United Nations General Assembly observers

United Nations General Assembly Observers

United Nations General Assembly observers

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In addition to the current 193 member states, the United Nations welcomes many international organizations, entities, and non-member state (currently only one) as observers. Observer status is granted by a United Nations General Assembly resolution. The status of a Permanent Observer is based purely on practice, and there are no provisions for it in the United Nations Charter.

Observers have the right to speak at United Nations General Assembly meetings, participate in procedural votes, and to sponsor and sign resolutions,<!-- do all observer get all of these rights automatically? --> but not to vote on resolutions and other substantive matters. Various other rights (e.g. to speak in debates, to submit proposals and amendments, the right of reply, to raise points of order and to circulate documents, etc.) are given selectively to some observers only. So far, the EU is the only international organisation to hold these enhanced powers.

There is a distinction between state and non-state observers. Non-Member States of the United Nations, which are members of one or more specialized agencies, can apply for the status of Permanent Observer state. The non-state observers are the international organizations and other entities.

Non-member observer states are arranged for seating in the General Assembly Hall immediately after the Member States and before the...
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