A typical way of getting rid of a diplomat you don't like is to PNG (Persona Non-Grata) the person.

But all the discussion I was able to find centers on this being something applicable to current diplomats.

My question is, can a government PNG someone who is not (yet) an accredited diplomat, either because their credentials have yet to be accepted, or because they aren't a diplomat in the first place? (presumably, within the framework of Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which establishes the PNG concept and process formally.

  • 2
    Don't the answers to this question cover this? They say that a diplomat isn't officially a diplomat until accepted by the host country (the one to which the diplomat is being sent). So as I understand it, until acceptance it is just a matter of refusing acceptance; after acceptance, they have to PNG. Or another way of looking at it, is why bother going through the PNG process if you can just refuse acceptance for the same effect.
    – Brythan
    Jan 15 '18 at 3:24
  • @Brythan - (1) "Doesn't make much practical sense to do" != "Can't be done". (2) more importantly, the question applies to anyone - e.g. not only to someone who's imminently about to be asked to be accredited. Can a country declare Joe Shmoe (or a ruler of another country, for contrast) PNG despite neither one being diplomats? (and yes, they can just refuse visas, I suppose. But again, the question is "can" not "should")
    – user4012
    Jan 15 '18 at 3:37
  • Can you fire someone who doesn't work for you? Possible duplicate of Is there any precedent for the UK arresting a diplomat on their own soil?
    – James K
    Jan 15 '18 at 6:21
  • Would they need to? Certainly in the US, someone from another country can be deported if sufficient reason is given. Declaring a person PNG isn't the only way to force them to leave.
    – tj1000
    Jan 15 '18 at 6:51
  • 3
    @tj1000 PNG is a special mechanism that gives the person zero right to legally challenge it. In the US, most legally-present noncitizens can't be deported just because the government feels like it, but diplomats can.
    – cpast
    Jan 15 '18 at 14:43

Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations the expression Persona Non Grata is only used for diplomats, being the expression "not acceptable" reserved for all other members of the mission (emphasis mine):

  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.

That is to say that under this body of legislation "Persona Non Grata" is only for Diplomatic Corps.

Yet the expression has been used and abused in the past by multiple nations. For example Alec Baldwin was considered "Persona Non Grata" by the Philippine government:

On May 20, 2009, American actor Alec Baldwin was declared persona non grata by the Philippine government after an appearance in an episode of the Late Show with David Letterman, where he joked about availing a "Filipino or Russian mail-order bride". Philippine senator and actor Ramon Revilla Jr. said his (Baldwin's) wife would be "unlucky" and that "there will be trouble" if Alec Baldwin were to travel to the country.

Although, as far as I know, there is no legal basis for that expression (PNG) in Philippine law the Philippine Immigration Act can indeed exclude a person unwelcome to the country.

Another example is the the list of people banned from the UK where you'll find some notables such as Edward Snowden.

The Home Office, a United Kingdom government department, has, from August 2005 to 31 March 2009, excluded 101 individuals from the UK for having "engaged in unacceptable behaviour". Of those, 22 were excluded by then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith between 28 October 2008 and 31 March 2009. On 5 May 2009 Smith publicly "named and shamed" 16 of those individuals.1 In addition to the sixteen, other people are or have been banned from the United Kingdom.

So even thought the expression is reserved for diplomacy (although I can't guarantee that it does not exist in any other legislative body throughout the world) the practical effects do exist in virtually any nation under one or another different label.

As an extra my example for the Philippines is not completely arbitrary. Its one of those places where the expression "Persona Non Grata" seems to be used almost gratuitously. Should you have the patience read this article.

  • The phrase "Persona Non Grata" may have a specific meaning in the Vienna Convention but that does not preclude the use of the phrase for other purposes in other contexts. I could declare Jane Doe to be Persona Non Grata in my house and my use of the phrase would not be in breach of any UK or other law. Jan 15 '18 at 15:56
  • @RedGrittyBrick Yes, that's why I started my answer by stating that I was referring to the legal action of "Persona Non Grata" by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (the same for the OP which referenced exactly the same source). I don't think either of us were referring to the latin meaning of the expression (there's a Latin.SE for that).
    – armatita
    Jan 15 '18 at 16:07
  • Yes I meant legal meaning
    – user4012
    Jan 15 '18 at 19:18

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