Prepared by: Hamad Kaddoura, PhD Researcher, Faculty of Law and Political Science – Tunis Al-Manar

  • Arab Democratic Center

The right of peoples to self-determination has become today one of the established principles in international law, and a peremptory legal rule of general international law, according to its stipulation in the Charter of the United Nations of 1945, and the subsequent international decisions and treaties according to international jurisprudence, all confirming its affirmation as a principle of principles General international law, rather as a right enjoyed by all peoples, but it is the most controversial principle in all its stages of development. Because the principle of self-determination is the center of a struggle between two wills on which the human community has been built since its inception, namely the will to dominate and dominate, and the will to liberation and independence, and this struggle does not end, just as the debate over the principle of self-determination does not end. Therefore, opinions diverged on defining his concept about its content, about its legal nature, about its persons, and about the separation between it and terrorism.

No principle of general international law has been exposed to this momentum of controversy in the new international order. This theoretical debate had an impact on the general international trend in international relations, and on the level of practice it created a reality characterized by fragmentation and division within a single state under several names: the right of ethnic self-determination, or the right to secession or secession (séparatisme, sécessionnisme ou sécession).

The beginning of the twenty-first century marks the beginning of the formation of a supranational world and the era of economic blocs, and in the era of globalization, and making the world a global village in which the territorial boundaries disappear and the territorial sovereignty of the Westphalian state recedes in the interest of a hypothetical global sovereignty that does not recognize regional borders nor the protectionist policy of national products. On the other hand, the contradiction produced by the growth of separatist movements on an ethnic or linguistic basis whose aim is to divide and disintegrate states, at a time when the global trend is moving towards creating major political and economic blocs between national states that are able to confront the challenges of globalization and terrorism that combine many nationalities, ethnicities, and languages Politically and economically integrated, a solid national unity problem.

It became necessary that the international community pay attention to the phenomenon of divisions that have become a threat to the global system as a whole, and to find appropriate solutions to reduce them, and the specter of the disintegration of the national state says Pascal Boniface ” the Pascal BonifaceAlexis Dieth wonders, what is the work done to keep ethnic disintegration away from the countries of Africa? Should this phenomenon be confronted with a policy of firmness and pressure against separatist movements and their holding and security monitoring, or the use of military force to ensure the unity of the state from which they want to separate? With the separatists and the conclusion of an agreement with them to share power to abandon ethnic, ideological and cultural pluralism? Or should those ethnic separatists be allowed to continue their course far from the center, and borders inherited from colonialism be redrawn again until the creation of ethnically, linguistically and culturally homogeneous states? Or do we preserve the unity of the state within its inherited borders from the colonial era by uniting all ethnicities institutionally and organically in a people-nation, in order to banish the specter of separatism and division? In 1955, it was in an armed struggle with the movements Separatism, but in the end, everyone sat down to negotiate, and everyone realized that there were no solutions to the outstanding issues except through dialogue. Eritrea’s struggle with Ethiopia for secession did not come with Venice, but rather the dialogue that led to the referendum and independence of Eritrea in 1993.[1] . Also, power-sharing did not end the divided ethnic tendency, which is historically rooted in some minorities. Globalization, the major regional and international blocs, and the review of colonial borders have dangerous repercussions on Africa and the entire international community. The spread of chaos, wars, and uncontrolled migration opens the door wide for external interventions. We have vivid examples of external intervention in Libya and in the Horn of Africa. These powers are looking for underground wealth and strategic sites of influence.

Perhaps the most appropriate solution to eradicating ethnic separatist conflicts in Africa and other third world countries, most of which suffer from the same problems and issues, is to establish a democratic ethnic federal system, and the Ethiopian experience since the 1990s in establishing an ethnic federation gave it stability and development, and transferred it from a famine state to an industrial state and conquest The space.

One of the causes of ethnic conflicts in the third world countries, especially the countries that inherited their territorial borders from the colonial era, was drawing administrative borders between colonies that did not care about the demographic diversity of the indigenous population, so the territorial borders of the new countries included dozens of ethnicities, for example, Ethiopia today includes more than seventy-three ethnicities. Also, the concepts related to the emergence of the modern national state transmitted from the West, have not yet matured among the peoples and governments of the third world countries, as they have not ended their ties of kinship, ethnicity, dialects, and tribes, which are human groupings prior to the emergence of the nation state. In the period of the Cold War, there were separatist and divisive struggles, conflicts predominantly ideological, the secession of socialist South Yemen from the liberal north, the Korean war, a liberal south and a communist north.

Today, after the disintegration of the socialist system, and the phantom victory of the liberal West, which Western thinkers such as “Francis Fukuyama” [2] considered in his book The End of History and The Last Man that the end of the Cold War is the end of history, the end of ideological conflict and the final victory of the liberal system.

Western thinkers began to promote the so-called dialogue of civilizations. “Samuel Huntington” shocked them with his book “The Clash of Civilizations” [3], whose view of the lived international reality proved correct. All international and civil conflicts today have an ethnic, linguistic or cultural starting point. Conflicts in the Middle East today are either sectarian: Sunni / Shiite or religious: Muslim / Christian / Jewish, or ethnic and national: Arab / Kurdish / Druze … And in the face of this fragmentation of the demographic component of these countries and other countries that suffer from the ethnic diversity of the population, it became necessary Those people must re-establish the national affiliation of these peoples and instill and reinforce the spirit of citizenship in them, bypassing the ethnic tension, and all forms of previous affiliations of the nation-state Eat –nation, which throughout history were a cause of civil wars, such as the civil war in Lebanon during the seventies of the century Past [4]And a factor of economic and social backwardness, Sudan has water, fertile lands and vast pastures, which makes the entire Arab world achieve food security for its people, but ethnic conflicts made the Sudanese government await foreign aid to curb the famine that kills the Sudanese people, and left Sudan one of the most backward countries in the world. Most African countries are not much different from Sudan.

On the other hand, we look at the African countries that ended the ethnic conflict among their population components, such as the state of Rwanda, which wisely ended the ethnic conflict that killed it during the nineties of the last century, where its million victims neared the dead, wounded and homeless. On the authority in it to sharing power and accepting the dissenting opinion, and they made the national interest the supreme over individual and ethnic interests. Today, Rwanda is an example of prosperity and prosperity among the peoples of the African continent. The Ethiopian state, which learned from the secession of Eritrea from it in 1993, and broke with ethnic conflicts by establishing an ethnic federal system, jumped from a backward and famine state to a state of progress and industry.

Helmy El Shaarawy, The Eritrean Revolution and the Right to Fate, International Politics Journal, Issue 50, Egypt, 1977, p. 75.

Dr.. Abdul Majeed Al-Abdali, previous source, p. 49. [1]

  [2] Francis Fukuyama, the end of history and the seal of human beings , translation: Ahmed Hussein Ohamin, 1st Floor, Cairo: Al – Ahram Center for Translation and Publishing 0.1993.

   [3] Samuel, Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Reconstruction of the World Order . Translation: Dr. Malik Obaid Abu Shaywa, Muhammad Mahmoud Khalaf, The Libyan Jamahiriya: The Jamahiriya House for Publishing, Distribution and Advertising, 1999, p. 14.

  [4] Burhan Ghalioun, The Sectarian Question and the Problem of Minorities, Dar Tali`a for Publishing and Printing, Beirut, 1979, p. 30.