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An associated state is the minor partner in a formal, free relationship between a political territory with a degree of statehood and a (usually larger) nation, for which no other specific term, such as protectorate, is adopted. The details of such "free association" are contained in a Compact of Free Association or Associated Statehood Act and are specific to the countries involved.

All free associated states either are independent (with status of subject of international law) or have the potential right to independence.

Informally it can be considered more widely: from a post-colonial form of amical protection, or protectorate, to confederation of unequal members when the lesser partner(s) delegate to the major one (often the former colonial power) some authority normally exclusively retained by a self-governing state, often in such fields as defence and foreign relations, while often enjoying favorable economic terms such as market access.

A federacy, a type of government where at least one of the subunits in an otherwise unitary state enjoys autonomy like a subunit within a federation, is similar to an associated state, with such subunit(s) having considerable independence in internal issues, except foreign affairs and defense. Yet in terms of international law it is a completely different situation because the subunits are not independent international entities and have no potential right to independence.

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Associated States of New Zealand

The Cook Islands (since 1965) and Niue (since 1974) are formally said to be "in free association" with New Zealand. The residents of those islands share citizenship with New Zealand. In contrast to the American Samoa situation, those territories are treated by the UN as "self governing" states, for instance the Cook Islands have the right to declare independence and are parties to several international conventions (such as the UNESCO, World Health Organization... and other regional organizations), and maintain diplomatic missions with other countries.

In early February 2006, Tokelau voted in a referendum to determine whether it wanted to remain a New Zealand territory or become the third state in free association with New Zealand. While a majority of voters chose free association, the vote did not meet the two-thirds threshold needed for approval. A repeat referendum in October 2007 under United Nations supervision yielded similar results, with the proposed free association falling 16 votes short of approval.[1]

Associated States of the United States

The Commonwealth of the Philippines was the first associated state of the United States. From 1935-1946, the foreign affairs and military of the commonwealth were handled by the United States although it was otherwise constitutionally separate and independent in domestic matters.

The Federated States of Micronesia (since 1986), the Marshall Islands (since 1986), and Palau (since 1994), are associated with the United States under what is known as the Compact of Free Association, giving the states international sovereignty and ultimate control over their territory. However, the governments of those areas have agreed to allow the United States to provide defense, funding grants and access to US social services for citizens of these areas.

Puerto Rico (since 1952) and Northern Mariana Islands (since 1986) are non-independent states freely (willingly) associated with the USA. The commonly used name in Spanish of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, literally "Associated Free State of Puerto Rico", which sounds similar to "free association" particularly when loosely used in Spanish, is sometimes erroneously interpreted to mean that Puerto Rico's relationship with United States is based on a Compact of Free Association and at other times erroneously held to mean that Puerto Rico's relationship with United States is based on an Interstate compact. This is a constant source of ambiguity and confusion when trying to define, understand and explain Puerto Rico's political relationship with the United States.

For various reasons Puerto Rico's political status differs from that of the Pacific Islands that entered into a Compacts of Free Association with the United States. As sovereign states, these islands have full right to conduct their own foreign relations, while the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has territorial status subject to United States congressional authority under the Constitution's Territory Clause, “to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory… belonging to the United States.” [2]. Puerto Rico does not have the right to unilaterally declare independence, and at the last referendum (1998) the narrow majority voted for "none of the above", which was a formally undefined alternative used by commonwealth supporters to express their desired for an "enhanced commonwealth" option.[2]

Former Commonwealth associated states

A formal association existed under the Associated Statehood Act 1967 between the United Kingdom and the six West Indies Associated States. These were former British colonies in the Caribbean: Antigua (1967-1981), Dominica (1967-1978), Grenada (1967-1974), Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla (1967-1983), Saint Lucia (1967-1979), and Saint Vincent (1969-1979). Under this arrangement, each state had full control over its constitution. The United Nations never determined whether these associated states had achieved a full measure of self-government within the meaning of the United Nations Charter and General Assembly resolutions. Within a few years after the status of associated state was created, all six of the former associated states requested and were granted full independence, except for Anguilla within the former St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, which separated from the associated state before independence and remains a United Kingdom dependent territory.

