Self-Determination and Secession

Rosalyn Higgins Dbe Qc

in Themes and Theories

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780198262350
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682322 | DOI:
Self-Determination and Secession

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This chapter discusses self-determination and secession. These concepts of international law are so interrelated that one cannot understand the one without also understanding the other. Our understanding of any one of the concepts of self-determination, minorities, and secession also depends upon our understanding the other two. Article 1 (2) of the United Nations (UN) Charter reminds us that one of the underlying purposes of the United Nations is ‘…to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples…’. The incorrectness of popular assumptions about what the UN Charter provides on self-determination is further strikingly illustrated by turning to those parts that deal with dependent territories. Here, it might be assumed, would be found the references to the duty to provide self-determination on the basis of independence. The development of the concept of self-determination was historically bound up with de-colonisation. This chapter also discusses self-determination and colonialism, self-determination in the post-colonial world, minority rights, and the self-determination and secession rights of indigenous peoples.

Keywords: self-determination; secession; minority rights; minorities; indigenous peoples; international law; equal rights; independence; de-colonisation; colonialism

Chapter.  4937 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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