International Law and Self Determination

By Aakash Kumbhat, Akhil Mahesh & Apoorv KC, National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi

Editor’s Note: In international law, the principle of self determination recognises the right of freedom of a state from the rule of any oppressionist power. This has been widely seen in the cases of independence of colonial states all over the world. The ideology of self determination has been enshrined in the UN Charter and is also recognised in a number of international conventions, such as The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Territories and Peoples, 1960 and The International Covenants for Human Rights, 1966.


The principle of self-determination has existed for decades inasmuch as it was one of the founding principles in the formation of many of the post-colonial states. It was the driving factor behind the successful, but sometimes violent, transfer of power to the people from the hands of the colonisers. That said, self-determination is a vague and indeterminate concept in international law, and was extremely useful in the anti-colonial struggles but is now threatening to lead to the fragmentation of sovereign states due to an emerging trend of ‘tribalism’. Initially, it was employed by the likes of President Wilson and Lenin in the World Wars, then used by Gandhi, Nkrumah et al in their respective freedom struggles, but is now a driving factor for radical groups like the PLO, IRA, ETA, Chiapas etc.

The concept of self-determination is considered to spring from the American Declaration of Independence, the period of Enlightenment, and Jacobean followers of the 18th and 19th centuries. Now, this concept means different things to different people – it can be used to successfully build states out of people facing oppressive measures but can also be used against these very states and cause their breakdown.

Two models of Self-Determination

Martti Koskennniemi, an eminent legal scholar from Finland, is of the opinion that the principle of self-determination is displayed by two schools of thought, one portraying it patriotically and the other in a secessionist manner. He terms these two models as the Classical Model and the Secessionist Model. The Classical model, according to him, is based on the theories of Thomas Hobbes, wherein it is stated that ‘the authentic expression of human nature in primitive communities is essentially negative’ and hence the formation of States is vital. Nations are thus artificially made communities of people bound together by the decision making procedures of the State; and it is these decision making procedures that make up the core of self-determination. The Secessionist model on the other hand follows the ideology of Jean Jacques Rousseau and conceptualizes the State to be more than something as trivial and basic as decision making procedures. It is concerned with the manner of expression of the will of the people in the State, viewing each State as an authentic community as opposed to an artificial one. The Classical view appears rather conservative with an aversion towards nationalistic passion, whereas the other view aims to represent communal identification of the people it enjoins. The modern concept of self-determination is caught in the struggle between these two ideological schools.


Self-determination stems from the American Declaration of Independence of 1789 and was then reiterated in the French Revolution by the French National Assembly on 17th November, 1792. These uprisings sought to establish states which would secure the unalienable rights of citizens and derive its power from those it governed, thereby ensuring that decent respect is given to the opinion of mankind. Franck explains this by saying that “self-determination basically postulates the right of a people to be organised in an established territory, and to determine its collective political destiny in a democratic fashion and is therefore at the core of the democratic entitlement.” The rise of democratic entitlement in the modern world was born out of the Versailles Peace Conference of 1919. This Conference was an attempt to correct the wrong made by the Congress of Vienna when they drew maps for Europe and left out quite a few national minorities. American President Wilson, concerned about the oppression of minorities within larger states that did not represent them, made ‘self-determination’ his guiding principle in the redefinition of maps.

Woodrow Wilson: the Father of Modern Self-determination

President Wilson was the first to utilize and thereby popularize the phrase ‘self-determination’ in the period succeeding the Second World War. In his now famous Fourteen Points Address to the US Congress on the 8th of January, 1918, he went on to warn statesmen that they would “henceforth ignore the principle of self-determination at their own peril.”

There has been a subtle change in the meaning and usage of the phrase since Woodrow Wilson’s time. In the American Declaration, self-determination referred to the idea of legitimacy of government of a state in the international society of states. However, modern literature refers to self-determination as the process by which secessionist groups, from within the state can gain entry to the international society of states by breaking away from the state structure that does not represent them.

