As of May 2006, the UN had 191 member states, including 51 charter members (the 50 countries that sent representatives to the San Francisco conference, plus Poland, which ratified the charter shortly afterward) and 140 states that have joined the organization since 1945, the great majority of them former colonial territories that have achieved independence. The table in this chapter shows the growth of UN membership, the roster lists the members of the UN in alphabetical order and gives the dates of their admission to the UN. The roster does not take account of the several federations or unions of states that were created or dissolved during membership.
Thus, Syria, an original member, ceased independent membership on joining with Egypt to form the United Arab Republic in 1958. On resuming its separate status in 1961, Syria also resumed separate membership, which is still officially dated from the country's original day of entry. Tanganyika and Zanzibar joined the UN as separate states in 1961 and 1963, respectively, but in 1964 merged to form the United Republic of Tanzania, with a single membership officially dated from Tanganyika's day of entry.
Similarly, The Federation of Malaya joined the United Nations on 17 September 1957. On 16 September 1963, its name was changed to Malaysia, following the admission to the new federation of Singapore, Sabah (North Borneo), and Sarawak. Singapore became an independent state on 9 August 1965 and a member of the United Nations on 21 September 1965.
The Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic were admitted to membership in the United Nations on 18 September 1973. Through accession of the German Democratic Republic to the Federal Republic of Germany, effective from 3 October 1990, the two German states have united to form one sovereign state.
The unification of the two Germanys began a process of realignment of nations that intensified as communist governments collapsed throughout Eastern Europe. In only two years 15 separate states from the former USSR were admitted to membership. As a result of this sweeping change, the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (an original member of the United Nations) became the Russian Federation. In a letter dated 24 December 1991, Boris Yeltsin, then president of the Russian Federation, informed the Secretary-General that the membership of the Soviet Union in the Security Council and all other United Nations organs was being continued by the Russian Federation with the support of the 11 member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Czechoslovakia also was an original member of the United Nations. On 10 December 1992, its Permanent Representative informed the Secretary-General that the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic would cease to exist on 31 December 1992 and that the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, as successor states, would apply for membership in the United Nations. Following the receipt of their applications, the Security Council, on 8 January 1993, recommended to the General Assembly that both the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic be admitted to United Nations membership. Both were admitted on 19 January 1993.
In 1993, the proposed admission of a part of the former Yugoslavia, which had been known as the Republic of Macedonia, formed the subject of protest from the government of Greece, which considers the name "Macedonia" to pertain to one of its internal states. Now bearing the unwieldy name of "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," the new country became a member on 8 April 1993.
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was an original member of the UN until its dissolution following the establishment and subsequent admission as new members of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, the Republic of Slovenia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which was admitted on 1 November 2000; in February 2003, the country changed its name to Serbia and Montenegro.
ADMISSION OF MEMBERS
In the words of Article 4 of the Charter, membership in the UN is open to all "peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations." The original members are the states that participated in the San Francisco Conference, or that had previously signed the Declaration by United Nations, of 1 January 1942, and subsequently signed and ratified the Charter.
The procedure of admission is as follows. A state wishing to join submits an application to the Secretary-General, in which it formally states its acceptance of the Charter obligations. The application is forwarded to the Security Council. If the Security Council, by a vote of at least nine members (formerly seven), including all the permanent members, recommends the application, membership becomes effective on the day that it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly. In other words, if any one of the Security Council's permanent members vetoes it, or if it fails to obtain a sufficient majority in the Security Council, the application does not reach the General Assembly at all.
Up to 1955 there were bitter controversies and years of stalemate in the Security Council over the applications of some countries. Usually one or more of the Big Five was on bad terms with the applying state, or it would choose to withhold consent as a bargaining point against the other big powers. Finally, on 14 December 1955, by a compromise, 16 countries were admitted together. Since then, new applications rarely caused controversy. Most of the applicants have been newly independent states that applied for membership immediately after attaining independence. In most cases they have been admitted by unanimous vote.
The outstanding exceptions were the applications of the Republic of Korea (ROK), which applied in January 1949; the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), which applied in February 1949; South Vietnam, which applied in December 1951; and North Vietnam, which applied in December 1951. The two Vietnams and the ROK sought action on their applications in 1975. The Security Council, by a narrow vote, decided not to take up the ROK's application, and the United States subsequently vetoed membership for the Vietnams, citing as a reason the Security Council's earlier refusal to consider the membership application of the ROK. In response to a General Assembly recommendation, however, the Security Council in 1977 recommended the admission of the newly established Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and that country became a member in September 1977. The DPRK and the ROK maintained observer status at the General Assembly until September 1991, when both were admitted to membership simultaneously.
