Presentation on theme: "Michel Seymour UK Lectures Peoples, Self-determination and Secession Peoples defined (+ contiguous diasporas and non contiguous diasporas) Some clarification."— Presentation transcript:
Michel Seymour UK Lectures Peoples, Self-determination and Secession Peoples defined (+ contiguous diasporas and non contiguous diasporas) Some clarification and theoretical implications Internal Self-determination : representation, self- government or special status External self-determination: primary and remedial right only theories
Seven sorts of peoples (based on different national self-representations) Ethnic : same ancestry, language, culture, history (some indigenous peoples) Cultural : multiethnic, same language, culture and history, no administrative unit (Acadian, Rom) Sociopolitical : possibly multiethnic, multicultural and multinational, but same common public identity and same non sovereign administrative unit (Nunavut, Quebec, Scotland, Catalonia) Civic : same mononational sovereign country (Iceland, Portugal, Korea) Multisocietal : same multinational sovereign country (Great Britain, Canada, Spain, Belgium) Multiterritorial : same culture equally spread on many continuous sovereign territories, minorities on each of these territories (Mohawk in Akwasasne and Kurds in Kurdistan) Diasporic : same culture equally spread on discontinuous sovereign territories, minorities on each of these territories (old jewish diaspora before the creation of Israel)
Minority fragments of peoples: (i) Contiguous diasporas Extensions of neighbouring national majorities (often called ‘kin minorities’) From a different country (Russians in the Baltic States, Palestinians in Israel) Within the same country (Catalans in Valencia and Basque in Navarra) From a multiterritorial people (Kurds in Irak)
Minority fragments of peoples (ii) Non contiguous diasporas Immigrant communities (not born in the country of residence) Historical communities still identifying with a foreign country (second generation of Pakistanese living in the UK) Fragment of a diasporic peoples (New York Jews before the creation of Israel)
Legitimacy of inclusive conceptions A civic conception is legitimate only if there are no minority peoples on the territory (Korea, Iceland, Portugal : legitimate; France : illegitimate because of Corsica) and if their other minorities are recognized A sociopolitical conception is legitimate only if minority peoples and other minorities are recognized (Quebec with its eleven indigenous peoples, English Quebeckers, and immigrant communities) A multisocietal conception is legitimate only if minority peoples and other minorities are recognized (Canada, Spain: illegitimate? Great Britain: legitimate) If peoples and other minorities are recognized, their self- exclusion is illegitimate.
Clarifications and Theoretical Implications The taxonomy is perhaps incomplete and not entirely accurate No circular definitions : national consciousness defined without recourse to the concept of nation A national self-representation is not always legitimate : France No essentialism: allows for diversity, plural identities and change All peoples are societal cultures : basic institutional structure realized in a character of culture All peoples have an institutional identity (language, institutions, history) but not necessarily a governmental administrative unit We must distinguish the structure and character of the culture National consciousness: self-representation + the will to survive Multilingual peoples are possible but they are agregates of simple societal cultures
Self-determination Internal self-determination: the right of a people to develop its own economic, social and cultural institutions and the right to determine its political status inside the encompassing state External self-determination: the right to own a state (for those who already have one), or secession, violation of territorial integrity or association with a different state, (for those who have none)
The argument for internal self-determination Political liberalism : considers all agents with an institutional identity All institutional agents that respect others must also be respected Peoples may be such institutional agents Among all the interests of peoples, those interests that relate to the maintenance and development of their institutions have a bearing on their very existence and thus can be the subject of rights Peoples therefore have the right to secure the maintenance and development of their institutions This is the right to internal self-determination.
Different interpretations of internal self-determination Substantial: Political representation of the people in the governmental institutions of the encompassing state Self-government on a certain administrative unit (land, republic, region, province, federated state, reserves) Special constitutional status : asymmetric federalism Procedural: The right to participate in negotiation, conversation and deliberation concerning constitutional changes
External Self-determination The right to keep one’s own sovereign state The right to revolution (if the people coincides with the whole population of a sovereign state governed by a tyrant) The right of stateless peoples to secede and violate the territorial integrity of an existing sovereign state The right to association with a different country for a people that no longer wishes to be governed by a given state because it cannot survive on its own as a sovereign state.
