Showing posts with label recognition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recognition. Show all posts

Friday, November 30, 2012

Palestine Recognized as a Country by the U.N.

(Keep up with changes to Palestine's situation: view all Palestine updates.)

This Thursday, the U.N. General Assembly voted to change Palestine's status in the organization from "observer" to "observer state". This is the first time the international body has recognized Palestine as a state, giving it the same status enjoyed by U.N. non-member Vatican City. 

Map of Israel with the occupied territories of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights highlighted
The State of Palestine claims the West Bank and Gaza, which are largely occupied by Israel. The Golan Heights are not part of the Palestinian Territories. Public domain map (source).
Until this Thursday, Palestine was a partially recognized country, acknowledged by some U.N. member nations, but not by the U.N. itself (See also: How many countries are there in the world?). Although its delegation has had observer status at the U.N. since 1974, it was never classified as a "state", being treated as something between a country and a non-government organization. Now, the organization has officially voted to change Palestine's status to "observer state" - effectively a recognition that it's an independent country, even though it's still not a U.N. member.

The Palestinian delegation campaigned to join the U.N. as a member last year, but had to give up after the U.S. promised to veto the application in the U.N. Security Council. Observer status, on the other hand, is determined by a majority vote in the U.N. General Assembly, which no single country can veto. That vote happened on November 29th, with members voting 138 to 9 in favor of granting Palestine observer state status (41 members abstained, and 5 were absent from the vote; see the full breakdown of national votes).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kosovo Recognized by Papua New Guinea (92/193)

Map of countries that recognize the Republic of Kosovo as independent, updated for Papua New Guinea's recognition in October 2012
Countries recognizing the Republic of Kosovo in green, with the most recent, Papua New Guinea (lower right), in lighter green. Kosovo in magenta. Map by Evan Centanni, modified from public domain graphic (source).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kosovo Recognized by Chad (Total: 91/193)

Map of countries that recognize the Republic of Kosovo as independent, updated for June 2012
Countries recognizing the Republic of Kosovo in green, with the most recent, Chad, in lighter green (click to enlarge). Kosovo in magenta. Map by Evan Centanni, modified from public domain wiki map (source).

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kosovo Recognition Update (Total: 90/193)

Country Name: Kosovo (English, Serbian), Kosova (Albanian)
Official Name: Republic of Kosovo (English), Republika e Kosovës (Albanian),
Republika Kosovo (Serbian)
News Categories: Recognition, Partially Recognized States, Breakaway States
Full Story: See Kosovo Diplomatic Recognition Continues

Map of countries that recognize the Republic of Kosovo as independent
Countries recognizing the Republic of Kosovo in green, with arrows marking the two most recent: São Tomé and Príncipe (left) and Brunei (right). Kosovo in magenta. Modified from public domain wiki map (source).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kosovo Diplomatic Recognition Continues

Country Name: Kosovo (English, Serbian), Kosova (Albanian)
Official Name: Republic of Kosovo (English), Republika e Kosovës (Albanian),
Republika Kosovo (Serbian)
News Categories: Recognition, Partially Recognized States, Breakaway States
Summary: The Republic of Kosovo has continued to receive diplomatic recognition from other countries, despite widespread opposition to its 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia. Thirteen more U.N. members have declared their recognition of independent Kosovo just within the last year.

Flag of the Republic of Kosovo
Flag of the Republic of Kosovo.
Image by Cradel (source). License: CC BY-SA
Full Story
The majority of recently independent countries, such as South Sudan and Montenegro, enjoy unopposed recognition from the U.N. and its members. However, acceptance into the international community doesn't always come so easily. Kosovo is one example: because it declared its independence without first coming to an agreement with its former host country (unlike South Sudan and Montenegro), it has struggled to gain acceptance as a sovereign state. The last of the Balkan countries to declare independence after the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Kosovo was first separated unofficially from the country in 1999, when NATO intervened militarily in the province to stop Serbian government violence against ethnic Albanians. The Albanians are a cultural group from southeastern Europe who speak a unique language only distantly related to other European tongues, and like the Bosniaks in nearby Bosnia & Herzegovia, are one of the few majority-Muslim European peoples. They also form a majority of the population in the neighboring country of Albania.

