A Blueprint for Territorial Dispute Resolution


Independence is a basic human right.


Essentially, all territorial disputes should be settled by referendum (as opposed to war). Voting rights are held by all who live in the territory or region in question. The majority decide the issue. Once the issue has been settled, there will inevitably be those outside the region, that would like to be inside it, and there will be those inside who would prefer to be outside it. Generally, if the region is initially well chosen, then these should only form a small percentage of the total, and should also be approximately balanced. In order to facilitate the transfer of both minorities, a property arm is added to the World Bank, which would be responsible for purchasing the properties vacated on both sides of the new border, and reselling those same properties to new tenants from the opposite side of the border. No one is forced to move against their will, but the existence of such an independent and neutral international property dealer would greatly facilitate the process for those who do, and also reduce the vast material losses usually experienced during war.

If even after this process is widely recognized, some states are loath to comply with it, there remains a simple and non-violent way in which a people may gain their independence, as proposed by Mahatma Gandhi. First they should if necessary hold their own referendum. If the result is in favour of independence then most people wishing their independence should totally ignore the mechanism of government and all it's trappings of the original country (especially the payment of taxes). They should also at that point petition the UN for recognition, and this should de facto be granted.
Then the proposal as above can take effect, and people can move as they wish. Also the people themselves can organize their own elections, and form their own government.
At this point, should the recalcitrant original country intervene militarily, then world wide all encompassing trade (especially trade in arms and ammunition), and diplomatic sanctions are automatically invoked against that nation.


The very knowledge that this invocation is automatic should act as a considerable deterrent.
Invariably the property arm of the World Bank, will sometimes be left with excess cash, sometimes with excess property.
Over the long term, and averaged over many situations, this should balance out.
Wars with their ensuing loss of life and property are reduced considerably.

Footnote: Needless to say none of the above should be undertaken until such time as those considering independence have first made every effort to reconcile their differences with the government of the original country. This process should be one of last resort.