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Catalonia and Kurdistan: how to create a new state?
Material posted: Publication date: 07-08-2017
Residents of two regions of the world - Iraqi Kurdistan and the Spanish of Catalonia will soon decide in a referendum whether to create an independent country.

But to vote is one thing, but to make a reality of effectively operating a new state - another. What do I need?

The world service Bi-bi-si has tried to understand this, based on previous global experience.

Four signs

"There is no true country without his beer and national airlines," - said rock musician Frank Zappa.

Joking, the experts in international law there are four main features of the state: population, territory, government and ability to independently maintain relationships and to negotiate with other States.

The term "population" is controversial, but most scholars define it as the totality of people living permanently on the territory and consider themselves a special people.

"Communication between people, effective communication, a sense of belonging to something, a community of the senses, says Professor of international law London school of Economics James Irving. - A common practical interests."

Another key feature of the state - the presence of a specific territory in which it exercises sovereign control, and established boundaries.

The third criterion, accepted by almost all the stable and efficient government.

And finally, the fourth key element: the ability to enter into contractual relations with other States and to maintain such.

A sovereign state free to set as bi - if, for example, the two countries engage in diplomacy or decide to work together on a problem of mutual interest - and multilateral relations: for example, joins the EU or joined (or not joined) to the Convention on the fight against climate change.

This implies no subordination to any other state or external power.

As a future state to find all these characteristics and become real?

International recognition

The new state can be recognized by other States individually, but the main prize - the adoption of the United Nations.

It gives full protection of international law, recognition of existing borders, membership on an equal footing in the system of world trade relations, access to credit, the IMF and the world Bank, and a host of other benefits.

Is it possible not to join the UN and be the government?

"There's an old adage: if something looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it's a duck, says Professor of international law, University of Kiel Rebecca Richards. In such cases, we are talking about a non-recognized state".

One example is Somaliland, the former British Somalia gained independence in 1960 and four days later Obyedineniye with the former Italian Somalia.

In 1991 the Somali state fell into chaos, virtually ceased to exist, and then the Somaliland unilaterally newly proclaimed sovereignty.

"There is an unusually strong by local standards, the government held several democratic elections, peace and stability, successful economy - in short, there is everything you should expect from the state." says Rebecca Richards.

But Somaliland is not recognized by anyone in the world, that makes it a lot of inconvenience.

"Access to international humanitarian aid and aid for development, especially by the UN, is severely limited because by law they must come to Somaliland through the Central government of Somalia. It is difficult to conduct foreign trade without legal protection. The national currency is not traded outside the country" - lists Rebecca Richards.

Legal conflict

The concept of the nation-state is the right to self-determination.

Oxford dictionary interprets it as follows: "recognition of the right of the people to decide on its national sovereignty and form of government."

This principle was enshrined in the UN Charter, adopted in June 1945. But then actually had in mind only the law of the colonies, the European deriva to independence or the choice of forms of Association with the mother country.

"All acknowledged that the right of Nations to self-determination is great and progressive, says James Irving. But it was not clear what it actually means."

It was believed that if the people previously by the colonized territory wants their own state, he has that right. As a result, after 1945, about a third of the population has changed state status. The number of UN members rose from 51 to 193.

But here was the trap.

"How to marry the underlying idea of the sovereignty of the principle of inviolability of borders and the right of peoples to determine their own future, obviously, implying the possibility of secession?" - asks senior researcher center for Eastern studies of the London Higher school of Economics ' James ker-Lindsay.

Part of international lawyers took the view that after the elimination of colonialism, no changes to the boundaries of States without their consent shouldn't be allowed, and for the peoples living within other States, self-determination is limited to the right to autonomy.

The Kosovo precedent

"When the Kosovo Albanians after the Slovenes, Croats and Bosnians have demanded independence, the first reaction of the world community came down to the fact that Kosovo being an Autonomous province, has no right to secede from Serbia, unlike in republics, on an equal footing with Serbia formed a Federation," says James ker-Lindsay.

Of key importance, according to experts, is the verdict of the International court of justice, which asked Serbia after the unilateral proclamation of Kosovo's independence in 2008. The court found no contradiction with international law.

Since the principle of inviolability of borders also remains in force, the conflict has moved from the field of law in the area of political expediency. Now the status and future of the new States are determined in each case by the will of the world players.

So, Kosovo is still not became a member of the UN, mainly because of the position of Russia, which, as a permanent member of the presidential security Council, has the sole veto the admission of new members.

This Republic is recognized as more than half of the countries in the world, adopted at the IMF, the world Bank and the international Olympic Committee.

How to win friends

"It is virtually impossible for anyone to gain independence and build the state without the consent of other States, especially large and powerful, to recognize and support you," - emphasizes Milena Erased, Professor of international law at Cleveland state University.

How it works in practice?

East Timor until the 1960s years was a Portuguese colony, and then was occupied by Indonesia.

During the cold war, the United States and the West did not want to alienate Indonesia, and therefore do not support the desire of East Timorese for independence.

"In the 1990-ies the great powers was no longer especially need Indonesia as an ally, drew attention to human rights violations in East Timor and said: okay, the Timorese people, you probably have suffered too long," says the Professor Erased.

The situation in Spain is completely different.

So what will happen if Catalans will vote for independence?

"I then predict long negotiations and compromise, which is that Catalonia remains part of Spain, but expanded autonomy," says Milena Erased.

Catalonia has the right to self-determination and Spain - to the inviolability of borders.

Voluntary care services of Catalonia, Madrid, in all likelihood, will not. It is remarkable that Spain is the only Western democracies did not recognize the independence of Kosovo, clearly keeping in mind Catalonia.

Also it is almost impossible to imagine that the rest of the world has to provide in Spain the pressure on Serbia and Indonesia.

The circumstances in the middle East are very different, but the Kurds, if they vote for independence, will face the same problem.


Tags: Russia , USA , Europe , UN

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