Other comparable relationships

In a loose form of association, some of the foreign affairs of these three European nations are handled by the indicated countries. Otherwise, they are constitutionally separate and independent in all other matters:

Three Crown dependencies are in a form of association with the UK. They are independently administrated jurisdictions, although the British Government is solely responsible for defence and international representation. They do not have diplomatic recognition as independent states, but they are not part of the UK, nor do they form part of the European Union. None of the Crown dependencies has representatives in the UK Parliament. These are the Crown dependencies associated to England and later the UK:

The larger British overseas territories, such as Bermuda and Gibraltar, have similar relationships to the UK as the Crown dependencies. While Britain is officially responsible for defence and international representation, these jurisdictions maintain their own militaries and have been granted limited diplomatic powers, in addition to having internal self-government.

The foreign affairs of Bhutan, a Himalayan Buddhist monarchy, were partially handled by the neighbouring republic India (since 1949), which thus in a sense succeeds its former colonizer Britain's role as protector, in a loose form of association, although Bhutan is otherwise constitutionally separate and independent in all other matters. Before its merger with India (1947-1975), a similar relationship existed with Sikkim, which is now a constitutive state.

This kind of relationship also can be found in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, where the continental part is organized like a unitary state but the status of its external territories—Aruba (since 1986) and the Netherlands Antilles (since 1954)—can be considered associated non-independent states. After the split-up of the Netherlands Antilles (postponed), Curaçao and Saint Maarten will be associated states like Aruba. Although this relationship is similar, the Kingdom of the Netherlands is actually a federacy.

According to a law of the Republic of Tatarstan (1990-2000), and the Treaty of Mutual Delegation of Plenipotentiaries between it and the Russian Federation (1994), from 1994 to 2000 Tatarstan was considered a sovereign state under international law, but associated with Russia.

According to statements of officials of Abkhazia and Transnistria (self-proclaimed unrecognized republics seceded from the meanwhile independent, former USSR's formerly constitutive Soviet Republics Georgia and Moldova), both intend after recognition of their independence Abkhazia and Transnistria to become associated states of the Russian Federation. In Transnistria a referendum took place in September 2006, in which secession from the Moldova and "future free association" with Russia was approved by a margin of 97%, even though the results of the referendum were internationally unrecognised.

See also

References

External links

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An associated state is the minor partner in a formal, free relationship between a political territory with a degree of statehood and a (usually larger) nation, for which no other specific term, such as protectorate, is adopted. The details of such free association are contained in a Compact of Free Association or Associated Statehood Act and are specific to the countries involved.

All free associated states either are independent (with status of subject of international law) or have the potential right to independence.

Informally it can be considered more widely: from a post-colonial form of amical protection, or protectorate, to confederation of unequal members when the lesser partner(s) delegate to the major one (often the former colonial power) some authority normally exclusively retained by a self-governing state, often in such fields as defence and foreign relations, while often enjoying favorable economic terms such as market access.

A federacy, a type of government where at least one of the subunits in an otherwise unitary state enjoys autonomy like a subunit within a federation, is similar to an associated state, with such subunit(s) having considerable independence in internal issues, except foreign affairs and defense. Yet in terms of international law it is a completely different situation because the subunits are not independent international entities and have no potential right to independence.

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States in a formal association

Minor partner Associated with Level of association
 Cook Islands  New Zealand,
since 1965
New Zealand may act on behalf of the Cook Islands in foreign affairs and defence issues, but only when requested so by the Cook Islands Government and with its advice and consent[1].
 Marshall Islands  United States,
since 1986
United States provides defense, funding grants and access to U.S. social services for citizens of these areas under the Compact of Free Association[2].
FS Micronesia  United States,
since 1986
United States provides defense, funding grants and access to U.S. social services for citizens of these areas under the Compact of Free Association[3].
 Niue  New Zealand,
since 1974
New Zealand acts on behalf of Niue in foreign affairs and defence issues, but only when requested so by the Niue Government and with its advice and consent[4].
 Palau  United States,
since 1994
United States provides defense, funding grants and access to U.S. social services for citizens of these areas under the Compact of Free Association[5].

The Commonwealth of the Philippines was the first associated state of the United States. From 1935-1946, the foreign affairs and military of the commonwealth were handled by the United States although it was otherwise constitutionally separate and independent in domestic matters.

The Federated States of Micronesia (since 1986), the Marshall Islands (since 1986), and Palau (since 1994), are associated with the United States under what is known as the Compact of Free Association, giving the states international sovereignty and ultimate control over their territory. However, the governments of those areas have agreed to allow the United States to provide defense; the federal government fund grants and access to U.S. social services for citizens of these areas. The United States benefits from its ability to use the islands as strategic military bases.

