria (with de facto complete or partial control over their claimed territory, a government and a permanent population), but their statehood is not recognised by one or more other states. Non-recognition is often a result of conflicts with other countries that claim those entities as integral parts of their territory. In other cases, two or more partially recognised entities may claim the same territorial area, with each of them de facto in control of a portion of it (as have been the cases of the Republic of China and People's Republic of China, and North and South Korea). Entities that are recognised by only a minority of the world's states usually reference the declarative doctrine to legitimise their claims.

In many situations, international non-recognition is influenced by the presence of a foreign military force in the territory of the presumptive, self-declaring independent entity, so to make problematic the description of the country de facto status. The international community can judge this military presence too intrusive, reducing the entity to a puppet state where effective sovereignty is retained by the foreign power. Historical cases in this sense can be seen in Japanese-led Manchukuo or German-created Slovakia and Croatia before and during World War II. In 1996-case Loizidou vs. Turkey, the European Court of Human Rights judged Turkey for having exercised authority in the territory of Northern Cyprus.

There are also entities which do not have control over any territory or do not unequivocally meet the declarative criteria for statehood but have been recognised to exist de jure as sovereign entities by at least one other state. Historically this has happened in the case of the Holy See (1870–1929), Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (during Soviet annexation), among other cases. The recognition of the State of Palestine by over one hundred states is a contemporary example. See list of governments in exile for unrecognised governments without control over the territory claimed.

Criteria for inclusion

The criteria for inclusion means a polity must claim statehood, lack recognition from at least one state, and either:

Background

Some states do not establish relations with new nations quickly and thus do not recognise them despite having no dispute and sometimes favorable relations. These are excluded from the list. Some countries fulfill the declarative criteria, are recognised by the large majority of other nations and are members of the United Nations, but are included in the list here because one or more other states do not recognise their statehood, due to territorial claims or other conflicts. Currently there are 193 United Nations (UN) member states. The Holy See holds observer status in the United Nations.[2]

Some states maintain informal (officially non-diplomatic) relations with states that do not officially recognise them. The Republic of China (Taiwan) is one such state, as it maintains unofficial relations with many other states through its Economic and Cultural Offices, which allow regular consular services. This allows the ROC to have economic relations even with states that do not formally recognise it. A total of 56 states, including Germany,[3] Italy,[4] the United States,[5] and the United Kingdom,[6] maintain some form of unofficial mission in the ROC. Kosovo,[7] the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic,[8] Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,[9] Abkhazia,[10] Transnistria,[10] Sahrawi Republic,[11] Somaliland,[12] and Palestine[13] also host informal diplomatic missions, and/or maintain special delegations or other informal missions abroad. In the U.S., such offices by unrecognized entities are required to be registered as foreign lobbyist organizations under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) and act as regular lobbyists.

Present geopolitical entities by level of recognition

Non-UN member states recognised only by non-UN members

NameStatusOther claimantsFurther informationReferences
Nagorno-Karabakh declared its independence in 1992. It is currently de facto recognised by three UN non-members: Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria. Azerbaijan claims Nagorno-Karabakh as part of its sovereign territory.Foreign relations, missions (of, to)[15] [16] [17] [18]
(Transnistria)Transnistria declared its independence in 1990. It is currently recognised by two UN non-members: Abkhazia and South Ossetia. claims Transnistria as part of its sovereign territory.Foreign relations, missions (of, to)
International recognition, Disputed status
[19]

