'The Consciousness of Duty Done'? British Attitudes Towards Self-Determination and the Case of Sudan
Forthcoming, British Yearbook of International Law
49 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2019 Last revised: 23 Feb 2019
Date Written: February 1, 2019
According to the dominant narrative, the right of self-determination became relevant as a matter of law only after the 1960s or even only in the early 1970s. However, by reviving a seemingly forgotten episode in the legal history of self- determination, this article shows that during the UN Security Council’s second year of operation, in 1947, the United Kingdom invoked the right of self-determination of another people, the Sudanese, as their legal entitlement in its effort to counter Egyptian claims on the Sudan. Giving a strong voice to primary sources, this article narrates how British officials in the Sudan managed to promote in London the idea of Sudanese self-determination, even if only to serve, not challenge their own colonial power and behaviour. They were so successful in doing this that the British Government, despite the UK’s strategic and colonial interests, ultimately invoked self-determination as part of its legal argumentation in the Security Council.
Keywords: Self-determination, Sudan, Egypt, United Kingdom, UN Security Council, legal history
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