United Nations Headquarters - Privileges and immunities

The charter provides that in all territory of its member states, the UN shall hold whatever legal capacity, privileges, and immunities are necessary for the fulfillment of its purposes and that representatives of member states and officials of the UN shall have a status allowing them independent exercise of their functions. On 13 February 1946, the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations. As of November 2002, 191 countries, including the US, had acceded to this convention. UN staff on official business can travel on a laissez-passer issued by the UN.

Countries that have acceded to the convention exempt the salaries of UN officials from taxation, except for the US and several other countries, where special reservations apply. These salaries, however, are subject to a "staff assessment," an internal UN taxation. The UN itself is exempt from all direct taxes, customs duties, and export and import restrictions on articles for official use.

Virtually all member states have established permanent missions to the UN in New York. Their personnel enjoy privileges and immunities similar to those of diplomatic missions.

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