Revisiting the place and use of territorial autonomy under international law
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Increasingly, territorial autonomy features centrally in constitutions that seek to accommodate minority groups. What is not clear, however, is the place of territorial autonomy under international law. While often lauded as a means to manage ethnicity and increasingly recognised as an institutional solution by the constitutions of many countries, the question remains as to whether territorial autonomy has a basis under international law. The quest for the basis of territorial autonomy under international law begins with Article 27 of the ICCPR, followed by a discussion on Article 25 of the ICCPR, common Article 1 of the ICCPR and ICESCR and finally customary international law. The article argues that international law does not provide the basis for minority groups to claim territorial autonomy. It does not, however, exclude the state from providing territorial autonomy as one positive measure it can take to ensure the protection of the rights of the minority.