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Sharan Self Determination

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  • 1. Self Determination One of the most popular concept of Political science in our times.
  • 2. History
    • Mesopotamian and the Greek City States
    • Idea has been traced to the French Revolution and the American Revolution (John Locke and Thomas Jefferson)
    • Popular throughout Europe in the Twentieth century & reflected in the writings of Wilson and Lenin
    • Granted independence to Canada, New Zealand and Ireland
    • It inspired dependant people and evoked hope
  • 3. Post first world war scenario
    • Was applied in a limited way only to Europe,
    • Did not apply to colonial situations,
    • Paris peace conference also identified ‘national minorities' that were not granted their own statehood,
    • Guarantees were accorded to them to maintain their distinct identities.
  • 4. The UN regime
    • Article1, part 2 (UN Charter) states that purpose of the UN Charter is: “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace”
    • The Universal Declaration of Human rights, “the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of the government”
    • ICCPR, ICESCR, “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”
    • Doctrine of uti possidetis juris , meaning that old administrative boundaries would become international boundaries upon independence, even if they had little relevance to linguistic, ethnic, and cultural boundaries was generally accepted to avoid unending claims cutting across international boundaries.
    • After 1990s there has been a fresh challenge to the concept of territoriality.
  • 5.
    • United Nations Millennium Declaration failed to deal with these new demands, mentioning only “the right to self-determination of peoples which remain under colonial domination and foreign occupation”
    • Fresh angles were added to it after 911
  • 6. Defining ‘People’
    • non-self-governing peoples (colonized and/or indigeneous) and foreign military occupation “a people”
    • where people lack representation by a state’s government, the unrepresented become a separate people?
    • Sir Ivor Jennings’ remark: “On the surface it seemed reasonable: let the people decide… the people cannot decide until somebody decides who are the people”.
  • 7. Demands of self determination
    • Independence from colonial rule
    • Irredentism
    • Secession
    • Autonomy
    • Cultural rights
    • Economic self determination
    • Indigenous communities
  • 8. Respect for diversities
    • Claims of democracy: recognition of minority rights
    • Federalism: devolution, decentralization
    • Guarantees and protection of rights: affirmative actions
    • Land rights
    • Governance issues
    • Electoral devices
  • 9. Territorial Integrity
    • The Realists: State boundaries are sacrosanct.
    • The Liberal theorists: greater recognition of greater self-determination of peoples.
    • a “Remedial Rights Only Theory”
    • The ICJ, in Western Sahara case (1975), held that this is a right that belongs to the people and not only to governments.
    • The insistance on making borders irrelevant.
  • 10. The case of Kashmir
    • No discussion on self determination can be complete without mentioning the Kashmir issue. For a long period it was looked upon by the Western powers as a disputed area. However of late, positions have undergone a change. Though Pakistan continues to raise the issue there is a near consensus that the issue will have to be resolved with mutual consent.
  • 11. Strident claims
    • Indian subcontinent represents nearly all types of claims concerning self determination principle: religious, linguistic ethnic, regional and even irredentist.
    • “ India’s Nationalist Myth” initially challenged by the ‘partition’
    • Secular India versus Islamic Pakistan.
    • Birth of Bangladesh.
    • Sikkim
  • 12. Minimal Consensus
    • Respect for Human Rights
    • Representation in Government: Institutions are only worth as much as a population makes of them
    • Legitimacy and participation
    • Consultation, deliberation and cooperation
    • Justice, integrity, enterprise, and courage
    • Self restrain and participation