Global perspective Human stories

Resolution expands participation of Holy See in UN

Resolution expands participation of Holy See in UN

The United Nations General Assembly today unanimously adopted a resolution expanding the participation of the Holy See in its work.

The Holy See became a Permanent Observer State at the United Nations in April 1964, and has since taken active part in all Assembly sessions. Today's resolution institutionalizes new rights - including the "right of reply," which allows delegates to respond to speeches made during debates - permanently.

In adopting the resolution the Assembly said it is, "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."

An annex to the resolution sets out the Holy See's new privileges, including the right to participate in the Assembly's general debate, which annually attracts national leaders from across the globe.

"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," the resolution says.

The Holy See, which in the past disseminated its views through press releases, will now have the right to "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."

Other technical changes include the right to raise a "point of order," a procedural technique used during committee meetings, and the right to co-sponsor draft resolutions and decisions that make reference to the Holy See.

With the adoption of the resolution, the Holy See will now be seated in conference rooms after Member States and before the other observers.