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Volume 28 • Number 2

April 2014



Self-Determination without Secession

by Michael Jewkes

Self-determination is that rarest of things in political discourse: a concept that enjoys almost universal assent. Enshrined in the very first article of the United Nations Charter, it owes its broad-based support to its ability to be many things to many people: simultaneously being associated with democracy, postcolonialism, external sovereignty, the commensurate worth and status of nations, and the maintenance of peaceful international relations.
     As with human rights, though—one of the few other normative ideals to enjoy such rarefied status—we find that much of this apparent consensus dissipates once the platitudes have been dispensed with and we are attempting to fill in the outline of self-determination with meaningful implementation. Questions over the moral grounding, content, and relevant holder of the right, and indeed whether it can be considered an enforceable right, have all provoked lengthy discussion, and thus far, little consensus.

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ISSN: 2152-0542