Different theories of external self-determination (A) (general, unilateral) Primary right theories : Choice theories: a majority in a given association of persons on a given territory that wishes to secede is entitled to do so, even if it is not subject to injustice (Harry Beran, Christopher Wellman) Ascriptive theories : peoples have an intrinsic value and for this reason have a primary right to secede, even in the absence of injustice. (based or not on the nationalist principle) (Joseph Raz and Avishai Margalit)
Different theories of external self-determination (B) (General, unilateral) Remedial right only theories (just cause theories) A cultural group has the right to secede only if it has been subjected to past injustice a)Violation of human rights (Kurds in Irak) b)Annexation of territory (Baltic States) c)Systematic violation of intrastate autonomy agreements (Kosovo) (Buchanan 2007)
Different theories of external Self-determination In addition to the previous three just causes, we must add: The violation of the procedural right to Self- determination The violation of internal self-determination (under at least one interpretation of that right) This is my own theory (see my paper in Inquiry 2007)
My Differences with Buchanan Peoples are special (as opposed to other cultural groups) : they are (along with persons) ultimate sources of valid moral claims Peoples are bearers of collective rights They have a primary general right to internal self- determination They have a remedial right to external self-determination if their right to internal self-determination is violated. No presumption in favour of existing states and territorial integrity (sovereign peoples do not have a primary right to own a state)
General Working Hypotheses Peoples are the primary subject of collective rights; There is a primary right to internal self- determination for all seven sorts of peoples; There is no primary right to external self- determination for any people, not even those that already own a state; Contiguous and non contiguous diasporas are fragments of peoples and are subject of a reduced version of the right to internal self-determination, excluding self-government, and no right to secede.
The institutionalisation of the right to secede Different criteria that demonstrate the feasability of a particular set of norms governing secession: Compatibility with progressive elements of international law Acceptable in the near future by the international community Not creating perverse incentives Morally accessible to different communities Able to deal with transition Able to make a valid claim on the territory. (These are all Allen Buchanan’s criteria)
Self-determination in International Law All peoples have the right to internal self- determination; Internal Self-determination is defined as the right to develop its economic, social and cultural institutions and the right to determine its political status within the encompassing state; It is a primary right that only peoples have; No people has a primary right to secede;
Self-determination in International Law Remedial justifications for secession: Colonisation (African colonies); Oppression (China in Taiwan, USSR in Baltic states); Violation of the internal right to self-determination (Tibet within China, Catalonia within Spain concerning the Statute of autonomy or Quebec within Canada with the unilateral patriation of the constitution and the rejection of Meech Lake Agreement)
And the winner is: the just cause (remedial right only) theory International law does not accept the primary right to secede; The international community would never accept a primary right to secede; A primary right to secession would create perverse incentives: a domino effect; It isn an approach not morally accessible to all; It would imply chaos during transition; Endless territorial disputes.
Buchanan’s version Does not capture the progressive elements of international law (peoples as special and owners of a general primary right to internal self- determination); The international community will never accept Buchanan’s suggestion that all cultural groups could under certain conditions be entitled to secede; Perverse incentives: endless number of violations of human rights as an incentives for the secession of many cultural groups, if Buchanan is right.
My version of the just cause theory In perfect accordance with international law; Acceptable for multination states that want to prevent the growing number of seceding groups; already accepted in the 1970 Declaration on Friendly relations among states Stability in multinational states; Political liberalism is morally accessible to all; Transition settled by negotiations; No territorial disputes : uti possidetis juris
Difficulties with Remedial Accounts? Difficulty in establishing a supranational instance responsible to adjudicate the moral justification for secession of a particular group Answer: The UN assisted the self-determining process in Eritrea, East Timor and Western Sahara. So the UN could get more involved. In the meantime, seceding peoples and and the encompassing state could agree on creating an independent body of international jurists and constitutionalists