Membership - Suspension and expulsion

The Charter provides that a member against which the Security Council has taken preventive or enforcement action may be suspended from the exercise of the rights and privileges of membership by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. However, only the Security Council, not the General Assembly, has the power to restore these rights. Any member that "has persistently violated the Principles" of the Charter may be expelled from the UN by the same procedure. Up to the end of 2002, no cases of suspension of rights or expulsion had been recommended by the Security Council.

Many states called for the expulsion of South Africa because of its apartheid policies, but no formal proposal to this effect was made. In 1974, the General Assembly called upon the Security Council to review the relationship between the UN and South Africa in the light of the constant violation by South Africa of the principles of the Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Security Council considered a draft resolution submitted by Cameroon, Iraq, Kenya, and Mauritania that would have recommended to the General Assembly the immediate expulsion of South Africa under Article 6 of the Charter. Owing to the negative votes of three permanent members (France, UK, US), the draft resolution was not adopted. After the council had reported back to the General Assembly on its failure to adopt a resolution, the president of the General Assembly, Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria, ruled that the delegation of South Africa should be refused participation in the work of the General Assembly. His ruling was upheld by 91 votes to 22, with 19 abstentions. Although remaining a member of the UN, South Africa was not represented at subsequent sessions of the General Assembly. Following South Africa's successful democratic elections of May 1994, after 24 years of refusing to accept the credentials of the South African delegation, the General Assembly unanimously welcomed South Africa back to full participation in the United Nations on 23 June 1994. It also deleted its agenda item on "the elimination of apartheid and the establishment of a united, democratic and nonracial South Africa."

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