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Secession, conventionally, has been seen as a corollary of the "rights of peoples"; whether would-be secessionists were entitled to a state of their own, depended on whether they were a "people" sufficiently distinct from the balance of a state's population. The first article of both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) reflect this position as, "[a ]ll peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development." As Woodrow Wilson famously announced at the end of the First World War, "[n]ational aspirations must be respected; people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. " As I have argued previously, however, convincing secessionist claims must actually be grounded not on what groups are "peoples" but on valid claims to territory.

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