Contextualizing the Right of Secession

Neera Chandhoke

in Contested Secessions

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780198077978
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080977 | DOI:
Contextualizing the Right of Secession

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The argument holds that secession is a contingent right, which can be invoked only when certain circumstances prevail, such as institutionalized violations of fundamental rights and/or violations of contractual obligations. Whereas secession is clearly a right that supervenes upon groups in undemocratic states if they have been subjected to irrevocable and institutionalised injustice, the right is a weak one in formal democracies, even if these democracies are imperfectly just and inadequately democratic. A weak right is one that can be overridden by moral considerations that have a bearing upon the right. The first set of such considerations relates to the immediate fall out of secession: (a) minority rights, (b) third-party interventions, and (c) the violent nature of the struggle. The second set of moral considerations have to do with the ultimate objective of normative political theory: what kind of a society provides the best context for human beings to live out their lives.

Keywords: Kashmir case; minority rights; violence; third parties; weak right; imperfect democracies; imperfectly just states

Chapter.  16284 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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