Chapter 4 | Separatism and exiting violence
“Separatism and the end of violence” highlights the issues at stake in the relationship between independence and political violence, and therefore the end of violence. Starting from the postulate that political violence is inherent in the formation of the state, this panel of researchers examines the question of independence as a solution to exit violence.
The study first defines the key notions, notably those of ‘violence’ and ‘separatism’, through concrete examples (Kurdish case, war in Yemen, Southern Sudan among others) before analysing typical situations around the world and examining the role of the geopolitical context.
This work is also an opportunity to look again at the “separatist” means that could allow a way out of violence such as referenda, the right to self-determination, the role of the UN and other international mediators.
However, it shows that if independence can sometimes lead to the success of state-building (example of Czechoslovakia), it can also lead to a redeployment of violence outside states (as in the case of Eritrea, which has been in conflict with its neighbours since its independence) or inside (Southern Sudan).
The group of researchers, which draws the conclusion that separatism does not allow for a systematic exit from violence, therefore makes a number of recommendations that allow us to imagine new ways of creating the conditions for exiting violence. These recommendations include the need to avoid a purely ethnic or religious reading of separatist movements, the importance of granting a certain number of concessions in order to avoid radicalisation of separatist movements, and the need to stress the ambiguity of international law.