Self-Determination under International Law: Baluchistan, Al-Ahwaz, Kurdistan, and Azerbaijan Cases

November 22, 2018

 

The right of all peoples to self-determination is recognized as one of the core principles of international law. It is mostly due to the exercise of this right that the UN member states have multiplied from 51 in 1945 when founded to 193 in 2018. This paper addresses two interrelated questions. First, whether or not “the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples” in the UN Charter applies to the Baluch, Arabs, Kurds, and Turks in Iran? The answer is definitely yes. The second question is whether or not these peoples can rely on international law and invoke the principle of self-determination to support their claims for independence? The answer is a qualified yes as follows.

 

Self-Determination


 

The right to Self-Determination is enshrined in the opening chapter of the United Nations Charter as one of the main “purposes and principles’” of the UN. Under Article I, the UN Charter clearly requires all member states to respect “the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”  In addition to its Charter, the UN affirmed the right to self-determination of all peoples under international law in its 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and again through its 1970 Declaration of Friendly Relations adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly. The Declaration of Friendly Relations clearly defines the general parameters of self-determination under international law: “By virtue of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, all peoples have the right freely to determine, without external interference, their political status and to pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and every State has the duty to respect this right in accordance with the provisions of the Charter.”  Read more

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