Non-UN member states recognised by at least one UN member

NameStatusOther claimantsFurther informationReferences
Abkhazia declared its independence in 1999. It is currently recognised by 6 UN member states (Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru, Vanuatu and Tuvalu), and three UN non-member states (South Ossetia, Transnistria and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic).[20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] Georgia claims Abkhazia as part of its sovereign territory.Foreign relations, missions (of, to)
International recognition
[26] [27] [28] [29]
(Taiwan)The Republic of China (ROC, commonly known as Taiwan), constitutionally formed in 1912, is recognised as the government of the state of China by . All other UN member states do not officially recognise the ROC as a state; some of them regard its controlled territory as de jure part of the People's Republic of China (PRC) while some others have used careful diplomatic language to avoid taking a position as to whether the territory of the ROC is part of the PRC.. Throughout the years, the ROC has adopted differing positions towards simultaneous recognition of the ROC and the PRC by other countries.[30] claims that the Republic of China no longer exists and claims all of the territory under ROC jurisdiction as part of its sovereign territory.Foreign relations, missions (of, to)
Political status
[31]
Kosovo declared its independence in 2008. UN members and one UN non-member state, the Republic of China (Taiwan), although Kosovo does not recognise the ROC. The United Nations, as stipulated in Security Council Resolution 1244, has administered the territory since 1999 through the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, with cooperation from the European Union since 2008. It is a member of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group. Serbia claims Kosovo as part of its sovereign territory.Foreign relations, missions (of, to)
International recognition, Political status
[32] [33]
Northern Cyprus declared its independence in 1983. It is currently recognised by one UN member, Turkey. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has granted Northern Cyprus observer status under the name "Turkish Cypriot State". United Nations Security Council Resolution 541 defines the declaration of independence of Northern Cyprus as legally invalid.[34] Cyprus claims Northern Cyprus as part of its sovereign territory.Foreign relations, missions (of, to)
Cyprus dispute
[35]
The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) declared the State of Palestine in Algiers in 1988. At the time the PLO had no control over any part of the proclaimed territory. It is currently recognised by UN member states, as well as the SADR.[36] Today the PLO executes certain administrative tasks of self-government in most parts of the territories through the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) established in 1994 according to the Oslo Accords and the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement. The PLO participates in the United Nations as a non-state entity with observer status and is designated "Palestine".[37] The State of Palestine has membership in the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and UNESCO. Israel does not recognise the state of Palestine and currently occupies the area, All Israeli governments since 1992 have agreed to the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with mutually agreed land swaps.Foreign relations, missions (of, to)
International recognition, Proposals for a Palestinian state
[38] [39] [40] [41] [42] [43] [44]
Both the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and Morocco claim sovereignty over the territory of Western Sahara. The SADR, which declared its independence in 1976, has been recognised by 84 UN members and is a member state of the African Union. Several states, however, have since retracted or suspended recognition, pending the outcome of a referendum on self-determination, with 57 retaining diplomatic ties.[45] [46] Western Sahara is not recognized as part of Morocco by any states, but some states support Moroccan autonomy plan. Moroccan "territorial integrity" is favoured by the Arab League. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 34/37 recognised the right of the Western Sahara people to self-determination and independence and recognised also the Polisario Front as the representative of the Western Sahara people. Western Sahara is currently listed on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. Morocco claims Western Sahara as part of its sovereign territory.Foreign relations, missions (of, to)
Legal status
[47]
South Ossetia declared its independence in 1991. It is currently recognised by 5 UN member states (Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Tuvalu and Nauru), and three UN non-member states (Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria).[48] Georgia claims South Ossetia as part of its sovereign territory.Foreign relations, missions (of, to)
International recognition
[49]