The Cook Islands and Niue are not dependencies of New Zealand, and are recognized sovereign states,[6] classified as "Non-member State" by the UN.[7][8] However, unlike the arrangement between the United States and its associated states, in the case of Cook Islands and Niue there is a retained residual constitutional link with New Zealand in relation to citizenship,[9] that is reduced to the usage of New Zealand passport and privileges for Cook Islanders and Niueans in New Zealand,[10] but nevertheless, in constitutional terms for relations with New Zealand, the Cook Islands (since 1965) and Niue (since 1974) are formally referred to as "state in free association with New Zealand" instead of "independent and sovereign state",[11] despite having this capacity in all other domains besides citizenship,[12][13][14][15][16][17] including formal reference and recognition as "independent and sovereign state" in relations with third countries and organizations [7][18] and bilateral relations of this type, in all but name, with New Zealand.[19][20]

In early February 2006, Tokelau (a dependent territory of New Zealand) voted in a referendum to determine whether it wanted to remain a New Zealand territory or become the third state in free association with New Zealand. While a majority of voters chose free association, the vote did not meet the two-thirds threshold needed for approval. A repeat referendum in October 2007 under United Nations supervision yielded similar results, with the proposed free association falling 16 votes short of approval.[21]

Other comparable relationships

Other situations exist where one state has power over another political unit. A dependent territory is an example of this, where an area has its own political system and often internal self-government, but does not have overall sovereignty. In a loose form of association, some sovereign states cede some power to other states, often in terms of foreign affairs.

States ceding power to another state

Minor partner Associated with Level of association
 Andorra  Spain and
 France, since 1278
Responsibility for defending Andorra rests with Spain and France[22].
 Liechtenstein  Switzerland,
since 1923
Although the head of state represents Liechtenstein in its international relations, Switzerland has taken responsibility for much of Liechtenstein's diplomatic relations. Liechtenstein has no military defense[23].
 Monaco  France, since 1814 France has agreed to defend the independence and sovereignty of Monaco, while the Monegasque Government has agreed to exercise its sovereign rights in conformity with French interests, which was reafirmed by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919[24].
 Nauru  Australia, since 1968 Although Nauru has no military, Australia informally has taken responsibility for its defense[25].
 San Marino  Italy Responsibility for defending San Marino rests with Italy [26].
 Vatican City  Switzerland, since 1506, and
 Italy, since 1929
According to the Lateran Treaty, anyone who loses Vatican citizenship and possesses no other citizenship automatically becomes an Italian citizen. The military defense of the Vatican City is provided by Italy and it uses the Swiss Guard, founded by Pope Julius II and provided by Switzerland, as the Pope's bodyguards [27].

The foreign affairs of Bhutan, a Himalayan Buddhist monarchy, were partially handled by the neighbouring republic India (from 1949 to 2007[28]), which thus in a sense succeeds its former colonizer Britain's role as protector, in a loose form of association, although Bhutan is otherwise constitutionally separate and independent in all other matters. Before its merger with India (1947–1975), a similar relationship existed with Sikkim,[citation needed] which is now a constitutive state.

According to a law of the Republic of Tatarstan (1990–2000), and the Treaty of Mutual Delegation of Plenipotentiaries between it and the Russian Federation (1994), from 1994 to 2000 Tatarstan was considered a sovereign state under international law, but associated with Russia.

According to statements of officials of Abkhazia and Transnistria (self-proclaimed partially recognized republics seceded from the former USSR's constitutive republics of Georgia and Moldova), both intend after recognition of their independence to become associated states of the Russian Federation. In Transnistria a referendum took place in September 2006, in which secession from Moldova and "future free association" with Russia was approved by a margin of 97%, even though the results of the referendum were internationally unrecognised.

Former Commonwealth associated states

A formal association existed under the Associated Statehood Act 1967 between the United Kingdom and the six West Indies Associated States. These were former British colonies in the Caribbean: Antigua (1967–1981), Dominica (1967–1978), Grenada (1967–1974), Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla (1967–1983), Saint Lucia (1967–1979), and Saint Vincent (1969–1979). Under this arrangement, each state had full control over its constitution. The United Nations never determined whether these associated states had achieved a full measure of self-government within the meaning of the United Nations Charter and General Assembly resolutions. Within a few years after the status of associated state was created, all six of the former associated states requested and were granted full independence, except for Anguilla within the former St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, which separated from the associated state before independence and remains a United Kingdom dependent territory.

