Tuesday, 26 September 2017
The right to self-determination
Recently I have been writing in the comments section of The Times and one point that comes up frequently is the "right to self-determination". Well, it comes up frequently all over the place! I found an article in El País in English. As one would expect for a newspaper based in Madrid, it puts the Goverment's side of the argument. But, if you read it, I hope you will find it credible. If the Catalan Parliament wishes to question this logic, then they have recourse to the law, either to the UN or the EU. But they haven't done so. Either they think that they would lose or else they haven't thought about it.
It is interesting that the article analyses the UN Charter because I was attempting to do that online a couple of days ago. Actually is is not difficult to follow, it is in very clear language.
Here is the paragraph from El País....
It is false that, as what the suspended referendum law says in its explanatory statements, Catalonia has “the inalienable and indefeasible right to self-determination” and that this has been recognised by international law. The contrary is true, rather.
The United Nations’ own norms (the foundational charter of 1945, General Assembly Resolutions 1514 and 2625, International Covenant on Civil Rights) recognise the right to self-determination but to do so in an internal way: as a right for citizens to express themselves politically, vote in democratic elections and participate in institutions.
Only in very specific cases can this right become an external form of self-determination, meaning secession. These cases are limited to the particular situation of peoples under “colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation.” (UN Resolution 50/6)
But the resolution goes on to say that, “this shall not be construed as authorizing or encouraging any action that would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States conducting themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples and thus possessed of a Government representing the whole people belonging to the territory without distinction of any kind.”
In other words, democracies.
You can read the whole article here
Yes, of course this blog is one-sided! (but I welcome opinion from all sides). I need to restore the balance and state my case clearly that this process towards secession goes completely against the whole principle of democracy and the rule of law which protects me - to protect me against people who have no respect for the law.
The Spanish Constitution was agreed by Catalunya and two prominent Catalans took part in its assembly. When I hear this illegal process described as "Democracy", it makes me rather upset. Well, it used to upset me but I think I am getting used to all the propaganda. (Incidentally, the word, propaganda in Spanish is a "false friend". Those who learn languages will know what I mean. In Spanish the word simply means "publicity" such as a leaflet, it doesn't imply bending the truth which is the meaning in English.)
By the way, this blog is normally about my life here and my travels (I go to the Philippines for 3 weeks in November to visit my friends there after a week in Bangkok). It is only during this very tense period up to 1st October that I am writing about politics.