WITHDRAWAL FROM MEMBERSHIP
While the Covenant of the League of Nations contained provisions for the legal withdrawal of members, the UN Charter deliberately omits all reference to the subject. The majority feeling at the San Francisco Conference was that provisions for withdrawal would be contrary to the principle of universality and might provide a loophole for members seeking to evade their obligations under the Charter.
Thus, when the first—and so far the only—case of withdrawal arose, the procedure had to be improvised. On 1 January 1965, Indonesia, which then was pursuing a policy of confrontation against the newly formed Federation of Malaysia, announced that it would withdraw from the UN and its related agencies if Malaysia were to take its elected seat on the Security Council. Three weeks later, Indonesia's foreign minister officially confirmed withdrawal in a letter to the Secretary-General, who, after consultations with the Indonesian mission to the UN, merely noted the decision and expressed hope that Indonesia would in due time "resume full cooperation" with the world body. Following a coup later in 1965, Indonesia sent a telegram to the Secretary-General, just before the opening of the 1966 General Assembly session, announcing its decision to "resume full cooperation with the UN and to resume participation in its activities."
Arrangements were made to ensure that Indonesia's reentry would take place with minimum formality. Hence, it was decided that Indonesia need not make a formal reapplication via the Security Council but that the matter could be handled directly by the General Assembly. Citing the telegram as evidence that Indonesia regarded its absence from the UN as a "cessation of cooperation" rather than an actual withdrawal, the General Assembly's president recommended that the administrative procedure for reinstating Indonesia could be taken. No objections were raised, and Indonesia was immediately invited to resume its seat in the General Assembly. In short, the problems raised by the first case of withdrawal from the UN were solved by treating it as if it had not been a matter of withdrawal at all.
Although South Africa withdrew from three of the UN's related agencies—UNESCO, FAO, and the ILO—because of the anti-apartheid sentiments of their members, it did not withdraw from the UN itself, despite numerous General Assembly resolutions condemning apartheid and recommending stringent sanctions. South Africa rejoined UNESCO and the ILO in the late 1990s.
SUSPENSION AND EXPULSION
The Charter provides that a member against which the Security Council has taken preventive or enforcement action may be suspended from the exercise of the rights and privileges of membership by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. However, only the Security Council, not the General Assembly, has the power to restore these rights. Any member that "has persistently violated the Principles" of the Charter may be expelled from the UN by the same procedure. As of May 2006, no cases of suspension of rights or expulsion had been recommended by the Security Council.
Many states called for the expulsion of South Africa because of its apartheid policies, but no formal proposal to this effect was made. In 1974, the General Assembly called upon the Security Council to review the relationship between the UN and South Africa in the light of the constant violation by South Africa of the principles of the Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Security Council considered a draft resolution submitted by Cameroon, Iraq, Kenya, and Mauritania that would have recommended to the General Assembly the immediate expulsion of South Africa under Article 6 of the Charter. Owing to the negative votes of three permanent members (France, United Kingdom, United States), the draft resolution was not adopted. After the council had reported back to the General Assembly on its failure to adopt a resolution, the president of the General Assembly, Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria, ruled that the delegation of South Africa should be refused participation in the work of the General Assembly. His ruling was upheld by 91 votes to 22, with 19 abstentions. Although remaining a member of the UN, South Africa was not represented at subsequent sessions of the General Assembly. Following South Africa's successful democratic elections of May 1994, after 24 years of refusing to accept the credentials of the South African delegation, the General Assembly unanimously welcomed South Africa back to full participation in the United Nations on 23 June 1994. It also deleted its agenda item on "the elimination of apartheid and the establishment of a united, democratic and nonracial South Africa."