Self-determination traces its roots back to the ‘legitimacy of rule’ dependent on the ‘consent of the governed’. Wilson was of the opinion that post war order would be attained by the notion that ethnically identifiable peoples or nations should govern themselves. Thus, self-determination can be understood to imply that people would have the choice to select their own form of government. The Versailles Settlement is the best representative of the idea of self-determination as Wilson defined it. It expressed the concept through three interrelated elements. Firstly, the creation of a scheme whereby identifiable people were accorded Statehood. Secondly, the decisions regarding disputed areas which Wilson determined could be sorted out on the basis of a plebiscite. And finally, the protection of ethnic minority groups that were too small to be accorded Statehood.

The Ǻaland Islands Case

The case involving the Ǻaland Islands was one of the first cases in which the Wilsonian model of self-determination was applied. The Åaland Islands formed part of the territory ceded to Russia by Sweden under the Treaty of Fredrikshamn in September 1809. As a result, along with all other parts of Finland, they became part of the semi-autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. After 1917 the residents of the islands worked towards having them ceded to Sweden. In 1919 a petition for secession from Finland and integration with Sweden was signed by 96.4% of the voters on the islands, with over 95% in favour. Swedish nationalist sentiments had grown strong particularly as a result of the following issues: anti-Swedish tendencies in Finland, Finnish nationalism fuelled by Finland’s struggle to retain its autonomy, and the Finnish resistance against Russification. In addition, the conflict between the Swedish-speaking minority and the Finnish-speaking majority (on the mainland), which since the 1840s had been prominent in Finland’s political life, contributed to the Åaland population’s apprehension about its future in Finland.

Finland, however, declined to cede the islands and instead offered them an autonomous status. Nevertheless the residents did not approve the offer, and the dispute over the islands was submitted to the League of Nations. The latter decided that Finland should retain sovereignty over the province but that the Åaland Islands should be made an autonomous territory. Thus Finland was obliged to ensure the residents of the Åaland Islands the right to maintain the Swedish language, as well as their own culture and local traditions. At the same time, an international treaty established the neutral status of Åaland, prohibiting the placing of military installations or forces on the islands.

Thus, we see that even immediately following the expression of Wilsonian norms of self-determination, the Ǻaland Islands Dispute was not settled on the basis of allowing a ‘people’, namely the Swedes, to rule themselves, with the idea of a territorial state taking precedence over the identity of a people. This was the start of a trend that led to the fracturing of Wilsonian norms and led to the development of self-determination norms as we recognise them today.

The next stage in the development of self-determination came following World War II with the support of the Soviet Union, despite the principle getting only a limited mention in Articles 1 and 55 of the United Nations Charter.

Soviet support: the changing of the Norm

Lenin was supportive of the principle of self-determination and criticized the imperialistic ways of countries like Britain, France, Spain and Portugal, with special reference to their overseas colonies. This stance presented an interesting contradiction in the form of the Baltic Republics, who had the right to secede from the Soviet Republic written into their Constitution, and then had this very right suppressed by the Soviets. In this new concept of self-determination, ‘people’ were no longer defined ethnically or racially,; it merely applied to the freeing of colonised people from their masters. This new ideology still comprised of the Wilsonian model’s fundamental principles, namely the consent of the governed and the idea of the people being able to choose their own form of government.

The United Nations Charter

The Dumbarton Oaks Conference in 1944 was the first attempt by the Allies to form an international organization in the aftermath of the Second World War. This was followed by the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco in 1945. The proposals made in Dumbarton Oaks did not make any reference to the principle of self-determination, whereas in San Francisco, the Soviet Union proposed that ideology be emphasised on. After initially having misgivings, the United States, the United Kingdom and France accepted this proposal and as a result the ideology encompassed by the term ‘self-determination’ was incorporated in Articles 1 (2)[i] and 55[ii] of the United Nations Charter.

The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Territories and Peoples, 1960

The Soviet Union prompted the Western world to begin decolonisation by quoting to them a mildly altered for of their own principle of self-determination. The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Territories and Peoples was originally passed as a General Assembly Resolution and attached to the Charter of the United Nations by the opening paragraph which states ‘Mindful of the determination proclaimed by the peoples of the world in the Charter of the United Nations to reaffirm faith in the fundamental human rights…’ this is an obvious suggestion that the norm of self-determination was a universally accepted one. The important outcome of this Declaration was that it included self-determination as a fundamental human right which thereby brought it under the ambit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 and linked it to the issue of discrimination.

