LegitimacySee also: Constitutive theory of statehood and Declarative theory of statehood
In international law, the Montevideo Convention on the Right and Duties of States sets down the criteria for statehood in article 1: The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.
The first sentence of article 3 of the Montevideo Convention explicitly states that "The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states."
The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, as an independent subject of international law does not meet all the criteria for recognition as a State (however it does not claim itself a State either), but is and has been recognized as a sovereign nation for centuries.
The doctrine of territorial integrity does not effectively prohibit unilateral secession from established states in international law, per the relevant section from the text of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Final Act, Helsinki Accords or Helsinki Declaration:
IV. Territorial integrity of States
The participating States will respect the territorial integrity of each of the participating States.
Accordingly, they will refrain from any action inconsistent with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations against the territorial integrity, political independence or the unity of any participating State, and in particular from any such action constituting a threat or use of force.The participating States will likewise refrain from making each other's territory the object of military occupation or other direct or indirect measures of force in contravention of international law, or the object of acquisition by means of such measures or the threat of them. No such occupation or acquisition will be recognized as legal.
In effect, this states that other states (i.e., third parties), may not encourage secession in a state. This does not make any statement as regards persons within a state electing to secede of their own accord.
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Famous quotes containing the word legitimacy:
“In New Yorkwhose subway trains in particular have been tattooed with a brio and an energy to put our own rude practitioners to shamenot an inch of free space is spared except that of advertisements.... Even the most chronically dispossessed appear prepared to endorse the legitimacy of the haves.”
—Gilbert Adair, British author, critic. Cleaning and Cleansing, Myths and Memories (1986)