Map of Kosovo within Serbia
Kosovo, claimed as a province of Serbia, is
policed by U.N. and E.U. peacekeepers. The
Republic of Kosovo also governs the region,
except for the Serbian-loyalist north. Map is
my own work, based on these two blank
maps by Nord-NordWest. License: CC BY-SA
Policed by a U.N. peacekeeping mission since 1999, most of Kosovo has never since been controlled by the Yugoslav (now Serbian) government, though the U.N. still officially considers it to be a province of Serbia. Despite fierce political opposition from Serbia, Russia, and other countries, as well as from the ethnic Serb minority within Kosovo, the local government declared independence in 2008. The self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo government has since administered the territory alongside the U.N. and another police force sent by the European Union, though the Northern Kosovo area, a Serb-majority region, has resisted independence and continues to support the Serbian government in Belgrade, even setting up roadblocks to keep out the Kosovan police - a sort of breakaway state within a breakaway state.

The Republic of Kosovo has not been admitted into the U.N., and it is recognized by only 88 U.N. member countries (many of them NATO members or countries with Muslim populations) and one other state (Taiwan). Serbia and Russia still strongly oppose independence for Kosovo, but the list of states recognizing its sovereignty has nevertheless continued to grow. Within the last year, 13 more U.N. members have offered diplomatic recognition of Kosovan independence: Andorra, the Central African Republic, Guinea, Niger, Benin, Saint Lucia, Nigeria, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Kuwait, Uganda, Ghana, and Haiti.

Map of countries recognizing the Republic of Kosovo
Diplomatic recognition of the Republic of Kosovo. Countries that recognized Kosovan independence recently (in the last twelve months) in light green, others in dark green; Kosovo in magenta. Public domain (source).
Sources: See citations on Wikipedia's list of Entities that recognize Kosovo as an independent state.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

South Sudan Gains Further Recognition

Country Name: South Sudan
Official Name: Republic of South Sudan
News Categories: Recognition, New Countries
Summary: Newly independent South Sudan has continued to be officially recognized by more of the world's countries in the follow-up to its formation last July. The new state, whose sovereignty has already been acknowledged through admission to the U.N. and African Union, has also initiated a plan to move its capital from Juba to the more central location of Ramciel.

See Also: New Country: South Sudan

Countries which have officially stated their recognition of South Sudan's sovereignty (green). South Sudan in blue. Modified from this Wikimedia map (public domain).

Full Story
South Sudan's Coat of Arms (source)
The result of a peace agreement ending a long and bloody civil war, the official split between South Sudan and Sudan came on July 9th of this year. Since its declaration of independence had been pre-approved through treaty and diplomatic channels, the new Republic of South Sudan was immediately accepted onto the international stage, with dozens of countries rushing to grant it diplomatic recognition. It was welcomed into the United Nations within the week, and by the end of the month held a seat in the African Union. South Sudan has so far received formal recognition from 114 U.N. member states, as well as six non-members. However, since the country already holds a seat in the U.N. itself, and its independence was not opposed by any countries, new recognitions have since slowed due to their limited significance. Since the beginning of August, 10 more countries have recognized South Sudan, with the last newly reported recognition coming from Jamaica on October 6th. (Note: seven other states which recognized the country before August were were omitted from my last update due to lack of information.)

Wikipedia: Foreign Relations of South Sudan

South Sudan's states and disputed regions (pink), showing the current
capital (Juba) and the planned future capital (Ramciel). My own work,
Based on this map by NordNordWest/Wikipedia (license: CC-BY-SA).
South Sudan's capital is currently located in the Juba, also its largest city, which is located on the White Nile river in the south of the country. However, there have long been proposals to move the capital to a more central location, and in September the government announced the official location of South Sudan's next capital, a city which will be planned and built near the meeting point of the country's three traditional provinces (now divided into a number of smaller states). The site is known as Ramciel, and is said to have been advocated by John Garang, southern Sudan's leader from the civil war period, who died in a helicopter crash six years before the country achieved its official independence.