The International Covenants for Human Rights, 1966

The International Covenants for Human Rights comprise of the International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the norm of self-determination is common in Article I of both documents. The Covenants state that before any right is enjoyed, it is vital for the people to be the masters of their own political destiny. Thus the principle of self-determination is not restricted to a political or civil right but expounded as the gateway to economic, social and cultural rights.

While what constitutes ‘self-determination’ and whether it is a part of customary international law or not is debatable, one needs to take into account another norm that has influenced and affected the practice of modern self-determination. This particular norm, which has been complimentary to the decolonisation process of the 20th century was first derived in Spanish American and is known as the Doctrine of Uti Possidetis. It is the general rule that while retreating from a territory, the boundaries left behind were sacrosanct and could not be altered under any circumstances. Over time this rule came to be respected because it ensured that the departure of a colonial ruler did not lead to violence and fragmentation influenced by separatist forces. There being a lot of merit in such a scenario, the rule was easily accepted and considered as a part of customary international law and maybe even a norm of jus cogens.

Self Determination in International Law: Treaties and Judicial Decisions

The principle of self-determination has developed after the Second World War into a legal, rather than a political concept. At the time of the evolution of the United Nations, although the Dumbarton Oaks proposal did not mention self-determination, the United Nations Charter makes specific reference to the principle in Articles 1 and 55. According to Article 1(2) of the Charter, one of the purposes of the United Nations is to “develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples. . . .” Article 55 explicitly states the relationship between equal rights and self-determination of  peoples on the one hand, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms on the other:
“With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote … universal respect for and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”

General Assembly at its twenty-fifth session unanimously adopted the Declaration on principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations. This Declaration was drafted by a special committee established by the General Assembly in 1963 and instructed to consider the “principle of equal rights and self- determination of peoples.”‘ It explicitly recognizes the right of all peoples to determine their political, economic, social, and cultural destiny without any external interference. One of seven principles proclaimed by the Declaration is the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, by virtue of which “all peoples have the right freely to determine, without external interference, their political status and 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.”‘[iii] The Declaration also acknowledges that the right of self-determination could be implemented in any of the following forms: “the establishment of a sovereign and independent State, the free association or integration with an independent State, or the emergence into any other [freely determined] political status.

In December 1974, the General Assembly adopted a definition of aggression which refers to the right of self-determination: “[N]othing in this Definition … could in any way prejudice the right to self-determination, freedom and independence, as derived from the Charter, of peoples forcibly deprived of that right and referred to in the Declaration of Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations….. “[iv]

The Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order and The Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States are the other important General Assembly resolutions about self-determination.

The doctrine was referred to by the International Court of Justice in some of its decisions. In Advisory Opinion on Legal Consequences for States of the Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia (South West Africa) Notwithstanding Security Council Resolution 276 (1970): “[T]he subsequent development of International Law in regard to non-self-governing territories, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, made the principle of self-determination applicable to all of them.”[v] The court also dealt with the doctrine in the Western Sahara[vi]case also, where it stated that self-determination had “direct and particular relevance for non self-governing countries”. It also held that people of East Timor had right to self-determination in Portugal v. Australia[vii]. It also opined that it was one of the essential principles of contemporary international lawand it had an ‘erga omnes’ character.

Most of the states, because of the fear of secession, do not recognise the right to self-determination.[viii] The United States also, most of the times, was hesitant to do any action just on the basis of the doctrine. In the Bifaran conflict, the claim of self-determination by Biafra was not recognised by the United Nations, as Nigeria was against any interference in its internal matters. However, the case of Eritrea was quite different. The UN recognised the Eritrea’s right to self-determination and it resulted in a UN monitored plebiscite, thereby ensuring its freedom from Ethiopia. However, it was so because Eritrea was a former non self-governing territory, merged into a federation with Ethiopia in 1952. Professor Rupert Emerson suggests “the room left for self-determination in the sense of the attainment of independent statehood is very slight, with the great current exception of decolonization.”‘

