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Article 1 of the UN Charter says that one of the purposes of the UN is “to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.” However, what “self-determination” means in specific international legal cases is far from a settled debate. Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute explains that:
contemporary notions of self-determination usually distinguish between “internal” and “external” self-determination, suggesting that “self-determination” exists on a spectrum. Internal self-determinationmay refer to various political and social rights; by contrast, external self-determination refers to full legal independence/secession for the given “people” from the larger politico-legal state.