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The Status of the Holy See at the United Nations
U.N. General Assembly Resolution A/58/314 Participation of the Holy See in the work of the United Nations, Agenda item 59 16 July 2004 — Fifty-eighth session

The General Assembly,


Recalling that the Holy See became a Permanent Observer State at the United Nations on 6 April 1964, and since then has always been invited to participate in the meetings of all the sessions of the General Assembly,

Recalling also that the Holy See is a party to diverse international instruments, including the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,1 the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties,2 the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees3 and the Protocol thereto,4 the Convention on the Rights of the Child5 and the Optional Protocols thereto,6 the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,7 the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,8 the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, 9 the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property,10 the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,11 the main disarmament treaties and the Geneva Conventions 12 and the Additional Protocols thereto,13

Recalling further that the Holy See enjoys membership in various United Nations subsidiary bodies, specialized agencies and international intergovernmental organizations, including the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization and the International Committee of Military Medicine,

Aware that the Holy See actively participates as an observer in many of the specialized agencies, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Labour Organization, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Tourism Organization, as well as in the World Trade Organization, that it is a full member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and a Guest of Honour in its Parliamentary Assembly, and that it participates as an observer in various other regional intergovernmental organizations, including the Council of Europe, the Organization of American States and the African Union, and is regularly invited to take part in the main meetings of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization,

Aware also that the Economic and Social Council, by its decision 244 (LXIII) of 22 July 1977, recommended that the Holy See attend sessions of the regional commissions on a basis similar to that provided for in the relevant terms of reference applicable to States Members of the United Nations not members of the regional commissions,

Recalling that the Holy See contributes financially to the general administration of the United Nations in accordance with the rate of assessment for the Holy See as a non-member State, as adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 58/1 B of 23 December 2003,

Considering that it is in the interest of the United Nations that all States be invited to participate in its work,

Desirous of contributing to the appropriate participation of the Holy See in the work of the General Assembly in the context of the revitalization of the work of the Assembly,

  1. Acknowledges that the Holy See, in its capacity as an Observer State, shall be accorded the rights and privileges of participation in the sessions and work of the General Assembly and the international conferences convened under the auspices of the Assembly or other organs of the United Nations, as well as in United Nations conferences as set out in the annex to the present resolution;
  2. Requests the Secretary-General to inform the General Assembly during the current session about the implementation of the modalities annexed to the present resolution.


92nd plenary meeting
1 July 2004


1 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 500, No. 7310.
2 Ibid., vol. 1155, No. 18232.
3 Ibid., vol. 189, No. 2545.
4 Ibid., vol. 606, No. 8791.
5 Resolution 44/25, annex.
6 Resolution 54/263, annexes I and II.
7 Resolution 39/46, annex.
8 Resolution 2106 A (XX), annex.
9 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 249, No. 3511.
10 Ibid., vol. 828, No. 11851.
11 Ibid., vol. 729, No. 10485.
12 Ibid., vol. 75, Nos. 970–973.
13 Ibid., vol. 1125, Nos. 17512 and 17513.


The rights and privileges of participation of the Holy See shall be effected through the following modalities, without prejudice to the existing rights and privileges:

  1. The right to participate in the general debate of the General Assembly;
  2. Without prejudice to the priority of Member States, the Holy See shall have the right of inscription on the list of speakers under agenda items at any plenary meeting of the General Assembly, after the last Member State inscribed on the list;
  3. The right to make interventions, with a precursory explanation or the recall of relevant General Assembly resolutions being made only once by the President of the General Assembly at the start of each session of the Assembly;
  4. The right of reply;
  5. The right to have its communications relating to the sessions and work of the General Assembly issued and circulated directly, and without intermediary, as official documents of the Assembly;
  6. The right to have its communications relating to the sessions and work of all international conferences convened under the auspices of the General Assembly issued and circulated directly, and without intermediary, as official documents of those conferences;
  7. The right to raise points of order relating to any proceedings involving the Holy See, provided that the right to raise such a point of order shall not include the right to challenge the decision of the presiding officer;
  8. The right to co-sponsor draft resolutions and decisions that make reference to the Holy See; such draft resolutions and decisions shall be put to a vote only upon request from a Member State;
  9. Seating for the Holy See shall be arranged immediately after Member States and before the other observers when it participates as a non-member State observer, with the allocation of six seats in the General Assembly Hall;
  10. 10. The Holy See shall not have the right to vote or to put forward candidates in the General Assembly.