Countries without Interpol Agreement

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5 Countries Without an Interpol Agreement: Risks and Challenges

Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, has 194 member countries that cooperate to combat transnational crime and terrorism. Interpol uses a variety of tools and services to share intelligence, issue notices, and coordinate operations across borders, with the goal of making the world a safer place. However, not all countries have signed the Interpol agreement or maintain active membership, which can create gaps in global security and justice. In this article, we will explore five countries that do not have an Interpol agreement and examine the implications of this situation.

1. North Korea

Since 1988, North Korea has not been a member of Interpol, citing political reasons. This means that Interpol cannot issue Red Notices or other alerts for North Korean citizens or officials who are suspected of committing crimes abroad, such as money laundering, smuggling, or cyber attacks. Likewise, North Korea does not recognize Interpol`s authority to arrest or extradite its own citizens who are wanted for crimes in other countries. This lack of cooperation makes it harder for law enforcement agencies to track down and prosecute individuals who pose a threat to international security and stability.

2. Bhutan

Bhutan, a small Himalayan kingdom known for its Gross National Happiness index, withdrew from Interpol in 2014, citing financial reasons. Bhutanese officials explained that the country could not afford to pay the annual membership fee and the costs of participating in Interpol activities, such as training and conferences. While Bhutan has a relatively low crime rate and a peaceful society, its decision to leave Interpol could have negative consequences in case of an emergency or a cross-border crime. Bhutan has recently expressed interest in rejoining Interpol, but it is unclear when and under what conditions this could happen.

3. Iran

Iran is not a full member of Interpol, but it has an observer status that allows it to send and receive information on criminal matters. However, this status does not entail the same level of cooperation and access as full membership, and Iran has been criticized for using Interpol notices for political purposes, such as targeting dissidents and journalists. In 2020, Iran was the subject of a controversy when Interpol rejected its request to issue a Red Notice for Donald Trump, who was accused of carrying out a drone strike that killed an Iranian general. Interpol stated that it could not intervene in political or military matters, and urged Iran to seek a diplomatic solution instead.

4. Kiribati

Kiribati, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, does not have an Interpol agreement or membership, which makes it vulnerable to transnational crime. Kiribati has a population of about 120,000 people scattered over 33 coral atolls and islands, which makes it hard for law enforcement agencies to monitor and react to criminal activities. Kiribati has faced challenges related to human trafficking, drug smuggling, and illegal fishing, which have posed threats to its environment and economy. However, Kiribati has limited resources to invest in law enforcement and cooperation with international organizations, which makes its situation even more challenging.

5. Vatican City

Vatican City, a sovereign city-state that is home to the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope, is not a member of Interpol, though it maintains diplomatic relations with many countries. The Vatican has its own security and policing system, which includes the Swiss Guard, the Gendarmerie Corps, and the Tribunal of Vatican City State. However, the Vatican`s law enforcement agencies have limited jurisdiction and capacity to handle complex or transnational crimes, such as financial fraud, money laundering, or terrorism. In recent years, the Vatican has faced scandals and controversies related to corruption, sexual abuse, and money transfers, which have highlighted the need for more transparency and accountability.


While Interpol is not a perfect or flawless organization, it plays a crucial role in promoting international cooperation and combating transnational crime and terrorism. Countries that do not have an Interpol agreement or membership face risks and challenges that can affect their security, stability, and reputation. By working together and sharing information, resources, and best practices, countries can enhance their capacity to prevent and respond to crime, and to uphold the rule of law.

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