Minorities and Self Determination

The international law gives the right to self determination to “all people”. However, there are questions as to whether minorities come under the purview of the term “people”. A UN study by Caportorti, Special Rapportuer in the ‘Study on the Rights of persons belonging to Ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities’ define the minority as:

A group which is numerically inferior to the rest of the population of a state and in a non dominant position, whose members possess ethnic, religious or linguistic characteristics which differ from the rest of the population who, if only implicitly, maintain a sense of solidarity, directed towards preserving their culture, traditions, religion and language.”[ix]

Under international law, minorities are not generally considered ‘people’. Minority cannot be covered under Article 1 of ICCPR which talks about self determination as a right of all people. Minority is covered under Article 27 which falls short of giving the right to self determination. The Human Rights Committee, in the case of Miqmak Tribal Society Claim, stated as minorities are not people. In the present world, minorities continue to use the path of self determination and the states continue to deny them.[x] Although some states like Eritrea have successfully used the doctrine to gain independence, yet the right of minorities for self determination is not fully recognised in international law.

Practical Implications of the Doctrine of Self-Determination

Having examined the theoretical framework within the self-determination discourse, the paper now focusses on how the norms of international law apply to actual situations. The first of such cases being referred to is that of Bangladesh where we shall look at the cease of secession of Bangladesh from the Union of Pakistan which thereby justifies the fact that though secession is considered to be against the principles of international order, it is nonetheless desirable by international law.

The case of Bangladesh:

Fear of Hindu domination of the significant Muslim population of undivided India forced he original partitions of the country. Backed by the two most densely populated Muslim areas of the continent the Muslim League expressed this sentiment in 1940 for creation of a federal state with two ‘separate and autonomous’ wings at either ends of the subcontinent. This dream was fulfilled in 1947 with the division of India leading to the creation of the two wings of Pakistan. But, this state of Pakistan had some inherent problems which further lead to its fragmentation by its 25th Anniversary, resulting in the creation of Bangladesh. This challenged the norms of international law since India had already ‘determined’ its future by eliminating the British from the subcontinent. That expression ‘will of the people’ had resulted in India being partitioned into two separate entities, India and Pakistan. As per international law, this was against the norm of uti possidetis– the principle stating that boundaries were sovereign and should not be changed on the departure of the colonial power. But this norm was broken in the belief that it would lead to stability and order in the subcontinent. Thus the states had been created based on the grounds of religion. This however was only the first phase of division as East Bengal had for long felt treated like a colony of West Pakistan especially in the absence of any fair representation of Easterners in the affairs of West Pakistan which led to their call for independence and ultimately in the creation of a separate state of Bangladesh.

The two-major issues that led to this separation were the domination of Bangla population in the eastern area and the geographical factor. The first factor affected this move of separation as Bengalis have arguably always been a ‘different’ people from the West Pakistanis geographically, historically, culturally and socially. The geographical factor is highly significant even after the same been ignored in the drawing of international boundaries in sub-Saharan Africa as there the states were not constituted separated by miles of hostile territory in between.

The next issue that was faced was that of the use of military force by India in aid of creation of Bangladesh. This was a third-party intervention against a sovereign nation in aid of a separatist movement that sought to challenge the internal sovereignty of the state to which it belonged. Before going into a deeper analysis of the issue, regard has to be given to Articles 2(4) and 51 of the UN Charter. The language of these two articles leads to the conclusion that use of force is clearly outlawed with the sole exception being in exercise of self-defence. Thus there is very little justification in international law for a neighbouring country using force to determine the outcome of a domestic issue within a sovereign state. Despite this argument, the Indian Government justified its use of force as being an action of self-defence and hence justified under Article 51 of the Charter. India argued that the flow of refugees placed financial strains on the impoverished economy of the Indian state of West Bengal which accepted most refugees, and on this basis claimed the right to action in defence of its sovereignty. Another argument that was raised was if the spirit of the Charter is to be invoked, the people of Bangladesh had the right to self-defence which it exercised aided by India as the Charter has arguably given right of self-defence to ‘all people’[xi].

