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by: James Crawford
Secession is mainly a process in which a State or a group of people in a State seeks to
distance itself from the State and thereby create a new State. It is technically a unilateral
process. Over centuries, number of States haved practiced secession which is usually
confused with devolution of powers or grant of independence. The main difference within
the two is minimal insofar as in secession it is a unlilateral process while in devolution it
is a consensual or bilateral. International law have always favored territorial sovereignty
between States.
It cannot be avoided that government of States in the majority are against secession
because it simply a means having a secession by a lawful means which may end up acting
at its own capacity in a State. It is where we discuss the term self-determination based on
Art. 45 of the United Charter. Because self-determination is a means of attaining
territories of States whose people have not yet attained a full measure of selfgovernment. Independence as we call it is a process that cannot be attained without any
outside or sovereignty acts. Crawford have discussed in his article and established
numerous former colonial territories that followed an act of self determination. including
Denmark, United States, Indonesia, etc.
These colonial territories is distinct from metropolitan territories of the State because
metropolitan can be considered a non-self governing territory. Truly by achieving selfdetermination of a nation , people of the State that acquires it achieves equality of rights
with other people. In some and many ways we can say that secession is equivalent to selfdetermination. Allow me to illustrate and give an example, the MILF or the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front is a Muslic group located in the Southern Philippines allowing the
Jabidah massacre to achieve greater Bangsamoro autonomy in the southern Philippines.
The MNLF took part in terrorist attacks and assassinations to achieve their goals.
The government in Manila sent troops into the southern Philippines to control the
insurgency. In 1976, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi brokered a negotiation between
the Philippine government and MNLF Leader Nur Misuari which led to the signing of the
MNLF-GRPH Tripoli Agreement of 1976 wherein the MNLF accepted the Philippine
government's offer of semi-autonomy of the regions in dispute.
In March 2007, the Philippine government offered to recognize the right of selfdetermination for the Moro people which it had never done in three decades of conflict.
[18] However on July 12, 2007, Islamic militants in Basilan in the southern Philippines
killed 14 marines, beheading 11 of them, while 9 other marines were wounded and about
4 fighters were killed.

The fighting took place as the marines were searching for kidnapped Italian priest,
Giancarlo Bossi, on June 10, 2007. A MILF soldier confirmed that some of its members
had been involved in gun battles, despite the MILF peace treaty with the Philippine
government. Mohagher Iqbal, the chief negotiator for the MILF, denied that it was
responsible for the beheadings and the priest's abduction.[19] On July 19, 2007, despite
no ransom being paid, Giancarlo Bossi, who was kidnapped on June 10 in Zamboanga
Sibugay province, was freed. Philippine authorities described his kidnappers as members
of the Abu Sayyaf. Government authorities blamed a renegade commander of the MILF
for Bossi's kidnapping, but it denied any involvement with the kidnapping.
Mainstream political philosophy largely ignored theories of secession until the
dissolution of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia in the early 1990s
through secession.[citation needed] Theories of secession relate to a fundamental
question of political philosophy: the basis of the state's authority. Secession derived from
Latin word (secession) have often been defined as an act of withdrawing from an
organization, union, or especially a political entity. Threats of secession can also be a
strategy for achieving more limited goals. Some theories of secession emphasize a
general right of secession for any reason ("Choice Theory") while others emphasize that
secession should be considered only to rectify grave injustices ("Just Cause
Theory").Some theories do both.
However in 1869 the United States Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700
(1869) that unilateral secession was not permitted saying that the union between a state
(Texas in the case before the bar) "was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as
the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or
revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States. The arguments
against legal secession are generally based on both a historical concept of the Union and
the language of the Constitution itself. In the Texas v. White decision, Chase began his
legal challenge to secession with a historical discussion of the Union. He suggested that
the Union predated the states and grew from a common kindred spirit during the years
leading to the American War for Independence. In the United States ,all constitutional
methods should be exhausted before the American principle of self-determination is
invoked, but if conventions are called, and they must be at this point, all options should
be on the table. That would be the Dickinsonian solution to the problem. Experience,
he said in 1787, must be our only guide.2,,, State Practice and International Law
in relation to Secession Article by James Crawford