Unwelcome Person – Persona Non Grata

Prepared by: Alican ÇALIŞKAN
Translated by: Elif Naz KARAKURT
Edited by: Ali GÖÇMEN

Persona Non Grata is a phrase originated from Latin, literally meaning unwelcome person”. Its plural form is “Personae Non Grata”. The term is regulated in the Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations dated 1961.

       “Article 9

  1. The receiving State may at any time and without having to explain its decision, notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable. In any such case, the sending State shall, as appropriate, either recall the person concerned or terminate his functions with the mission. A person may be declared non grata or not acceptable before arriving in the territory of the receiving State.
  2. If the sending State refuses or fails within a reasonable period to carry out its obligations under paragraph 1 of this Article, the receiving State may refuse to recognize the person concerned as a member of the mission.”
  • The receiving state does not have to disclose any grounds for the Persona Non Grata declaration. Commonly, this notification is made on the diplomatic officials who act contrary to  the interests of the receiving state or for the diplomatic  officials who are not subject to judicial sanctions due to diplomatic rules after the offense committed .
  • Diplomatic official may be declared ‘Persona Non Grata’ because of acts and actions contrary to the obligations and requirements of the receiving state, before being sent.
  • Persona Non Grata declaration does not remove the diplomatic immunity of the diplomatic official. Commonly, the state recalls the official who has been declared Persona Non Grata; but this is not an obligation arising from sanction but a result of practice.

The Main Reasons Persona Non Grata is Based On

  • The acts and manners of the diplomatic official that are contrary to the interests of the receiving state
  • Certain crimes committed by the diplomatic official within the borders of  the receiving state
  • Retaliation (If the diplomatic official of a state is declared Persona Non Grata in another country, in return to this declaration, the diplomatic official belonging to that state is also declared Persona Non Grata )

The aspect of Persona Non Grata within legal and diplomatic framework is defined in Vienna Convention. However this sanction is also used upon non diplomatic people, in order to create social and territorial pressure nowadays.


  • US politician Donald Trump has been declared Persona Non Grata by Mexico and Panama due to the controversial and harsh statements he made in the countries he visited.
  • After one of Turkey’s diplomatic officials had been declared Persona Non Grata in Bulgaria due to his intense interest in religious affairs, Turkish state declared Persona Non Grata one of the diplomatic officials of Bulgarian state to retaliate .
  • In 2012, Israel declared German author Günter Grass Persona Non Grata, because of his poems blaming and criticizing Israel.