Partially unrecognised UN member states

NameStatusOther claimantsFurther informationReferences
Armenia, independent since 1991, is currently not recognised by one UN member, Pakistan, as Pakistan has a position of supporting Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.Foreign relations, missions (of, to)[50] [51]
The People's Republic of China (PRC), proclaimed in 1949, is the more widely recognised of the two claimant governments of "China", the other being the Republic of China (ROC). The PRC does not accept diplomatic relations with states that recognise the ROC . Most of these states do not officially recognise the PRC as a state, though some states have established relations with the ROC while stating they do not intend to stop recognising the PRC (Kiribati, Nauru).[52] [53] Some states which currently recognise only the PRC have attempted simultaneous recognition and relations with the ROC and the PRC in the past (Liberia, Vanuatu).[54] [55] [56] According to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758, the PRC is the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations. is considered the sole legal government over all of China under the Constitution of the Republic of China.Foreign relations, missions (of)
PRC's diplomatic relations dates of establishment
[57]
Cyprus, independent since 1960, is currently not recognised by one UN member (Turkey) and one non-member (Northern Cyprus), due to the ongoing civil dispute over the island. claims part of the island of CyprusForeign relations, missions (of, to)[58] [59] [60] [61]
IsraelIsrael, independent since 1948, is not recognised by 32 UN members (see Arab-Israeli conflict). It is recognised by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was recognized by Israel in 1993 as the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people., represented by the PLO, which has agreed with Israel in principle that a Palestinian state should be established within the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.Foreign relations, missions (of, to)
International recognition
[62] [63] [64]
North Korea, independent since 1948, is not recognised by two UN members: Japan and South Korea.[65] claims to be the sole legitimate government of Korea.Foreign relations, missions (of, to)[66] [67]
South Korea, independent since 1948, is not recognised by one UN member, North Korea. claims to be the sole legitimate government of Korea.Foreign relations, missions (of, to)[68] [69]

