Module 3 – Neutrality Types


“…models of neutrality vary in practice…The following is intended only as a general descriptive definition on terms…:”

“Permanent Neutrality:

Perpetual by:

(a) legal act – legal status of military non-alliance in peacetime and non-participation in war, except for the purpose of legitimate defense, codified in international law and guaranteed or approved by a treaty arrangement involving the neutral state and external powers. (e.g. Switzerland)

(b) tradition – unilaterally proclaimed policy of military non-alliance in peacetime aiming to remain neutral in case of war, recognized de facto by the international community. (e.g. Sweden)


Term used to emphasize the internal political and legal aspect in establishing the permanent neutrality of a particular country or regionan, including great power dissociation and disengagement (e.g. Austria, Belgium)

Occasional ad hoc Neutrality:

Legal institution inscribed in internal law based on a declaration of intent and commitment to non-partisanship and non-participation in a concrete instance of war.


General term denoting the resolve to abstain from the participation in military alliances (sometimes used interchangeably with non-alignment; the term was especially in popular use in the 1950s to mark militant Third World resistance to great power dominance and Cold War polarization (positive neutrality); its declared aims were the mainenance of peace, the preservation of autonomy and independence, and the speeding of of the process of decolonization.


Contemporary movement of developng small and medium-sized countries with a membership of a majority of the UN states determined not to join military alliances and to keep out of the East-West confrontation; its aims to secure peace, to bolster political and economic independence, to oppose neo-colonialism and to democratize international relations; a cardinal goal is the establishment of a just New Economic Order.  There are various nuances in consistency and resolution as far as the implementation of these aims is concerned.”


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