See also

References

  1. ^ CIA (2010-07-15). "The Cook Islands at the CIA's page". CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cw.html. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  2. ^ CIA (2010-07-15). "Marshall Islands at the CIA's page". CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/rm.html. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  3. ^ CIA (2010-07-15). "FSM at the CIA's page". CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/fm.html. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  4. ^ CIA (2010-07-15). "Niue at the CIA's page". CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ne.html. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  5. ^ CIA (2010-07-15). "Palau at the CIA's page". CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ps.html. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  6. ^ See Court ruling, page 262: "... the Cook Islands is a fully sovereign independent state ...", Foreign relations of the Cook Islands and Foreign relations of Niue.
  7. ^ a b UN THE WORLD TODAY (PDF) and Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs Supplement No. 8; page 10 Cook Islands since 1992, Niue since 1994.
  8. ^ UN Office of Legal Affairs "...the question of the status, as a State, of the Cook Islands, had been duly decided in the affirmative..."
  9. ^ The Cook Islands’ unique constitutional and international status, page 9 Cook Islands and Niue do not have citizenship on their own and the Cook Islanders and Niueans have New Zealand citizenship.
  10. ^ The Cook Islands and Niue have established their own nationality and immigration regimes. See Cook Islands nationality and Pacific Constitutions Overview, p.7 - Niue Entry, Residence and Departure Act 1985.
  11. ^ Cook Islands: Constitutional Status and International Personality, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, May 2005; page 3
  12. ^ Cook Islands Constitution Fully separated for legislation purposes, including for amending its own constitution, and has the right at any time to move to full independence by unilateral action (art.41 of the Constitution)
  13. ^ Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, separate highest court of appeal (court of last resort) for New Zealand.
  14. ^ Cook Islands Government Control over both external affairs and defence rests entirely with the Cook Islands government. It has full legal and executive competence in respect of its own defence and security (JCD).
  15. ^ Minimal Diplomacy - Niue's careful approach to nationhood by Nicolaus Lange, February 2010; page 4 New Zealand responsibilities over external and defense affairs, in the name of the shared head-of-state, on behalf of the governments of the Cook Islands and Niue, are maintained only at request and with consent of these governments and these responsibilities confer no rights of control for New Zealand over the Cook Islands or Niue
  16. ^ New Zealand assists the Cook Islands and Niue in external affiars, defense and law enforcement, budgetary, administrative and other matters - after mutual agreement and only on request of their governments - as states in free association, and having signed multiple bilateral agreements like the Halavaka Ke He Monuina Arrangement of 2004 between Niue and New Zealand.
  17. ^ Niue Abstracts Part 1 A (General Information); page 11 the responsibilities of New Zealand for external affairs and defence do not confer on the New Zealand Government any rights of control. Full legislative and executive power, whether in these fields or in others, are vested in the legislature and Government of Niue. Where the New Zealand Government exercises its responsibilities in respect of external affairs and defence, it does so in effect on the delegated authority of the Niue Government.
  18. ^ JOINT CENTENARY DECLARATION of the Principles of the Relationship between the Cook Islands and New Zealand, 6 April 2001
  19. ^ Relations between the Cook Islands and New Zealand are based on the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular relations.(JCD).
  20. ^ New Zealand exchanged on reciprocial basis High Commissioners with both the Cook Islands and Niue, thus the three established full fledged High Commissions, diplomatic relations and diplomatic immunities for their staff - see for foreign relations: Cook Islands, New Zealand, Niue and for diplomatic missions: Cook Islands (of, in), New Zealand (of, in), Niue (of, in).
  21. ^ Tokelau votes to remain dependent territory of New Zealand, NZ Herald October 25 2007
  22. ^ CIA (2010-07-15). "Andorra at the CIA's page". CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/an.html. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  23. ^ CIA (2010-07-15). "Liechtenstein at the CIA's page". CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ls.html. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  24. ^ CIA (2010-07-15). "Monaco at the CIA's page". CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/mn.html. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  25. ^ CIA (2010-07-15). "Nauru at the CIA's page". CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/nr.html. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  26. ^ CIA (2010-07-15). "San Marino at the CIA's page". CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sm.html. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  27. ^ CIA (2010-07-15). "Holy See (Vatican City) at the CIA's page". CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/vt.html. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  28. ^ Indo-Bhutan Friendship TreatyPDF (30.6 KiB))

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