Unilateral declaration of independence
A unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) is a formal process leading to the establishment of a new state by a subnational entity which declares itself independent and sovereign without a formal agreement with the state from which it is seceding. The term was first used when Rhodesia declared independence in 1965 from the United Kingdom (UK) without an agreement with the UK.
The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a full view of the subject. (June 2018)
Prominent examples[according to whom?] of a unilateral declaration of independence other than Rhodesia's UDI in 1965 include that of the United States in 1776, the Irish Declaration of Independence of 1919 by a revolutionary parliament, Katanga's declaration of independence by Moise Tshombe in July 1960, the attempted secession of Biafra from Nigeria in 1967, the Bangladeshi declaration of independence from Pakistan in 1970, the (internationally unrecognized) secession of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus from Cyprus in 1983, the Palestinian Declaration of Independence from the Palestinian territories in 1988, and that of the Republic of Kosovo in 2008. During the break up of the Soviet Union throughout 1991, many of its republics declared their independence unilaterally without agreement and were thus not recognised as legitimate by the Soviet central government.
During the breakup of Yugoslavia, the government of the United States asked the governments of Slovenia and Croatia to drop their UDI plans because of the threat of major war erupting in the Balkans because of it, and threatened that it would oppose both countries' UDIs on the basis of the Helsinki Final Act if they did so. However, four days later both Slovenia and Croatia announced their UDIs from Yugoslavia.
|Date||Declared state||Parent||International recognition||Notes|
|1776||United States||Great Britain||Yes|
|1777||Vermont||Great Britain||Yes||Vermont signed a separate armistice with Britain in 1781 before the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. Effective retroactive recognition by the United States was granted in 1791 when Vermont became the 14th state.|
|1816||Río de la Plata||Spain||Yes after the military victory||Division and dismembration of the independent country. Paraguay secession. Brazil invaded Uruguay. Spain recognized the Argentine Independence in 1859|
|1821||Greece||Ottoman Empire||Yes||Intervention by France, Russia, and the United Kingdom in favour of Greece in the Greek War of Independence secured its independence in 1832.|
|1830||Belgium||United Netherlands||Yes||UDI (4 October 1830) recognized by the major European powers following the London Conference of 20 December 1830|
|1898||Philippines||Spain||No||Conquered by United States; became independent in 1946 by agreement|
|1919||Irish Republic||United Kingdom||Yes|
|1922||Kingdom of Egypt||United Kingdom||Yes||Unilateral grant of independence by the British government|
|1960||Katanga||Republic of the Congo||No||Breakaway Congolese province, secession forcibly ended by the United Nations Operation in the Congo in 1963.|
|1965||Rhodesia||United Kingdom||No||Self-governing British colony, unilaterally declared itself independent as Rhodesia in 1965, renamed Zimbabwe Rhodesia 1979, then gained international recognition as Zimbabwe in 1980.|
|1967||Anguilla||United Kingdom||No||Returned as a British Crown Colony in 1969.|
|1975||East Timor||Portugal||No||Shortly following the declaration of independence, the territory was invasion and annexation by Indonesia. A referendum in 1999 led to eventual independence in 2002.|
|1983||Northern Cyprus||Cyprus||No||Still claimed by Cyprus|
|1988||Palestine||Israel||Partial||Claims territories occupied by Israel since 1967|
Israeli–Palestinian conflict and peace process still ongoing
See International recognition of the State of Palestine
|1990||Transnistria||Moldova||No||Still claimed by Moldova|
|1990||Karakalpakstan||Uzbekistan||No||Incorporated into Uzbekistan in 1993.|
|1991||Somaliland||Somalia||No||Still claimed by Somalia|
|1991||Croatia||Yugoslavia||Yes||Set off Croatian War of Independence|
|1991||Slovenia||Yugoslavia||Yes||Set off Ten-Days War|
|1992||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Yugoslavia||Yes||Set off Bosnian War|
|1991||Republic of Ichkeria||Russia||No||Present-day Chechen Republic, part of Russia|
|1991||Nagorno-Karabakh||Azerbaijan||No||Still claimed by Azerbaijan|
|1991||South Ossetia||Georgia||No||Still claimed by Georgia|
|1999||Abkhazia||Georgia||No||Still claimed by Georgia|
|2008||Kosovo||Serbia||Partial||Still claimed by Serbia|
A United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution adopted on 8 October 2008 backed the request of Serbia to seek an International Court of Justice advisory opinion on Kosovo's declaration of independence. On 22 July 2010, the ICJ ruled that the declaration of independence of Kosovo "did not violate any applicable rule of international law", because its authors, who were "representatives of the people of Kosovo", were not bound by the Constitutional Framework (promulgated by UNMIK) or by UNSCR 1244 that is addressed only to United Nations Member States and organs of the United Nations.
See: International recognition of Kosovo
|2014||Crimea||Ukraine||No||Annexed by Russia; still claimed by Ukraine|
|2017||Catalonia||Spain||No||Spanish sovereignty remained unchanged|
- List of sovereign states by date of formation
- Declaration of independence
- Helsinki Accords (also known as the Helsinki Final Act)
- International law
- International relations
- United Nations
- Douglas George Anglin. Zambian Crisis Behaviour: Confronting Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence, 1965–1966. McGill-Queens, 1994.
- Don H. Doyle. Secession as an International Phenomenon: From America's Civil War to Contemporary Separatist Movements. University of Georgia Press, 2010.
- Briscoe, Neil (2003). Britain and UN Peacekeeping: 1948–67. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 117–118. ISBN 978-1-4039-1499-6.
- United Nations. Index to Proceedings of the General Assembly 2008/2009: Subject Index. New York City, USA: United Nations, 2010. Pp. 138.
- Florian Bieber, Džemal Sokolović. Reconstructing multiethnic societies: the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Ashgate, 2001. Pp. 41.
- Berlie, Jean A. (1 October 2017). East Timor's Independence, Indonesia and ASEAN. Springer. p. 17. ISBN 9783319626307.
- Kammen, Douglas (20 August 2015). Three Centuries of Conflict in East Timor. Rutgers University Press. p. 130. ISBN 9780813574127.
- Moxham, Ben (February 2008). "State-Making and the Post-Conflict City: Integration in Dili, Disintegration in Timor-Leste" (PDF). London School of Economics and Political Science. pp. 10–11. ISSN 1749-1800. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
- Olmos, Francisco (28 May 2020). "The curious case of the Republic of Karakalpakstan". Foreign Policy Centre.
- Backing Request by Serbia, General Assembly Decides to Seek International Court of Justice Ruling on Legality of Kosovo's Independence, United Nations, 8 October 2008
- Accordance with international law of the unilateral declaration of independence in respect of Kosovo, Nspm.rs, 22 July 2010
- Accordance with international law of the unilateral declaration of independence in respect of Kosovo Archived 23 July 2010 at WebCite, International Court of Justice, 22 July 2010