National Minorities and Secession Today: Surpassing the Right to Self-Determination
Pp. 229-253 (25)
Joan Ridao Martin
The recent decades have broken various secessionist movements related to
national minorities existing within liberal-democratic multinational states like Belgium,
Canada, United Kingdom and Spain, which, once assimilated by force or free, have
maintained throughout History territory, language and cultural traits. They are nations
like flemish, quebecois, catalans or scots. In this context, International Law neither
authorizes nor prohibits secession, leaving this type of processes in the political sphere.
Only in response to the case of colonized peoples through the right to selfdetermination
recognized by the United Nations. However, the holding of referendums
as Quebec and Scotland have stressed that they have begun to operate other principles
of international law like the democratic principle or the effectiveness principle. The
same International Court of Justice stated that the secession of Kosovo could sustain in
another kind of legitimacy: the existence of a de facto state in the absence of violence
after intense negotiations prior well-conducted and good faith, but failed.
National minorities, Secession, Self-determination, Unilateral
declaration of independence.
Department of Constitution Law, University of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.