Who is Party to the Geneva Convention but not a Member of the UN?

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Last week (Aug 12) was the 61st anniversary of the adoption of the 1949 Geneva Conventions on the protection of victims of armed conflict. The Geneva Conventions are the most widely ratified treaties with 194 parties to each of the four conventions. The next most widely ratified treaty is the Convention on the Rights of the Child with 193 States parties and then comes the UN Charter with 192 parties. This summer I taught a course on “International Law and Armed Conflict” as part of the Oxford Masters in International Human Rights Law. I mentioned the statistics above in class and one student asked who are the two States that are parties to the Geneva Convention but not members of the UN. I thought long and hard (not too long though as the class had to go on) but couldn’t come up with an answer. The next day one student came up with one of the States but I still wasn’t able to think of the other State. So I’m now throwing the question out to readers: Which States are parties to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 but not members of the UN?

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Etienne Henry says

August 19, 2010

Only one: The Cook Islands; whereas the Holy See is a party to the Geneva Conventions but not a member of the UN.

Nick Roguski says

August 19, 2010

Hello Dapo,

as far as I can see it's the Holy See and the Cook Islands.


jpaust says

August 19, 2010

And what state (with some 23 million inhabitants -- a population base that is more than the combined population base of many of the members of the U.N. with s amall populaiton base) is not presently allowed to ratify any of the abovementioned treaties?
[ The state of Taiwan, with a majority of its population identifiing themselves as Taiwanese, not Chinese -- re: matters involving self-identification of a people, self-determination, statehood status, etc. ]

Abebe says

August 21, 2010

I agree with Etienne Henry. Only the Cook Islands.

Dapo Akande says

August 25, 2010

Dear all,

Many thanks for the answers. A student had indicated to me that the Holy See was one party to the Geneva Conventions which was not a member of the UN. I wasn't able to figure out the other State. Abebe and Etiene's comment seems to indicate a belief that the Holy See is not a State. We had a discussion earlier on this blog on the statehood of the Vatican. You can find that discussion at http://www.ejiltalk.org/can-the-pope-be-arrested-in-connection-with-the-sexual-abuse-scandal/