Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 is an international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries. It specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission that enables diplomats to perform their function without fear of coercion or harassment by the host country. It forms the legal basis for diplomatic immunity.
There is also a separate meeting on Consular Relations signed in 1963. These treaties were developed under the auspices of the United Nations. They apply not only to diplomats but to personnel from the military departments, both military and civilian, who are in the country under the authority of the Chief of Mission. It lays out the rules and regulations for diplomatic relations between countries as well as the various privileges that diplomats and diplomatic missions enjoy. One of these privileges is legal immunity for diplomats so that they don’t have to face prosecution as per their host country’s laws.
|Signed||18 April 1961|
|Members||192 members ratified|
|Languages||Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish|
Some important articles related to Vienna Convention
|Article 9||The host nation at any time and for any reason can declare a particular member of the diplomatic staff to be “persona non grata”. The sending state should recall this person within a fix period of time, or otherwise this person may lose their diplomatic immunity.|
|Article 22||The premises of a diplomatic mission such as an embassy are inviolate and should not be entered by the host country except by permission of the head of the mission. Moreover, the host country should safeguard the mission from intrusion. The host country should never search the premises, nor grasp its documents or property. Article 30 extends this provision to the private residence of the diplomats.|
|Article 24||establishes that the archives and documents of a diplomatic mission are inviolable. The receiving country shall not seize or open such documents.|
|Article 27||The host country must allow and shield free communication between the diplomats of the mission and their home country. A diplomatic bag must never be opened even on suspicion of abuse. A diplomatic courier must never be arrested or detained.|
|Article 29||Diplomats must not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. They are immune from civil or criminal prosecution, though the sending country may waive this right under Article 32.|
|Article 34||speaks about tax exemption of diplomatic agents while Article 36 deefines that diplomatic agents are exempted from custom duties.|
|Article 37||The family members of a diplomat that are living in the host country enjoy most of the same protections as the diplomats themselves.|
Vienna convention in news
Pakistan had blamed India for violating the international convention for the protection of diplomats after New Delhi briefly detained a staffer of the Pakistan High Commission.