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Secession and Self-Determination Conflicts

Chapter

Abstract

In this chapter secession is considered in the context of self-determination conflicts. This chapter begins with a review of the historical evolution of self-determination. The historical review has demonstrated that, despite its entry into the international legal system, the inherent uncertainty about self-determination remains glaring: the holder and the content of the right to self-determination remain controversial, the territorial perspective and the human rights perspective of self-determination are not always clearly distinguished, tension might arise between the principle of self-determination and the principle of territorial sovereignty, and the right to self-determination is open to abuse particularly in the sense of remedial secession. Therefore, it is clear that a wide gap exists between theory and reality in respect of self-determination, and this gap itself contributes to secessionist self-determination conflicts. For the sake of conflict settlement, it is necessary to close the gap between theory and reality by improving the inadequate legal framework, which should entail the following points: reasonably defining the holder of a right to self-determination, distinguishing the territorial perspective and the human rights perspective of self-determination, correctly understanding the interrelation between territorial sovereignty and self-determination, and preventing abuse of the right to self-determination. When secessionists and non-secessionists can conclude an agreement, all these points can be well-managed, so external actors should make positive contributions to the conclusion of such agreements for the sake of the effective settlement of secessionist conflicts.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jing Lu
    • 1
  1. 1.School of LawSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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