See Also: South Sudan Joins U.N.
Wikipedia: South Sudan

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

States Recognize Palestine Ahead of U.N. Bid

Country Name: Palestine (English), Filastin (Arabic)
Official Name: State of Palestine (English), Dawlat Filastin (Arabic)
News Category: Partially Recognized States, Diplomatic Recognition
Summary: The Palestinian Liberation Organization, which claims sovereignty over the disputed territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as the State of Palestine, will apply for U.N. membership this week. Meanwhile, the total number of countries recognizing Palestinian independence has grown sharply in the lead-up to the U.N. bid.
The Palestinian Territories. Area A: Full Palestinian Control
(on the ground); Area B: Joint Palestinian-Israeli Control;
Area C: Full Israeli Control. Israeli government considers
the green areas "disputed territory". Map is my own work.
Sources: Natural Earth, B'Tselem, U.N. OCHA oPt, others.


Full Story
Palestine is a unique case within the nation-state system. It is recognized as an independent state by more than half of the world's countries, but not by the U.N. itself or by any major Western powers. It indirectly administers much of its claimed territories, yet exercises full sovereign control over none of them. At the heart of one of the world's most intractable conflicts, it is perhaps the most controversial topic in international politics. The coming weeks could see significant changes to the political status of the Palestinian Territories on the world stage.


The Palestinian Territories are made up of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, two regions previously controlled by Jordan and Egypt respectively, which were captured by Israel in the Six Day War of 1967. Israel has never fully relinquished control, and Egypt and Jordan eventually gave up their claims to the regions, leaving them in an unusual political situation. Despite widespread calls for independence based on a 1947 U.N. partition plan, Israel refuses to refer to them as anything other than "disputed territories" until negotiations determine their final status. Some of the land within the territories is now administered by the Palestinians, though much of it is still ruled by the Israeli military, which also controls all associated airspace and territorial waters.

Wikipedia: History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 

This week, Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), will formally request full membership for the State of Palestine in the United Nations. The PLO declared independence in 1988, and has enjoyed a degree of support from the U.N. General Assembly, but currently only holds observer status in the organization, which pointedly labels it as a "non-state entity". Palestinian membership in the U.N. is likely to be vetoed by the U.S., which holds a permanent seat in the U.N. Security Council. However, Palestine may still achieve "state observer" status by a majority vote in the General Assembly, which would elevate it to the same level as the Holy See (Vatican City): a U.N.-recognized state with legal rights.

Countries recognizing the State of Palestine. Recent additions (in the last year) indicated in lighter color.
Modified from this map by Alinor at en.wikipedia (license: CC BY-SA).
Though 90 U.N. members recognized Palestine during the first year after its declaration, the number grew little over the next 15 years. However, since the campaign for U.N. membership began a few years ago, recognition has risen sharply. The State of Palestine is now recognized by 126 U.N. members - nearly two-thirds of the world body - 17 of which have announced their recognition just in the last year. This summer alone has seen six new additions: Syria, Liberia, El Salvador, Honduras, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Belize. Palestine's independence is also endorsed by Western Sahara, a partially-recognized state without U.N. membership.

Chart over time of total U.N. members recognizing the State of Palestine. My own work (source).

Wikipedia:
State of Palestine, Palestinian Territories, International Recognition of the State of Palestine

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Abkhazia Recognized by Vanuatu

Country Name: Abkhazia (English), Apsny (Abkhaz), Abkhaziya (Russian)
Official Name: Republic of Abkhazia
News Category: Partially Recognized States, Diplomatic Recognition
Summary: The disputed breakaway state of Abkhazia has gained diplomatic recognition from Vanuatu, the fifth U.N. member to acknowledge its independence from Georgia.