REPRESENTATION OF NATIONS IN
The members of the UN are nations, not governments. Whereas the UN may concern itself with the character of a government at the time that a nation applies for admission and may occasionally defer admission on these grounds (Spain under the Franco government, for example, applied for membership in 1945–46 but was not admitted until 1955), once a nation becomes a member, any governmental changes thereafter do not affect continuance of membership—provided, of course, that the nation continues to fulfill its Charter obligations. Nor, under the Charter, is the admission of a new nation dependent upon whether other nations individually recognize and have diplomatic relations with the government concerned. Though the relations of individual members with a nation applying for membership will affect the voting in the Security Council and the General Assembly, strictly speaking, the only consideration enjoined by the Charter is the judgment by
|YEAR OF ADMISSION||MEMBERS||YEAR OF ADMISSION||MEMBERS|
|1945||Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Belarus (formerly Byelorussia), Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechoslovakia (readmitted in 1993 as two separate states, the Czech and Slovak Republics), Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, the Russian Federation (formerly the USSR), Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia||1966||Barbados, Botswana, Guyana, Lesotho|
|1967||People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (since 1990, merged with Yemen)|
|1968||Equatorial Guinea, Mauritius, Swaziland|
|1971||Bahrain, Bhutan, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates|
|1973||Bahamas, Germany (formerly the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany)|
|1974||Bangladesh, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau|
|1975||Cape Verde, Comoros, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, Suriname|
|1976||Angola, Samoa, Seychelles|
|1946||Afghanistan, Iceland, Sweden, Thailand||1977||Djibouti, Vietnam|
|1947||Pakistan, Yemen (formerly Yemen Arab Republic)||1978||Dominica, Solomon Islands|
|1948||Myanmar (formerly Burma)||1979||St. Lucia|
|1949||Israel||1980||St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Zimbabwe|
|1950||Indonesia||1981||Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Vanuatu|
|1955||Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia (formerly Kampuchea), Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Lao People's Democratic Republic (formerly Laos), Libya, Nepal, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sri Lanka||1983||St. Kitts and Nevis|
|1991||Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Latvia, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Republic of Korea|
|1956||Japan, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia|
|1958||Guinea||1992||Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Krgyz Republic, Republic of Moldova, San Marino, Slovenia|
|1960||Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Togo, Zaire|
|1993||Andorra, Czech Republic, Eritrea, Monaco, Slovak Republic, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia|
|1961||Mauritania, Mongolia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania|
|1962||Algeria, Burundi, Jamaica, Rwanda, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda||1994||Palau|
|1999||Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga|
|1963||Kenya, Kuwait||2000||Tuvalu, Serbia and Montenegro|
|1964||Malawi, Malta, Zambia||2002||Switzerland, Timor-Leste|
|1965||Gambia, Maldives, Singapore|
the members that the applying nation as represented by its government is "willing and able" to carry out its UN obligations. As a result, there are several nations in the UN that do not recognize or have diplomatic relations with each other.
Nations have to be represented at UN proceedings by delegations that are specifically authorized by their governments to speak on their behalf. Thus, when a new ambassador appears, or when a new session of a UN organ convenes, it is necessary to examine the credentials of persons claiming to represent member states. The nine-member Credentials Committee, appointed by the General Assembly at the beginning of each session, must be satisfied that the person was duly appointed by his or her government and that that government is the official government of the respective member nation. The matter can become controversial at the UN if, for example, two rival governments both claim to be the only legitimate government of a member state and each demands that its own representative be seated.
A case in point was China. The long unresolved issue of its representation in the UN had been one of the most important and controversial items on the General Assembly's agenda. In 1971, however, the General Assembly decided "to restore all its rights to the People's Republic of China and to recognize the representatives of its government as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations, and to expel forthwith the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek from the place which they unlawfully occupy at the United Nations and in all the organizations related to it."
|MEMBER STATE||DATE OF ADMISSION||MEMBER STATE||DATE OF ADMISSION|
|Afghanistan…19 November 1946||Guinea-Bissau…17 September 1974|
|Albania…14 December 1955||Guyana…20 September 1966|