It has been believed and firmly held that the case of Bangladesh is a clear exception to the rule of self-determination. Under no circumstances could it be construed that the international community would allow states to be dismembered in the way that formerly united Pakistan was. In framing a modern law of self-determination, the need for order will be an important factor since it is an inherent part of the UN Charter. Nonetheless the case of Bangladesh demonstrates clearly the inherent problems with making such norms rigid and is considered to be an exceptional case as well, considering the evidence presented by some authors[xii]that the Bengali people were in many ways colonised by their counterparts in the West Pakistan. The also had strong credentials to exist as a separate people which include linguistic, racial, cultural as well as geographical factors. It is also suggested by some authors that Indian action was clearly illegal as it compromised Pakistani sovereignty but the same argument was clouded over as this sovereignty was in dispute at the time by people claiming self-determination. Also, the Indian action is justified on the grounds alone that the Bengali people faced a Pakistani army allegedly indulged in genocide which is clearly an international crime against humanity.

As far as the recognition, de facto and de jure, of Bangladesh is considered, India was the first country to recognise Bangladesh in 1971 which was followed by other states and within a year Bangladesh was accepted by many as a sovereign state[xiii]. Pakistani recognition of Bangladesh in 1976 and UN membership finally confirmed Bangladesh as an international actor.

Thus to conclude, secession remains problematic despite the experience of the Bangla secession which is a good illustration to consider that in certain situations secession is a right in international law which functions under the direct influence of self-defence which is a general principle of international law.[xiv]

The Western-Sahara Case:

The dispute over Western Sahara, a sparsely-populated territory along the Atlantic coast between Morocco and Mauritania, is as much a struggle over the potency of international law as it is a row over land. The right to national self-determination, it is often argued, dictates a pathway out of the current diplomatic stalemate. This path could be taken by holding a United Nations-supervised plebiscite to enable the territory’s residents to determine their own political future.

Proponents of nationalist struggle or secession often argue that their cause is not only just but is validated by national self-determination. This they conceive of as an unassailable principle of international law justifying not only the ends but also any means used to achieve them. However, not only is the common conception of self-determination incomplete in international law, but it has actually hampered international law’s development as an authoritative body of law capable of resolving disputes between countries.

Western Sahara hugs the Atlantic Coast between Morocco and Mauritania. The territory is as desolate in resources as it is in population. There is no arable land and while the region boasts phosphate deposits, much of its economic potential comes from fishing off its 700-mile coastline. The marginality of the land condemned the region to peripheral status in history.

Western Sahara provides an interesting test case in just how divided the world remains on whether to support self-determination in a territory amid a neighbouring state’s irredentist claims. In the case of Western Sahara, for example, Morocco and Mauritania have laid claim to its territory even as Spain and Algeria support its independence. The paralysis in resolving the Western Sahara dispute is a result, on the one hand, of battlefield reality and, on the other, the fact that, despite the passage of time and the consequent development of the law in response to new realities, there are no objective criteria that would lead to the preference of one claim over another.

Claims to Western Sahara are multi-layered. The Berlin Conference, hosted by Otto von Bismarck in November 1884 for the purpose of carving up the African continent among the European powers, ended with the Western Sahara territory allocated to Spain. Spain colonized the territory in 1884 and held it as a Spanish protectorate. From 1961 onwards, Spain administered Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory under Chapter XI of the U.N. Charter. This implicitly recognized the right of its inhabitants to self-determination. Meanwhile, neighbouring Morocco gained its independence from France in 1956, and Algeria followed soon after in 1962.

Spain, Morocco, and Mauritania, however, essentially colluded to postpone the referendum. Spain and Algeria took the position that the “questions formulated … were, from a legal standpoint, ambiguous, incomplete, and irrelevant, since they failed to take into account the development of contemporary international law in relation to Non-Self-Governing Territories.”  The International Court of Justice accepted the case and, in an advisory opinion, ruled unanimously on the first question that at the time of colonization by Spain, Western Sahara was not terra nullius. As to the second question, the court acknowledged that its opinion on the question of historic title should in no way be seen as detracting from the fundamental right of self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. The court ultimately ruled that Morocco and Mauritania did not have a valid claim to Western Sahara based on historic title, dealing a blow to the “automatic retrocession” to their own control which both demanded. Such a finding arguably weakened rather than bolstered the “strength and universality of the principle of self-determination.

