Diplomacy is a delicate business that is duly defined as the ‘art of dealing with people in a tactful way’, and comes in handy on occasions where different countries’ interests collide.
African nations play host to several diplomats, who weigh in on the affairs of their hosts’ governments, and in the process take the risk of unsettling the relations between any two countries.
Diplomats are often granted certain privileges and immunities to ensure they may effectively carry out their duties, and also allow for maintenance of government relations, including during periods of difficulties and armed conflict.
While diplomats may not be prosecuted by the host countries, they can be ordered to leave, often within a short period of time. Article nine of the Vienna convention says the host country can declare any member of foreign diplomatic staff as “persona non grata” and require them to be removed.
This can be done by a state “at any time and without having to explain its decision”, it adds. In this article, we look at actions by diplomats, international civil servants that have provoked their host countries to take the drastic action of expelling them.