United Nations
General Assembly
Fifty-eighth Session

Agenda item 59

Distr. General
16 July 2004

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly

[without reference to a main committee (A/58/L.64)]


Participation of the Holy See in the work of the United Nations

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 Relations1, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties2, the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees3 and the Protocol thereto4, the Convention on the Rights of the Child5 and the optional Protocols thereto6, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or degrading Treatment or Punishment7, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination8, the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict9, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property10, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons11, the main disarmament treaties and the Geneva Conventions12, 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

1 United Nations, Treaties 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 4425, annex.
6 Resolution 54263, annexes I and II.
7 Resolution 3946, annex.
8 Resolution 2106 A (XX), annex.
9 United Nations, Treaties 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, no. 17513

03 51470

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 and 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 58/1B 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


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. The Holy See shall not have the right to vote or to put forward candidates in the General Assembly.


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