Successful Secession and the Value of International Recognition
(Forthcoming in) Raible, L., Vidmar, J. and McGibbon, S. (Eds.) (2019) Research Handbook on Secession. Edward Elgar. (Accepted for Publication)
University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 063
22 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2019 Last revised: 11 Oct 2019
Date Written: August 14, 2019
There is a strong positive correlation between secession movements that receive international recognition and those that successfully result in independent states. This chapter asks whether the seeming potency of recognition can be justified, or whether there can be nothing said for it, morally speaking. In so doing it critiques and dismisses putative justifications based on the values of democracy, distributive justice, and international stability, before advancing an alternative and more promising possibility: that formal recognition is conducive to the development of ethically valuable politics. This alternative is argued not only to justify the seeming influence that recognition enjoys over attempted secession, but also the liberty to refuse recognition enjoyed by established states under international law, as well as the duty of such states to engage in collective non-recognition under particular circumstances.
Keywords: secession, recognition, statehood, public international law, political philosophy
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