Abkhazia (purple stripes) and South Ossetia (gold stripes), and their
claimed location within Georgia. Wikimedia map by Ssolbergj (CC BY-SA).
Full Story
The Republic of Abkhazia is one of seven states in the world which are recognized by some U.N. members, but not by the U.N. as a whole. Located in the Caucasus region on the border between Europe and Asia, Abkhazia is considered part of Georgia by most U.N. members; however, it has enjoyed de facto independence since winning a war of secession against the larger country in 1993. It has shared much of its fate with South Ossetia, another breakaway state which also seceded from Georgia around the same time. Abkhazia and South Ossetia passed their first decade and a half of independence without the recognition of any U.N. members. That changed after a 2008 war in which Georgia attempted to take back the two breakaway states by force, and was repelled by Russian forces. In the aftermath of the war, both Abkhazia and South Ossetia received diplomatic recognition from Russia, as well as from the Central American Republic of Nicaragua. The next year, South America's Venezuela and the Pacific island country of Nauru followed suit. The two breakaway republics are also recognized by each other and at least two other non-U.N. member states.
U.N. members recognizing Abkhazia shown in green. Vanuatu circled in green, Abkhazia circled in pink.
Modified from this map by Wikimedia user NuclearVacuum (license: CC BY-SA).
This summer, Abkhazia received recognition from a fifth U.N. member, the Republic of Vanuatu. For the first time, South Ossetia was not recognized along with Abkhazia. Vanuatu is a Pacific island country of a quarter-million people, formerly known as the New Hebrides, which won independence from Britain and France in 1980. Vanuatu's recognition of Abkhazia this year was accompanied by a great deal of confusion. Negotiated in secret between the two states, the recognition agreement was first announced to the public at the end of May. However, government officials in Vanuatu gave differing reports on whether or not the agreement existed, with confirmation finally coming on June 7. Making things even more complicated, Vanuatu's temporary prime minister withdrew recognition of Abkhazia on June 19, but it was reinstated on July 12 after the return of the permanent head of government.

Wikipedia: Abkhazia, Vanuatu, International Recognition of Abkhazia & South Ossetia

Friday, July 29, 2011

South Sudan Joins African Union

Country Name: South Sudan
Official Name: Republic of South Sudan
News Categories: Intergovernmental Organizations
Summary: New U.N. member South Sudan has been admitted into the African Union, the continent's highest level intergovernmental organization. Formal recognition from individual countries is still continuing.
South Sudan (blue) in the A.U. (green). Modified from
this map by Wikimedia user Heraldry (CC BY-SA).

See Also: New Country: South Sudan

Full Story
Less than three weeks after declaring independence, the new Republic of South Sudan has been admitted into the African Union (A.U.). The A.U., which represents all of Africa's countries except for Morocco, voted with a majority in favor of allowing South Sudan's entrance into the organization. Membership will allow the new state to participate fully in the community of African nations, while the A.U. is soon to begin mediating talks over the remaining disputes between South Sudan and Sudan, the country from which it seceded this month. South Sudan is the 54th member of the African Union, and the first new member since Eritrea joined in 1993.
Map of South Sudan from the CIA
World Factbook
(public domain).

See Also: South Sudan Joins U.N.

In addition to A.U. and U.N. membership, South Sudan has continued to receive recognition from individual countries. Official statements of recognition for the new country have now been released by 97 U.N. members and six other sovereign states. Ninety-five U.N. member countries have not yet formally recognized South Sudan, but none have opposed it's independence - an indication that they all intend to accept it as the world's newest sovereign state.



Countries which have officially stated their recognition of South Sudan's sovereignty (green). South Sudan in blue. Modified from this Wikimedia map (public domain).

Wikipedia: South Sudan, Foreign Relations of South Sudan, African Union

Friday, July 22, 2011

South Sudan Joins U.N.

Country Name: South Sudan
Official Name: Republic of South Sudan
News Categories: Intergovernmental Organizations, New Countries
Summary: The newly independent Republic of South Sudan was admitted into the United Nations (U.N.) last week, effectively giving it full status as a nation-state in the international community. Diplomatic recognition from individual countries is still continuing, though the process is now little more than a formality.
U.N. headquarters in New York fly South Sudan's flag
after accepting the new state as a member. U.N. photo
used in accordance with official usage policy (source).

See Also: New Country: South Sudan

Full Story
Just five days after officially declaring independence, the new Republic of South Sudan has been welcomed as the 193rd member of the United Nations. The small African country received membership through a unanimous vote of the U.N. General Assembly on July 14th, following a recommendation from the U.N. Security Council the day before, which was also unanimous. Membership will allow the new state to participate fully in the U.N. and all of its associated organizations, and gives it the legitimacy required for a guaranteed place on world maps and lists of the world's countries.

See Also: How many countries are there in the world? (UPDATED)

In addition to U.N. membership, South Sudan has continued to receive recognition from individual countries. Approximately 88 U.N. members and six other sovereign states have now made official statements recognizing the new country. Although that still leaves 104 U.N. member countries which have not yet formally recognized South Sudan, the unanimous vote of the U.N. General Assembly suggests that all members do intend to acknowledge its legitimacy, whether by official decree or not. No state has indicated any intention to oppose the new state's independence.

