Abstract

National self-determination claims draw their moral force in part from the qualified human right to free association, in part from the sum of cultural rights. In contemporary practice, such claims are generally made by groups imagining themselves as communities of blood. Such communities tend to draw sharp boundaries between themselves and the rest of the world. Their inherent exclusiveness places them in a morally tense relationship with the universalism that informs the universe of human rights. Reconciliation requires acceptance of limits on the nationalist group's right to privilege its members and to protect its cultural narratives. In general, self-determination claims should be processed within the framework of minority rights. It follows that the international community should support non-consensual secession only as a last resort to protect the human rights of an oppressed community.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1085-794X
Print ISSN
0275-0392
Pages
pp. 382-406
Launched on MUSE
2003-05-06
Open Access
No
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