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Self-determination and sovereignty-based conflicts are widespread throughout the globe, and are particularly durable and deadly. These conflicts may be resolved through military victory, through some form of enhanced internal self-determination, or through a path to external self-determination. This chapter explores the puzzle of whether and how to provide for external self-determination as a means for ensuring a durable peace. This chapter reviews the peace processes related to conflicts in Bosnia, Indonesia/East Timor, Israel/Palestine, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Papua New Guinea/Bougainville, Serbia/Montenegro, Sudan/South Sudan, and Western Sahara in order to understand how the parties seek to most effectively share sovereignty in the interim; build sustainable institutions; determine final status; phase in the assumption of sovereignty; condition the assumption of this newfound sovereignty; and, if necessary, to constrain the exercise of sovereignty of the new state.
This chapter develops a history of internal self-determination. It shows that internal self-determination, as an idea, has a long history; and that the internal dimension of self-determination has always been an essential part of the broader concept of self-determination. The chapter also argues that the construction of the internal–external dichotomy took place in the 1940s due to the intervention of the Netherlands, in the context of Indonesia's decolonization. The principle started to become popular during the Cold War. The Cold War's end resulted in a renewed interest in self-determination, with international lawyers starting to write about it. This history is critically narrated in this chapter.
This chapter examines how internal self-determination applies to minority groups (i.e. ethnic minority groups and indigenous peoples). It argues that minority groups can be considered as having a right to internal self-determination. However, internal self-determination is a concept that has mixed potential for minorities. It is a principle which does not guarantee a right to autonomy, and its realization always has to be within a state. Internal self-determination, therefore, is a concept which, wittingly or unwittingly, respects the underlying framework of the state. This can limit the options of minority groups' freedom and autonomy too. As for indigenous peoples, the 2007 UNDRIP recognizes a clear right to internal self-determination. However, indigenous peoples continue to face challenges in getting the right applied to them around the world. And the UNDRIP may not be a hopeful precedent for ethnic minorities.
This chapter examines the practice of internal self-determination in the context of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It examines the Tamil minority struggle for self-determination, and how the demands for both federalism and separatism have been made through the broader language of self-determination. The chapter shows how different minority groups make demands which amount to internal self-determination, how the government responds to such demands, and also how the language of internal self-determination has been viewed skeptically by the Tamil minority. The chapter shows the potential and problems internal self-determination as a concept holds in the context of a protracted ethnic conflict.
This chapter examines how internal self-determination is understood and applied by courts of law. The ICJ's jurisprudence is silent on internal self-determination, even though Separate Opinions of judges contain helpful discussions about the principle and its relevance in a post-colonial world. After the discussion about the jurisprudence of the ICJ, the chapter focuses on two specific cases decided in domestic courts. These are two cases decided by the Supreme Courts of Canada and Sri Lanka, respectively. In doing so, the chapter shows how domestic courts approach issues of internal self-determination. The chapter argues that domestic courts generally tend to acknowledge the relevance of internal self-determination and its application to peoples within states. The courts are however cautious in discussing aspects relating to internal self-determination.
The final chapter of the book discusses the nature of internal self-determination, i.e. the duality of internal self-determination, its causes and implications. The chapter also discusses four key challenges that confront internal self-determination and how those challenges could be faced – even though success is never guaranteed. The chapter ends by arguing that an important task before us is to critically appreciate the principle of internal self-determination – realizing and taking note of its many facets, potentialities, and problems – in a complex and changing world.
This chapter examines how internal self-determination applies to populations of states. It argues that populations have a right to internal self-determination amounting to democratic governance. But this is not all. What democratic governance means is a contestable topic, and the very concept of democracy encapsulates many things. Also, states can promote internal self-determination as a continuing right which legitimizes pro-democratic intervention, if necessary. In short, to understand internal self-determination as a right of a population is an important task, but such an understanding carries implications which need to be noted.
This chapter discusses Western and Third World approaches to internal self-determination. Traditionally, international lawyers argued that it is the West that supports internal self-determination, while the Third World supports external self-determination. This chapter argues that that claim is not valid anymore. There are many similarities in how states and institutions of the West and the Third World appreciate and understand internal self-determination. The chapter develops, however, a Third World critique of internal self-determination that questions the content of the principle as well as the purposes for which internal self-determination is promoted by the West. Concerns arising from this critique apply not only to Third World states but also to small and weak states, both in the West and the Third World generally.
This introductory chapter introduces the reader to the topic of internal self-determination and why a study on it is required. The chapter also explains the critical approach adopted by the author and the chapter outline.
This chapter examines the case of Hong Kong from the perspective of internal self-determination. It provides two distinct images of Hong Kong: as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China which enjoys a high degree of autonomy (and therefore, internal self-determination); and as an entity which is struggling to achieve universal suffrage (i.e. denial of internal self-determination). The chapter argues that in the struggle for universal suffrage, the principle and language of internal self-determination can play a mixed role. It can help Hong Kong people to articulate their demands for democracy; but it can also heighten tensions with China. Whatever the case may be, engaging with the concept of internal self-determination will be unavoidable.
Internal self-determination is an under-explored topic in international law. It is popularly understood to be a principle of relatively recent origin, promoting democratic freedoms to populations and autonomy for minority groups within states. It has also been viewed as a principle receiving the support of Western states, in particular. In this first book-length critical study of the topic, the reader is invited to rethink the history, theory and practice of internal self-determination in a complex world. Kalana Senaratne shows that it is a principle of great, but varied, potential. Internal self-determination promises democratic freedoms and autonomy to peoples; but it also represents an idea which is not historically new, and is ultimately a principle which can be promoted for different and conflicting purposes. Written in a clear and accessible style, this book will be of interest to international lawyers, state-officials, minority groups, and students of law and politics.
This chapter works out what seems to be a paradox: secession, a process of splitting and division of Member States can lead to strengthening solidarity. The research question is whether a claim of secession contravenes per se the founding European value of solidarity enshrined in Article 2 (TEU). After a brief introduction, the chapter analyses the concept of secession, its meanings, effects and moral implications of a process of withdrawing from a EU Member State. It follows by analysing the concept of solidarity and its EU legal-politico perspectives. It finally concludes by presenting an alternative vision to the dominant presumption that considers that self-determination from a democratic state implies necessarily an egoist economic and political reason.
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