List of states with limited recognition

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In international law a political entity needs to fulfill different criteria to become a state: One of these criteria is that other states must recognize it as a state. If more states recognize it, becoming a de jure sovereign state will be easier.

Many of the territories listed below broke off (separated themselves) from their original parent state, and so they are often referred to as "break-away" states. They may have some military protection and informal diplomatic representation abroad. Another state may help them avoid forced reincorporation into its original state.

UN member states not recognized by at least 1 UN member state[change | change source]

  • China The People's Republic of China is the more widely recognized of the two claimant governments of China, the other being the Republic of China (ROC, also known as Taiwan). The United Nations recognized the ROC as the sole representative of China until 1971 when it decided to give this recognition to the PRC instead (see United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758). The PRC and the ROC do not recognize each other's statehood, and each enforces its own version of the One-China policy meaning that no state can recognize both of them at the same time. The states that recognize the ROC (14 UN members and the Holy See as of 20 September 2019) regard it as the sole legitimate government of China and therefore do not recognize the PRC. Bhutan is the only UN member state that has never explicitly recognized either the PRC or the ROC. The Republic of China considers itself to be the sole legitimate government of China (including Taiwan), and therefore claims exclusive sovereignty over all territory controlled by the PRC.
  • South Korea The Republic of Korea is not recognized by one UN member, North Korea. North Korea considers itself to be the sole legitimate government of Korea and claims all territory controlled by South Korea

UN observer states not recognized by at least one UN member[change | change source]

  • State of Palestine The State of Palestine is a de jure sovereign state in Western Asia officially governed by the Palestine LiberationOrganization (PLO) and claiming the West Bank and Gaza Strip with Jerusalem as the designated capital; in practice, however, only partial administrative control is held over the 167 "islands" in the West Bank, and Gaza is ruled by a rival government (Hamas). Israel regards the area claimed by Palestine as 'disputed' territory (that is, territory not legally belonging to any state). Israel gained control of the Palestinian territories as a result of the Six-Day War in 1967 but has never formally annexed them. The State of Palestine (commonly known as Palestine) was declared in 1988 by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which is recognized by a majority of UN member states and the UN itself as the sole representative of the Palestinian people. Since the end of the first Palestinian Intifada against Israel, the Israeli government has gradually moved its armed forces and settlers out of certain parts of Palestine's claimed territory, while still maintaining varying degrees of control over most of it. The Palestinian National Authority (PNA), which performs limited internal government functions over certain areas of Palestine, was established in 1994. In 2007, the split between the Fatah and Hamas political parties resulted in competing governments claiming to represent the PNA and Palestine, with Fatah exercising authority exclusively over the West Bank and enjoying majority recognition from UN member states, and a separate Hamas leadership exercising authority exclusively over the Gaza area (except for a short period from 2014 to 2016). Palestine is currently officially recognized as a state by 138 UN member states, the Holy See, and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. The remaining UN member states, including Israel, do not recognize the State of Palestine. The United Nations designates the claimed Palestinian territories as 'occupied' by Israel and accorded Palestine non-member observer state status in 2012. Palestine also has membership in the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and UNESCO.

Partially recognized states with de facto control over their territory[change | change source]

  • Abkhazia Abkhazia in Georgia is a self-declared and more or less functioning independent state. Recognized by the Russian Federation, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. It is situated between the Caucasus and the Black Sea, recognized by the Georgian government as a part of northwestern Georgia. During the Soviet period Abkhazia was merged back with Georgia in 1931 as an autonomous republic within Soviet Georgia. The Abkhazian Soviets proclaimed independence from Georgia in 1992, and a short war ensued from 1992 through 1994. A June 1994 ceasefire has largely held, leaving Abkhazia outside the control of Georgia's central government.

United Nations member states that are only partially recognized by the totality of the other UN members are not listed here. (For example, 39 countries do not recognize Israel.)

  • Republic of Artsakh Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan is (since 1991) a self-declared and more or less functioning independent state but is not recognised as independent. It is internationally recognized as being part of Azerbaijan, but has an ethnic-Armenian majority.

Unrecognized states with de facto control over their territory[change | change source]

  • Transnistria Transnistria (Pridnestrovie), also spelled Transdniestria, is the part of Moldova east of the river Dniester and (since 1990) a self-declared and more or less functioning independent state with no international recognition from any sovereign state. It has a majority Slavic population, as opposed to majority Moldovan which Moldova has. Also known as the Dniester Republic, this de facto state has its own police, army, and currency and functions outside of the jurisdiction of Moldova, however, there is no sign so far of it becoming an internationally recognized country.

Partially recognized states largely under military occupation[change | change source]

Internationally administered territory with de facto recognition[change | change source]

Historic unrecognized or partially recognized states with de facto control over their territory[change | change source]

Europe[change | change source]

Asia[change | change source]

Africa[change | change source]

  • Anjouan (1997-2002). Now part of Comoros.
  • Flag of Biafra.svg Biafra controlled territory in eastern Nigeria between the time of its secession in May 1967 until its final military collapse in January 1970. It was recognized by 12 nations.
  • Katanga controlled the state of the same name within the former Belgian Congo after decolonisation, between 1960 and 1964.
  • Flag of Mohéli.svg Mohéli (1997-1998). Now part of Comoros.
  • Rhodesia. British Colony that unilaterally declared independence in 1965. This action was not legally recognized by any other nation, nor the declaration of Rhodesia as a republic in 1970. This entity remained until 1979, when it became Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.
  • Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. Formed in 1979 after negotiations between white minority government and moderate black leaders. Existed 1 June to 12 December 1979, when it became the colony of South Rhodesia again. In 1980 it became the Republic of Zimbabwe.

South African Homelands[change | change source]

Created by the Republic of South Africa from its own territory

Americas[change | change source]

Oceania[change | change source]

Historic unrecognized or partially recognized governments with de facto control over their territory[change | change source]

These regimes had control over the territory of a country for which most other states recognized a different government as being the legitimate government:

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. "World court says Kosovo's independence is legal - Yahoo! News". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2010-07-24.[permanent dead link]