n Conflict Trends - Unclear criteria for statehood and its implications for peace and stability in Africa

Volume 2012, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


There are two governing theories which define statehood. One focuses on the effectiveness of the emerging State and the other underlines legal recognition as a precondition for statehood. However, the two approaches remain debatable. In addition, the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States provides four criteria for statehood. All the approaches have limitations and lack clarity. The criteria offered are not binding in all cases. As a result, there is an observable gap in recognising a newly emerging country as a fully-fledged State. This implies that these criteria have relative subjectivity. This article attempts to explore to what extent the lack of clear criteria for statehood and for legitimate secession have encouraged the emergence of numerous secessionist movements and thereby threatened the peace, stability and territorial integrity of the existing states in Africa.

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