Case of Somalia:

The principle of self-determination, as generally accepted, fits in with the concept of territorial integrity, as it is believed that it cannot be applied once a colony or trust territory attains sovereignty and independence, except, arguably, in extreme circumstances, an example of the same being the case of Bangladesh. Probably the most prominent exponent of the relevance of self-determination to post-independence situations has been Somalia with its claims to those parts of Ethiopia and Kenya populated by Somali tribes, but that country received very little support for its demands.[xv]

The on-going campaign of the Somali Democratic Republic for the unification of all Somali-inhabited territories has not received much support from the international community. The Somalis do not possess a strong case in international law. Their best argument is that the cessions of territory to Ethiopia by United Kingdom and Italy were invalid because those states were not entitled to cede territory which they had pledged to protect. If this were the case, Ethiopia would then not hold the valid tittle to the ceded territory. However, frontiers of the British and Italians did make territorial withdrawals after Adowa, the territory which they actually ceded to Ethiopia was unclear. Given this state of uncertainty, international law may sanction the existing situation of fact in order to preserve peace and stability, even if origins of such situations are not free from doubt.[xvi] Moreover, the Somali invocation of self-determination for all Somali people conflicts with the principle of territorial integrity. The position of international law in this regard is that the territorial integrity of existing states must be preserved.[xvii]

Thus the Somali Democratic Republic’s attempts to achieve Somali unification are without any doubt contrary to international law, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of Somalis living both in Ethiopia and Kenya would rather belong to the Somali Democratic Republic than to their current respective states. However when claims for ethnic self-determination transcend national frontiers international law manifestly rejects them, and upholds instead the territorial integrity of the state.

This demonstrates that there is no legal basis for irredentist claims founded solely on ethnic affinity between the population of a claimant state and the inhabitants of the territory claimed.[xviii]


Self-determination came into existence as a measure for the promotion of the decolonisation movement. This doctrine, though accepted as a part of customary international law in operation today, has been subject to several criticisms. States, very often, are reluctant to put this doctrine into practice out of the apprehension of secession.

In the 20th century, the decolonisation movement by and large followed this principle, leaving their former territories as single units. Thus as can be seen, the modern discourse on self-determination has seen much evolution from its initial stage to reach its current position and still has a few unanswered questions, meaning there is still some way to go before an entirely pure version of the principle is crystallized.

Edited by Sinjini Majumdar

[i] Article 1 (2): To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace

[ii] Article 55: With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote:

  1. higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development;
  2. solutions of international economic, social, health, and related problems; and international cultural and educational cooperation; and
  3. universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.

[iii] 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, G.A. Res. 2625, 25 U.N. GAOR, Supp. (No. 28) 121, 123-24, U.N. Doc. A/8028 (1971)

[iv] G.A. Res. 3314, 29 U.N. GAOR, Supp. (No. 31) 142, U.N. Doc. A/9631 (1974).

[v][1971] I.C.J. 16.

[vi] 1986 ICJ Reports 14

[vii] 1995 ICJ Reports 90

[viii] Ved P Nanda, Self-determination under international law: Validity of claims to secede, 1982

[ix] Caportorti F., Study on the Rights of persons belonging to Ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities of 1977, UNP Sales No. E.91.XIV.2.

[x] Joshua Castellino, International Law and Self Determination, p. 73

[xi] According to Preamble, UN Charter, 1945

[xii] Mascarenhas (1971)op.cit. 29

[xiii] By February 1972, 31 countries had recognised state of Bangladesh as sovereign state.

[xiv] Joshua Castellino International Law and Self Determination (2000)

[xv] Malcolm N. Shaw International Law (2008) 6th Edition

[xvi] Yehuda Z. Blum Historic Titles in International Law (1965) 4

[xvii] Article 2(4) of the UN Charter

[xviii] Thomas D. Musgrave Self Determination and National Minorities (2000) 215-16

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