September 16, 2019
 In 2022-Determining the Legitimacy of Secession Movements

Country: United Kingdom
Delegate Name: Aanya Dogra

Special Political Committee
Determining the Legitimacy of Secession Movements
United Kingdom
Aanya Dogra, Forest Hills Northern High School

Secession has been prevalent throughout history—the US seceding from Great Britain or the Confederate States seceding from the Union. However, there are many more secession movements as time goes on and as people want freedom for themselves. There can only be so many independent movements, so determining their legitimacy is vital. Leaving a tyrannical country is justifiable, as independence would be a cause of the plights of the people. With a loose interpretation of the legitimacy of these movements and many different views, justified secession can be difficult to determine.

The United Kingdom has experience with secession. The Brexit movement was the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. Some of the reasons for Brexit included the economy, immigration, sovereignty, and politics. A majority of 51.8% of the votes were in favor of leaving the EU. England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales all have some sort of secession movement ideas, however, most of these issues rely on people wanting to be recognized for their own culture and wanting more power for their ideas, which is a common way of thinking for humans.

The right of peoples and nations to self-determination and the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations are some documents the United Kingdom abides by. The UK believes that secession should be available if lawful or as an escape from a tyrannical power. Lawfully, a state can withdraw from a treaty either in respect of the Determination Agent or by consent of all parties as Article 54 of the Vienna Convention states. Article 50 TEU confirms a Member State can ‘withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

The UK believes that secession should not always be a harmful act and can be achieved through law. However, not every country can secede and the legitimacy of this would be determined by the unique situation of the secession movement. The UK takes note of secession movements, considering all perspectives of it, and anticipates working with other countries.