|Algeria…8 October 1962||Haiti…24 October 1945|
|Andorra…28 July 1993||Honduras…17 December 1945|
|Angola…1 December 1976||Hungary…14 December 1955|
|Antigua and Barbuda…11 November 1981||Iceland…19 November 1946|
|Argentina…24 October 1945||India…30 October 1945|
|Armenia…2 March 1992||Indonesia…28 September 1950|
|Australia…1 November 1945||Iran…24 October 1945|
|Austria…14 December 1955||Iraq…21 December 1945|
|Azerbaijan…2 March 1992||Ireland…14 December 1955|
|Bahamas…18 September 1973||Israel…11 May 1949|
|Bahrain…21 September 1971||Italy…14 December 1955|
|Bangladesh…17 September 1974||Jamaica…18 September 1962|
|Barbados…9 December 1966||Japan…18 December 1956|
|Belarus…24 October 1945||Jordan…14 December 1955|
|Belgium…27 December 1945||Kazakhstan…2 March 1992|
|Belize…25 September 1981||Kenya…16 December 1963|
|Benin…20 September 1960||Kiribati…14 December 1999|
|Bhutan…21 September 1971||Korea, Democratic People's Republic of…17 September 1991|
|Bolivia…14 November 1945||Korea, Republic of…17 September 1991|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina…22 May 1992||Kuwait…14 May 1963|
|Botswana…17 October 1966||Kyrgyzstan…2 March 1992|
|Brazil…24 October 1945||Lao People's Democratic Republic…14 December 1955|
|Brunei Darussalam…21 September 1984||Latvia…17 September 1991|
|Bulgaria…14 December 1955||Lebanon…24 October 1945|
|Burkina Faso…20 September 1960||Lesotho…17 October 1966|
|Burundi…18 September 1962||Liberia…2 November 1945|
|Cambodia…14 December 1955||Libya…14 December 1955|
|Cameroon…20 September 1960||Liechtenstein…18 September 1990|
|Canada…9 November 1945||Lithuania…17 September 1991|
|Cape Verde…16 September 1975||Luxembourg…24 October 1945|
|Central African Republic…20 September 1960||Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of…8 April 1993|
|Chad…20 September 1960||Madagascar…20 September 1960|
|Chile…24 October 1945||Malawi…1 December 1964|
|China…24 October 1945||Malaysia…17 September 1957|
|Colombia…5 November 1945||Maldives…21 September 1965|
|Comoros…12 November 1975||Mali…28 September 1960|
|Congo, Democratic Republic of the…20 September 1960||Malta…1 December 1964|
|Congo, Republic of the…20 September 1960||Marshall Islands…17 September 1991|
|Costa Rica…2 November 1945||Mauritania…27 October 1961|
|Côte d'Ivoire…20 September 1960||Mauritius…24 April 1968|
|Croatia…22 May 1992||Mexico…7 November 1945|
|Cuba…24 October 1945||Micronesia, Federated States of…17 September 1991|
|Cyprus…20 September 1960||Moldova, Republic of…2 March 1992|
|Czech Republic…19 January 1993||Monaco…28 May 1993|
|Denmark…24 October 1945||Mongolia…27 October 1961|
|Djibouti…20 September 1977||Montenegro…28 June 2006|
|Dominica…18 December 1978||Morocco…12 November 1956|
|Dominican Republic…24 October 1945||Mozambique…16 September 1975|
|Ecuador…21 December 1945||Myanmar…19 April 1948|
|Egypt…24 October 1945||Namibia…23 April 1990|
|El Salvador…24 October 1945||Nauru…14 September 1999|
|Equatorial Guinea…12 November 1968||Nepal…14 December 1955|
|Eritrea…28 May 1993||Netherlands…10 December 1945|
|Estonia…17 September 1991||New Zealand…24 October 1945|
|Ethiopia…13 November 1945||Nicaragua…24 October 1945|
|Fiji…13 October 1970||Niger…20 September 1960|
|Finland…14 December 1955||Nigeria…7 October 1960|
|France…24 October 1945||Norway…27 November 1945|
|Gabon…20 September 1960||Oman…7 October 1971|
|Gambia…21 September 1965||Pakistan…30 September 1947|
|Georgia…31 July 1992||Palau…15 December 1994|
|Germany…18 September 1973||Panama…13 November 1945|
|Ghana…8 March 1957||Papua New Guinea…10 October 1975|
|Greece…25 October 1945||Paraguay…24 October 1945|
|Grenada…17 September 1974||Peru…31 October 1945|
|Guatemala…21 November 1945||Philippines…24 October 1945|
|Guinea…12 December 1958||Poland…24 October 1945|
|MEMBER STATE||DATE OF ADMISSION||MEMBER STATE||DATE OF ADMISSION|
|Portugal…14 December 1955||Sweden…19 November 1946|
|Qatar…21 September 1971||Switzerland…10 September 2002|
|Romania…14 December 1955||Syria…24 October 1945|
|Russian Federation…24 October 1945||Tajikistan…2 March 1992|
|Rwanda…18 September 1962||Tanzania…14 December 1961|
|St. Kitts and Nevis…23 September 1983||Thailand…16 December 1946|
|St. Lucia…18 September 1979||Timor-Leste…27 September 2002|
|St. Vincent and the Grenadines…16 September 1980||Togo…20 September 1960|
|Samoa…15 December 1976||Tonga…14 September 1999|
|San Marino…2 March 1992||Trinidad and Tobago…18 September 1962|
|São Tomé and Príncipe…16 September 1975||Tunisia…12 November 1956|
|Saudi Arabia…24 October 1945||Turkey…24 October 1945|
|Senegal…28 September 1960||Turkmenistan…2 March 1992|
|Serbia…1 November 2000||Tuvalu…5 September 2000|
|Seychelles…21 September 1976||Uganda…25 October 1962|
|Sierra Leone…27 September 1961||Ukraine…24 October 1945|
|Singapore…21 September 1965||United Arab Emirates…9 December 1971|
|Slovakia…19 January 1993||United Kingdom…24 October 1945|
|Slovenia…22 May 1992||United States of America…24 October 1945|
|Solomon Islands…19 September 1978||Uruguay…18 December 1945|
|Somalia…20 September 1960||Uzbekistan…2 March 1992|
|South Africa…7 November 1945||Vanuatu…15 September 1981|
|Spain…14 December 1955||Venezuela…15 November 1945|
|Sri Lanka…14 December 1955||Vietnam…20 September 1977|
|Sudan…12 November 1956||Yemen…30 September 1947|
|Suriname…4 December 1975||Zambia…1 December 1964|
|Swaziland…24 September 1968||Zimbabwe…25 August 1980|