The Legal and Social Complexities Relating to Self-Determination: Internal and External Self-Determination and Obligation Erga Omnes
Keywords:self-determination, human rights, peoples, internal, external, erga omnes
It is generally agreed that peoples have a right to self-determination. The right to self-determination for all peoples was enshrined in the founding Charter of the United Nations. Self-determination has been the subject of extensive debate and controversy. The controversy is embedded in the content of the right as well as who can assert the right as it continues to evolve in the arena of customary and international law. Self-determination has two dimensions, namely internal and external. Internal self-determination is the right of the people of a state to govern themselves without any interference, whereas external self-determination is the right of peoples to control their own political well-being and to be free of any alien domination, including in the formation of their own independent state. According to current interpretation, the right of groups to govern themselves is increasingly inter-woven within the human rights ambit, in particular with the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples. The question is whether self-determination has the characteristics of reaching the status of a peremptory norm from which there is no derogation.
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