Mapping the Landscape of the Inherent Right to Self-Determination of Peoples within Sovereign States

Emeka C. Adibe, Obinne Obiefuna


This essay explores the vexing question of the right to self-determination with particular reference to developments under both general international law and African regional law. It recognises the tension between the right to self-determination and the territorial integrity of states while arguing that the right to self-determination for peoples within sovereign independent states fits into emerging normative developments in international law practice and politics in Africa and beyond. These normative developments are a pointer that state-centric principles of territorial integrity are not inviolable. Meanwhile, they are also indices for identifying the limits of uti possidetis vis-à-vis the fundamental right of self-determination.

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