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

Country: Colombia
Delegate Name: Clare Cowen

The act of secession has been one of frequent reoccurrence throughout the course of human history. Secession movements are usually an act by a minority group who are living in dire conditions and are looking for self-determination. In the world today, there are somewhere around 60 secession movements, with the majority accompanied by warfare and political conflict. These movements not only affect the lives of those who are actively participating, but also those living in surrounding communities or regions, which are often riddled with poverty, famine, and disease. Secession movements are never simple. The question at hand is how to determine the legitimacy of these movements, and there is no written way to do this. There are no signed agreements or treaties that state when a secession movement is legitimate. The Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States declares that violation of the territorial integrity of states conducting themselves in compliance with international principles on equal rights and self-determination is not authorized, solving the issue for some movements but not others. The legitimacy of the remaining secession movements are left to be decided by the governing states, meaning that it is likely that recognition will not be gained. An official way to determine a movement’s legitimacy must be made to achieve both national and international peace, and ensure that every citizen receives the rights they deserve.

Colombia has struggled with secession movements of their own since the founding of their country. Attempts have been made to negotiate peace, which has been successful in recent years, but issues still occasionally arise. The secessionists, a group called the FARC, have committed crimes against peaceful civilians, which makes determining the legitimacy of their movement even more difficult. The Colombian government is taking the approach of making peace with the secessionists, rather than listening to the grievances of the secessionists. These attempts at making peace gave way to the formation of The Special Jurisdiction for Peace. This committee declared that the secessionists, the demobilized FARC fighters, were facing a “grave situation of human rights violations,” however, they did not specify the rights that were being violated, and made no attempts to actually address the FARC fighters’ grievances. Colombia has signed no treaties relating to secession movements, and has remained rather private about their personal struggles.

Looking forward, the government of Colombia would like to continue their previous strategy of attempting to make peace. They believe that peace should be prioritized, and that the secessionist movements should disarm and look to the Colombian government for further instructions. Applying this policy to the world as a whole, Colombia believes that, for both national international peace to be achieved, secession movements and their governing states should prioritize reaching an agreement, so that peace and prosperity will be restored to the country as a whole.

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