It’s a fundamental principle under international law, regarded as jus cogens, a higher or compelling law.
Nations with constitutional or statute laws in violation of this principle are illegal – including Article 155 of Spain’s constitution, authorizing Madrid to suspend Catalonia’s autonomous status, blocking its declaration of independence, its self-determination.
People everywhere have the right to choose their sovereignty and political status with no outside interference.
In January 1918, during WW I, Woodrow Wilson said “(n)ational aspirations must be respected. People may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. ‘Self determination’ is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action.”
The 1941 Atlantic Charter adopted by America, Britain and their allies during WW II affirmed the right of self-determination, its principles including no territorial aggrandizement, no territorial changes made against the wishes of the people, self-determination, restoration of self-government to those deprived of it, among others.
The UN Charter affirms “the principle of equal rights and self-determination of people…”
Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states:
“All 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.”
Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “(e)veryone has the right to a nationality (self-determination). No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his (or her) nationality nor denied the right to change his (or her) nationality.”
In December 1960, UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 granted independence to colonial countries and their people, affirming their right of self-determination.
Catalans are entitled to the same right. So are Palestinians, Kurds, and other people. Denying them violates fundamental international law.
Not according to the New York Times. Commenting on “chaos in Catalonia,” the self-styled newspaper of record falsely claimed “(n)o rules govern the exact balance between people’s right to determine their political future and the maintenance of existing states and borders, but something of a consensus has developed against breaking up a state that is law abiding and respectful of human rights.”
So-called “consensus” violates international law, no ambiguity about it.
Balkanizing Yugoslavia in the 1990s was supported by Western states, The Times and other major media, the self-determination rights of its people not considered.
Nor do Western media report about the diabolical US/Israel plot to redraw the Middle East map, the imperial scheme ignored.
The Times: “…Catalonia today cannot claim to be colonized or oppressed.”
Fact: Madrid gets the benefits of its wealth, not its people – brutally oppressed last Sunday, further state-sponsored violence threatened if its independence is declared.
The Times: Voting last Sunday was “chaotic” – solely because national police disrupted it violently.
The Times: “(T)he tallies cannot be independently verified and are regarded as invalid by Spain…”
Fact: The referendum was democratically conducted, the right of its people freely exercised.
The Times: “…Catalan secessionists…barrel(ed) ahead with an ill-considered declaration of independence whose true support was not possible to gauge from the chaotic voting…”
Some polls days ahead of Sunday’s referendum showed over 80% support – final results at 90%.
Catalans are legally and morally entitled to be free from fascist Spain. Achieving it won’t be easy. Nor is anything worth undertaking.