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Ethnic violence pervades the news, from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Republics to Sri Lanka, Eritrea, and India. Although some ethnic struggles concern issues of domestic political fairness, many involve secessionist claims. Secessionist demands, unlike claims about domestic political fairness, cannot be satisfied through domestic political reforms. Instead, they aim to redraw the political boundaries. Because secessionist movements call for international recognition of the states they seek to create, they necessarily concern the world community. The right to secede is a matter of international law.

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