Countries which have officially stated their recognition of South Sudan's sovereignty (green). South Sudan in blue. Modified from this Wikimedia map (public domain).

Wikipedia: South Sudan, Foreign Relations of South Sudan, United Nations
 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Country: South Sudan

Country Name: South Sudan
Official Name: Republic of South Sudan
News Category: New Countries
Summary: The Republic of South Sudan has officially declared independence from Sudan. The declaration comes within the legal framework of a 2005 peace agreement between the north and south, and as a result of a 2011 popular vote. South Sudan is expected to be rapidly accepted into the international community as the world's newest country.

History
Flag of South Sudan (source)
Northern and Southern Sudan are historically distinct regions, both culturally and geographically. The arid north has long been dominated by nomadic Arab herders, with Islam as the primary religion. Meanwhile, the wetter south is populated by various agricultural peoples practicing local religions or Christianity. The north and south were ruled as separate colonies by the British during the first half of the 20th Century, but were later unified, with power weighted toward the north. By the time Sudan gained independence in 1956, a civil war was raging over the south's demands for greater representation and autonomy. A peace agreement was finally reached in 1972, granting Southern Sudan many of its demands; but the country descended again into war in 1983, after the central government in Khartoum withdrew the concessions.

Wikipedia: History of South Sudan

Newly independent South Sudan in purple. Sudan in
green. Modified from this map (license: CC BY-SA).
Independence
The devastating second civil war finally came to an end with the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed by the Government of Sudan in the north and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in the south. The agreement specified that the people of Southern Sudan would have the chance to vote on whether to become independent. After six years of uneasy coexistence between the two sides, the referendum was finally held in January 2011. Ninety-nine percent of voters chose independence, and the date for the declaration was set for July 9. Despite diplomatic confrontations and armed clashes, the separation proceeded, with the Government of Sudan in the north becoming the first country to recognize the south's independence. The north retained the name "Sudan".

Former Sudan. South Sudan in blue. Green areas remain
part of Sudan (disputed regions in dark green). Disputed
Abyei (yellow) is under U.N. control. Modified from this
map
by Wikimedia user Lokal_Profil (CC BY-SA 2.5).
However, the status of three border regions - the Abyei Area, South Kordofan state, and Blue Nile state - has not yet been decided. Abyei is claimed both by the south and by the north, which is in the process of turning it over to U.N. peacekeeping forces. The 2005 agreement promised Abyei's people the chance to vote on which side to join, but the referendum hasn't come together. South Kordofan and Blue Nile are controlled by the north, but were promised vaguely defined "popular consultations", which also have not come to pass, leading to continued violence in South Kordofan. The region of Darfur in western Sudan was not at issue in the north-south civil war, and remains part of the north.

South Sudan's capital and states. Modified from this map (public domain).
Wikipedia: Southern Sudanese Independence Referendum




Country Profile
South Sudan is a land-locked country in East Africa, bordered by six other countries, and divided into ten states. It is a constitutional republic with its capital in the city of Juba, and is currently led by President Salva Kiir, a former southern rebel leader. Bisected by the White Nile river, the lushly vegetated country is home to some of the largest remaining populations of endangered African wildlife. South Sudan's roughly 8 million people come from a diverse range of cultural groups, the largest of which is the Dinka people. While English is the official language, Dinka and many other languages are spoken locally, and Arabic (the official language of Sudan) is also widely spoken as a second language. Although the country has rich oil resources, its people currently suffer with one of the lowest standards of living in the world.

Wikipedia: Republic of South Sudan

International Relations
Technically, South Sudan is still a "partially recognized" state, as it has not yet been admitted to the United Nations and is still awaiting diplomatic recognition from many countries. However, it is expected to be admitted into the U.N. within days, and its recognition is growing rapidly: it has already been recognized by about 60 U.N. member countries and four other sovereign states. In addition to the U.N., South Sudan has applied for membership to the African Union, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the East African Community. It has been invited into the Arab League, but is not likely to join, as most of its people do not identify as Arabs (unlike Sudan in the north). Political Geography Now will continue to publish updates as South Sudan's international status evolves.

Countries which have recognized South Sudan's sovereignty (green). South Sudan in blue. Modified from this Wikimedia map (public domain).

Wikipedia: Foreign Relations of South Sudan