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Whose self-determination? - A critical examination on the right to self-determination and its role during the process of decolonisation

Nguyen, Jenny LU (2016) LAGF03 20161
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Den här uppsatsen undersöker självbestämmanderätten ur ett kritiskt perspektiv, baserad på postkolonial teori. Genom att undersöka den historiska bakgrunden till självbestämmanderätten kan dess koppling till internationella mänskliga rättigheter samt till koncept såsom suveränitet och nationalism fastställas. Likväl bör det noteras att självbestämmanderätten är starkt sammanflätad med den europeiska upplysningstiden samt europeisk kolonialism.

Självbestämmanderätten ses idag som en av de grundläggande mänskliga rättigheterna och refereras uttryckligen till i ett antal internationella dokument rörande mänskliga rättigheter. Kriterierna för att faktiskt tillämpa självbestämmanderätten är dock inte tydliga och resulterar ofta i komplexa... (More)
Den här uppsatsen undersöker självbestämmanderätten ur ett kritiskt perspektiv, baserad på postkolonial teori. Genom att undersöka den historiska bakgrunden till självbestämmanderätten kan dess koppling till internationella mänskliga rättigheter samt till koncept såsom suveränitet och nationalism fastställas. Likväl bör det noteras att självbestämmanderätten är starkt sammanflätad med den europeiska upplysningstiden samt europeisk kolonialism.

Självbestämmanderätten ses idag som en av de grundläggande mänskliga rättigheterna och refereras uttryckligen till i ett antal internationella dokument rörande mänskliga rättigheter. Kriterierna för att faktiskt tillämpa självbestämmanderätten är dock inte tydliga och resulterar ofta i komplexa frågor. Eftersom självbestämmanderätten inte heller är en absolut rättighet, kan den begränsas av olika faktorer – inte minst genom referens till territoriell integritet.

Under avkoloniseringen ansågs självbestämmanderätten ofta vara synonymt med secession. På grund av de artificiella gränserna som skapades i kolonialmakternas intressen har dock secession och självbestämmanderätt i postkoloniala Afrika lett till samtida konflikter. Genom att undersöka situationen på Afrikas horn tydliggör uppsatsen att de motstridiga åsikterna kring de koloniala gränsernas okränkbarhet har lett till pågående konflikter. Där exempelvis Somalia tillämpar konceptet av en elastisk stat, gör dess grannar inte det.

Slutligen kan en hävda att självbestämmanderätten bygger på premissen att världen borde organiseras i nationalstater. Inte minst är detta märkbart i antagandet av att självbestämmanderätten innebär att relevanta grupper vill uppnå status som en nationalstat eller formellt erkännande inuti en redan existerande nationalstat. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
This essay seeks to analyse self-determination from a critical perspective based on postcolonial theory. By examining the historical roots of self-determination, its connection to international human rights as well as to concepts such as sovereignty and nationalism can be established. It should also be noticed that self-determination is closely intertwined with the history of European Enlightenment as well as European colonialism.

The right to self-determination is today seen as one of the fundamental human rights and is explicitly referenced to in various international instruments regulating human rights. However, the criterions for actually applying self-determination in practice are not clear and often result in complex questions.... (More)
This essay seeks to analyse self-determination from a critical perspective based on postcolonial theory. By examining the historical roots of self-determination, its connection to international human rights as well as to concepts such as sovereignty and nationalism can be established. It should also be noticed that self-determination is closely intertwined with the history of European Enlightenment as well as European colonialism.

The right to self-determination is today seen as one of the fundamental human rights and is explicitly referenced to in various international instruments regulating human rights. However, the criterions for actually applying self-determination in practice are not clear and often result in complex questions. As self-determination is not seen as an absolute right, its practice may be further limited due to various factors, not least with reference to territorial integrity.

During the process of decolonisation, self-determination was often seen as synonymous with secession. However, due to the artificial borders established in the interests of colonial powers, secession and self-determination in postcolonial Africa have given rise to modern day conflicts. By examining the situation on the Horn of Africa, this essay shows that these contradicting opinions regarding the inviolability of these colonial borders have led to modern day conflicts. For example, where Somalia applies the concept of an elastic state, its neighbouring countries do not.

Lastly, one could claim that the right to self-determination is built on the premise that the world should be ordered in nation-states. Not least is this apparent in the assumption of self-determination meaning that relevant groups want to achieve statehood or formal recognition within an already existing statehood. (Less)
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author
Nguyen, Jenny LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGF03 20161
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
self-determination, human rights, postcolonialism, law, colonisation, decolonisation
language
English
id
8874246
date added to LUP
2016-07-04 09:30:57
date last changed
2016-07-04 09:30:57
@misc{8874246,
  abstract     = {This essay seeks to analyse self-determination from a critical perspective based on postcolonial theory. By examining the historical roots of self-determination, its connection to international human rights as well as to concepts such as sovereignty and nationalism can be established. It should also be noticed that self-determination is closely intertwined with the history of European Enlightenment as well as European colonialism. 

The right to self-determination is today seen as one of the fundamental human rights and is explicitly referenced to in various international instruments regulating human rights. However, the criterions for actually applying self-determination in practice are not clear and often result in complex questions. As self-determination is not seen as an absolute right, its practice may be further limited due to various factors, not least with reference to territorial integrity. 

During the process of decolonisation, self-determination was often seen as synonymous with secession. However, due to the artificial borders established in the interests of colonial powers, secession and self-determination in postcolonial Africa have given rise to modern day conflicts. By examining the situation on the Horn of Africa, this essay shows that these contradicting opinions regarding the inviolability of these colonial borders have led to modern day conflicts. For example, where Somalia applies the concept of an elastic state, its neighbouring countries do not. 

Lastly, one could claim that the right to self-determination is built on the premise that the world should be ordered in nation-states. Not least is this apparent in the assumption of self-determination meaning that relevant groups want to achieve statehood or formal recognition within an already existing statehood.},
  author       = {Nguyen, Jenny},
  keyword      = {self-determination,human rights,postcolonialism,law,colonisation,decolonisation},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Whose self-determination? - A critical examination on the right to self-determination and its role during the process of decolonisation},
  year         = {2016},
}