Excluded entities

See also

Notes and References

  1. Thomas D. Grant, The recognition of states: law and practice in debate and evolution (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 1999), chapter 1.
  2. Web site: Non-member State. Un.org. 2010-06-25.
  3. Web site: Germany - Countries A to Z. Auswaertiges-amt.de. 2010-06-25.
  4. Web site: Ambasciate Consolati e Uffici di promozione. Esteri.it. 2011-04-29.
  5. U.S. Department of State Websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions Retrieved 2011-02-03
  6. Web site: Find an Embassy. Fco.gov.uk. 2008-03-14. 2010-06-25.
  7. Web site: Foreign Missions in Kosovo. Government of Kosovo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2010-11-04.
  8. Web site: Permanent Representations. Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2010-11-04.
  9. Web site: Representative Offices Abroad. Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Public Information Office. 2010-11-04.
  10. Web site: Embassies & Representatives of Abkhazia. Government of Abkhazia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2010-11-04.
  11. http://76.162.150.8/relaciones_dib.htm Embassies and representative offices
  12. Web site: Contacts and addresses of the Somaliland Representative Offices around the world. Government of Somaliland. 2010-11-04.
  13. Web site: Embassies, Missions, General and Special Delegations of Palestine abroad. WebGaza.net. 2010-11-04.
  14. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/country_profiles/3794847.stm BBC Country Profiles: Regions and territories: Somaliland
  15. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/country_profiles/3658938.stm BBC Country Profiles: Regions and territories: Nagorno-Karabakh
  16. Transnistria wants to join Russia (translated title), September 2008.
  17. Moldova, September 2008.
  18. Web site: In detail: The foreign policy of Pridnestrovie. Pridnestrovie.net. 2010-06-25.
  19. Web site: 2008-06-16. Abkhazia: Ten Years On. BBC 2. 2001.
  20. Вице-спикер парламента Абхазии: Выборы в НКР соответствуют всем международным стандартам: "Абхазия, Южная Осетия, НКР и Приднестровье уже давно признали независимость друг друга и очень тесно сотрудничают между собой", - сказал вице-спикер парламента Абхазии. ... "...Абхазия признала независимость Нагорно-Карабахской Республики..." - сказал он." English language translation from Microsoft Translator
  21. http://www.tiraspoltimes.com/news/south_ossetia_opens_embassy_in_abkhazia.html "South Ossetia opens embassy in Abkhazia" The Tiraspol Times
  22. Vanuatu's initial recognition was invalidated after the Kilman government was annulled by the Supreme Court. Kilman was subsequently re-elected and its recognition was re-confirmed by its Foreign Minister in July 2011: Natapei withdraws recognition of Abkhazia, Vanuatu Daily Post, June 19, 2011
  23. http://www.solomonstarnews.com/news/regional/11030-vanuatu-official-denies-abkhazia-recognition Vanuatu official denies Abkhazia recognition, Solomon Star newspaper, 06 JUNE 2011
  24. http://transparency.ge/en/post/general-announcement/transparency-international-vanuatu-press-release-recognition-abkhazia Transparency International Vanuatu press release on recognition of Abkhazia, 08 August 2011
  25. News: Vanuatu annuls recognition of Abkhazia - report. 19 June 2011. Radio New Zealand International. 15 October 2011.
  26. Web site: 2008-02-26. Abkhazia: Ten Years On. Conciliation Resources. 2001. Clogg, Rachel.
  27. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/7582181.stm Russia recognises Georgian rebels
  28. News: Venezuela's Chavez draws closer to Moscow. 2009-09-10. Reuters. 2009-10-20.
  29. Web site: John Pike. Georgia mocks Nauru's recognition of Abkhazia. Globalsecurity.org. 2010-06-25.
  30. Bush III, Richard C. "The Role of the United States in Taiwan-PRC Relations", Taiwan: Beyond the Economic Miracle M.E. Sharpe, Inc. ISBN 0-87332-879-5 p. 358 Online version available at Google Books
  31. Global Investment and Business Center, Inc. Staff Taiwan Foreign Policy and National Security Yearbook 2011 Second Edition International Business Publications, USA ISBN 0-7397-3660-4 Online version available at Google Books
  32. News: 2008-02-28. Kosovo MPs proclaim independence. 2008-02-17. BBC News.
  33. Web site: Kosovo. PDF. 2010-06-25.
  34. Web site: Security Council resolution 220 (1966) on Cyprus. Un.int. 2010-06-25.
  35. Web site: 2008-02-28. In Praise of 'Virtual States'. Hadar, Leon. 2005-11-16. AntiWar.
  36. "...the SADR was one of the first countries to recognise the state of Palestine."
  37. http://www.un.org/en/members/nonmembers.shtml UN observers: Non-member States and Entities
  38. http://web.archive.org/web/20060404211437/http://www.pna.gov.ps/Government/gov/recognition_of_the_State_of_Palestine.asp Official website of the Palestinian National Authority
  39. http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/4962 Venezuela Pledges Support for Palestinian Statehood during Abbas Visit
  40. http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/52867/costa-rica-recognizes-palestine-.html "Costa Rica Recognizes 'Palestine'"
