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Self Determination as a Human Right


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Masters thesis on the right of self-determination. The author argues that this right is applicable outside the colonial context. Even though outside the colonial context the internal aspect of this right should be emphasised, the author describes the limited conditions under which a people is entitled to external self-determination in the form of remedial secession.

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Self Determination as a Human Right

  1. 1. Christine Griffioen November 2, 2009 Self-Determination as a Human Right The Emergency Exit of Remedial Secession
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Determination in the Colonial Context </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Determination in the Post-Colonial Context </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Determination and Remedial Secession </li></ul><ul><li>Kosovo </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Questions? </li></ul>November 2, 2009 Introduction
  3. 3. From Political Principle to Human Right and Fundamental Principle of International Law <ul><li>UN Charter and Article 1(1) ICCPR/ICESCR </li></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>General Assembly </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Resolution 1514, 1541, 2625: self-determination became synonymous with decolonisation and independence. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>International Court of Justice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advisory Opinion on Namibia , Western Sahara , Frontier Dispute (Burkina Faso/Republic of Mali), Case concerning East Timor (Portugal v. Australia) . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Who are ‘the people’? </li></ul>November 2, 2009 Self-Determination in the Colonial Context
  4. 4. A Renewed Emphasis on Internal Self-Determination <ul><li>The end of the Cold War; Germany, the Soviet Union, the SFRY, Kosovo </li></ul><ul><li>Internal Self-Determination as a universal and ongoing right for all peoples, not only colonial peoples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The right of all peoples to participate in the expression of the political will within the State ( representative government). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Friendly Relations Declaration, Helsinki Final Act, Charter of Paris for a New Europe, Vienna Conference on Human Rights, Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>International Court of Justice, Human Rights Committee, CERD, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Who are the people? </li></ul>November 2, 2009 Self-Determination in the Post-Colonial Context
  5. 5. The Emergency Exit of Remedial Secession <ul><li>The safeguard clause </li></ul><ul><li>Case Law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Åland Islands , Katangese Peoples’ Congress v Zaire, Reference re Secession of Quebec </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Failed secessionist attempts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Biafra, Chechnya, Abkhazia </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Successful (remedial) secessions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bangladesh, Croatia, Kosovo </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Modern Custom </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ a substantial manifestation of acceptance (consent of belief) by States that a customary rule exists may compensate for a relative lack of practice and vice versa’ (ILA). </li></ul></ul>November 2, 2009 Self-Determination and Remedial Secession
  6. 6. Self-Determination and Remedial Secession <ul><li>There is a ‘qualified’ right of unilateral secession based on the right of self-determination as an emergency exit in case of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>gross and systematic violations of human rights and persistent violation of the right of internal self-determination; </li></ul></ul><ul><li>only when </li></ul><ul><ul><li>negotiations for a peaceful solution of the conflict within the State have been exhausted. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Declaration of Independence February 17, 2008 <ul><li>General Assembly requests an Advisory Opinion from the ICJ on October 8, 2008 (A/RES/63/3) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Is the unilateral declaration of independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo in accordance with international law?’ </li></ul><ul><li>Are the Kosovo Albanians a people? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a right of remedial secession based on the right of self-determination for the Kosovo Albanians? </li></ul><ul><li>Security Council Resolution 1244 </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition (62 States) </li></ul>November 2, 2009 Kosovo
  8. 8. Self-Determination as a Human Right: the Free Choice of People <ul><li>‘ Self-determination has never simply meant independence. It has meant the free choice of people’ (Rosalyn Higgins) </li></ul><ul><li>The Emergency Exit of Remedial Secession </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gross violations of basic human rights including the right of internal self-determination; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All local remedies to solve the conflict are exhausted. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Enhancing the Enforcement of Self-Determination </li></ul>November 2, 2009 Conclusion
  9. 9. QUESTIONS ? November 2, 2009