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postgraduate thesis: A critical exploration of internal self-determination under international law, with particular reference to the Sri Lankan conflict

TitleA critical exploration of internal self-determination under international law, with particular reference to the Sri Lankan conflict
Authors
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Senaratne, M. L. K. C. K.. (2014). A critical exploration of internal self-determination under international law, with particular reference to the Sri Lankan conflict. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5558963
AbstractInternal self-determination is a popular, but insufficiently researched, concept in mainstream international law scholarship. It has emerged and gained prominence as a consequence of the understanding that the right to self-determination in international law is composed of two natural and distinct dimensions, namely: the ‘internal’ (guaranteeing political and democratic freedoms to people within a State); and the ‘external’ (guaranteeing political independence from colonial rule). Traditionally understood to be promoted by the West, ‘internal’ self-determination is often regarded as a right or principle guaranteeing democratic governance to people within a State, and importantly, political autonomy for minority groups. This thesis is a critical study which seeks to problematize the mainstream understanding of ‘internal’ self-determination. Its principal arguments are broadly three-fold: that ‘internal’ self-determination is based on an artificially constructed dichotomy of the concept of self-determination; that while both the West and the Third World have promoted ‘internal’ self-determination in different ways, its promotion by powerful actors needs to be approached with caution; and that contrary to popular perception, ‘internal’ self-determination can be problematic for minority groups, both as a distinct right or principle of international law, and as a political slogan. These central arguments are further illustrated and substantiated by a critical and detailed examination of the protracted ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka; i.e. through a re-reading of the conflict from an ‘internal self-determination perspective. The thesis also contains brief studies of a few other cases. This thesis proposes that ‘internal’ self-determination is yet another political expression which, contrary to the popular mainstream view, has indeterminate potential. The broader challenge is to subject ‘internal’ self-determination to constant critical scrutiny, exploring how the concept advances or retards the realization of greater equality and self-determination by peoples, when struggling within complex and hierarchically-constructed political structures. For minority peoples in protracted self-determination conflict situations, ‘internal’ self-determination is best understood as a choice arising after or upon (and not before or in the absence of) the recognition of their right to self-determination.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectSelf-determination, National
Dept/ProgramLaw
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/216293

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorSenaratne, Molligoda Liyanage Kalana Chaminda Kumar-
dc.date.accessioned2015-09-08T23:11:40Z-
dc.date.available2015-09-08T23:11:40Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationSenaratne, M. L. K. C. K.. (2014). A critical exploration of internal self-determination under international law, with particular reference to the Sri Lankan conflict. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5558963-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/216293-
dc.description.abstractInternal self-determination is a popular, but insufficiently researched, concept in mainstream international law scholarship. It has emerged and gained prominence as a consequence of the understanding that the right to self-determination in international law is composed of two natural and distinct dimensions, namely: the ‘internal’ (guaranteeing political and democratic freedoms to people within a State); and the ‘external’ (guaranteeing political independence from colonial rule). Traditionally understood to be promoted by the West, ‘internal’ self-determination is often regarded as a right or principle guaranteeing democratic governance to people within a State, and importantly, political autonomy for minority groups. This thesis is a critical study which seeks to problematize the mainstream understanding of ‘internal’ self-determination. Its principal arguments are broadly three-fold: that ‘internal’ self-determination is based on an artificially constructed dichotomy of the concept of self-determination; that while both the West and the Third World have promoted ‘internal’ self-determination in different ways, its promotion by powerful actors needs to be approached with caution; and that contrary to popular perception, ‘internal’ self-determination can be problematic for minority groups, both as a distinct right or principle of international law, and as a political slogan. These central arguments are further illustrated and substantiated by a critical and detailed examination of the protracted ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka; i.e. through a re-reading of the conflict from an ‘internal self-determination perspective. The thesis also contains brief studies of a few other cases. This thesis proposes that ‘internal’ self-determination is yet another political expression which, contrary to the popular mainstream view, has indeterminate potential. The broader challenge is to subject ‘internal’ self-determination to constant critical scrutiny, exploring how the concept advances or retards the realization of greater equality and self-determination by peoples, when struggling within complex and hierarchically-constructed political structures. For minority peoples in protracted self-determination conflict situations, ‘internal’ self-determination is best understood as a choice arising after or upon (and not before or in the absence of) the recognition of their right to self-determination.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshSelf-determination, National-
dc.titleA critical exploration of internal self-determination under international law, with particular reference to the Sri Lankan conflict-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5558963-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineLaw-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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