  41. Web site: South African Representative Office to the Palestinian National Authority. Sarep.org. 2010-06-25.
  42. Web site: Embassy of the State of Palestine to the Republic of Uzbekistan, Central Asia and Azerbaijan. Palestineuzbek.com. 2010-06-25.
  43. Web site: Embassies of Palestine. Webgaza.net. 2010-06-25.
  44. Web site: Embassy of the State of Palestine in Bratislava. Palestine.sk. 2010-06-25.
  45. Web site: Here the states which recognize the SADR. It is a non official list, with dates of recognition and cancelation:. ARSO. 2011-02-07.
  46. Web site: About Western Sahara. Australia Western Sahara Association. November. 2006. 2010-01-04.
  47. Web site: 2008-02-28. Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. 1976-02-27. Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Western Sahara Online.
  48. "Республика Науру признала независимость Южной Осетии" 16 December 2009 Retrieved 2011-02-03 "Republic of Nauru recognizes the independence of South Ossetia" English language translation from Microsoft Translator
  49. Web site: 2008-02-28. OCHA Situation Report. 2003-09-23. Stojanovic, Srdjan. Center for International Disaster Information.
  50. http://www.foreignaffairscommittee.org/includes/content_files/Report%2021%20-%20Visit%20to%20Azerbaijan.pdf Pakistan Worldview - Report 21 - Visit to Azerbaijan
  51. http://www.today.az/news/politics/30102.html Nilufer Bakhtiyar: "For Azerbaijan Pakistan does not recognise Armenia as a country"
  52. Lee, Meifang "Minister announces resumption of diplomatic ties with Nauru" Taiwan Today 2005-05-20 Retrieved 2011-04-29
  53. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacbeat/stories/201006/s2932142.htm "Kiribati president upbeat on conference, Taiwan"
  54. Crocombe, Ron Asia in the Pacific Islands: Replacing the West University of the South Pacific. Institute of Pacific Studies 2007 p. 258 Online version available at Google Books
  55. http://es.scribd.com/doc/49956806/3/History-of-China-Liberia-relations "Looking East: China-Africa Engagements Liberia Case Study"
  56. Chiu, Hungdah "The International Legal Status of the Republic of China (Revised Version)" Occasional Papers/Reprints Series in Contemporary Asian Studies Number 5 - 1992 (112), School of Law, University of Maryland ISBN 0-925153-23-0
  57. Web site: 2008-02-28. Constitution of the People's Republic of China. International Human Rights Treaties and Documents Database.
  58. European Parliament Directorate-General External Policies Policy Department "Turkey and the problem of the recognition of Cyprus" 20 January 2005 Retrieved 2011-02-03
  59. Web site: 2008-02-28. [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cy.html Cyprus]. 2008-02-28. CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
  60. Web site: 2008-03-07. Cyprus exists without Turkey's recognition: president. XINHUA. 2005-10-01.
  61. European Parliament's Committee on ForeignAffairs "The influence of Turkish military forces on political agenda-setting in Turkey, analysed on the basis of the Cyprus question" 18 February 2008 Retrieved 2011-02-03
  62. Web site: 2008-02-28. Declaration of Israel's Independence 1948. 1948-05-14. Government of Israel. Yale University.
  63. Web site: 'Reply' Online Book Chapter 1. Mythsandfacts.org. 2010-06-25.
  64. Web site: Khartoum Resolution. Council on Foreign Relations.
  65. Web site: Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea. 2008-10-27.
  66. News: 2008-02-29. Declaration of Independence. TIME. 1966-08-19.
  67. Web site: 2008-02-29. Seoul's double-talk on reunification. Asia Times. 2005-01-04. Scofield, David.
  68. Web site: 2008-02-28. World War II and Korea. 2000-10-07. US Library of Congress. Country Studies.
  69. News: 2008-02-29. China, Backing North Korea, Quits Armistice Commission. The New York Times. 1994-09-03. Sterngold, James.
  70. http://www.un.int/orderofmalta/ Permanent Observer Mission of the Order of Malta to the United Nations in New York
  71. Shaw, Malcolm Nathan International Law Fifth Edition Cambridge University Press 2003 ISBN 0521824737 p. 218 Online version available at Google Books
  72. Global Legal Information Network "Reconocese a la Soberana Orden Militar de Malta como Entidad Internacional Independiente"
  73. Knol Orden de Malta Soberana Orden Militar de San Juan de Jerusalén-Sovereign Military Order of Malta - S.M.O.M.
  74. http://www.analitica.com/vam/1999.05/sociedad/01.htm "La Orden de Malta y su Naturaleza Jurídica"
  75. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta maintains embassies around the world and receives accreditations from foreign ambassadors.
  76. http://www.heraldica.org/topics/orders/malta/maltasov.htm The French Republic does not recognise the SMOM as a subject of international law; see a statement by the spokesman of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Feb 7, 1997.
  77. http://www.orderofmalta.org/diplomatic-relations/862/bilateral-relations-with-countries/?lang=en SMOM Bilateral relations with countries
  78. http://www.udiregelverk.no/~/media/Images/Rettskilder/Visa%20Code/Visa%20Code%20vedlegg%2010%20a.ashx Council of the European Union - Schengen Visa Working Party - Table of travel documents