Self-Determination, Sovereignty, and the Failure of States: Somaliland and the Case for Justified Secession
Aaron C. Kreuter
affiliation not provided to SSRN
April 23, 2010
Minnesota Journal of International Law, Vol. 19, No. 2, p. 363, 2010
Somaliland is a region within civil-war destroyed Somalia that declared its independence from Somalia over a decade ago. No state has recognized the independence or sovereignty of Somaliland. Furthermore, under the current international legal standards, Somaliland cannot escape the volatility and anarchy of southern Somalia. Internal self-determination is not possible because the Somali state has failed and Somalilanders are unable to exercise their political rights. In addition, international law currently reserves secession for particular circumstances not applicable to Somaliland. Secession is attainable under domestic law through cooperation with the parent state, unilaterally in response to human rights violations, or, arguably, through recognition by other nations. There is a gap in the law of secession, however, as it applies to failed states, such as Somalia. In recognition of the devastating effects that a failed state has on its inhabitants, the law of secession should allow secession when the parent state has been unable to provide security, a functioning political system, and civil services for a reasonable amount of time, and when the secessionists have been able to provide each of these state functions. Such a test improves upon the current laws of secession by permitting those living within a failed state like Somalia to escape the binds caused by the absence of government while preserving state sovereignty by allowing secession in only the most extreme situations.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: Somaliland, self-determination, secessionAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 5, 2011
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