Informations and abstract
Keywords: Referendum; Self-determination of Peoples; Secession; Territorial Integrity; Catalonia; Kurdistan.
On September 25, 2017, and on October 1, 2017, two popular votes about secession from Spain and Iraq were held in Catalonia and in the Iraqi Kurdistan. The two situations are very different and raise different issues about the existence of a right for groups to hold a referendum about their political status in international law, the extent of the right to self-determination of peoples, its relationship with other competing principles, and the limits that international law places on national governments to oppose a popular vote on secession unilaterally held by a particular group. Extensive practice coming from states and organs of international organizations against these two referendums, including by the Security Council and the Venice Commission, confirms the current limited status of the right to self-determination in international law