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Process by which a group of people, usually possessing a degree of political consciousness, form their own state and government. The idea evolved as a byproduct of nationalism. According to the UN charter, a people has the right to form itself into a state or to otherwise determine the form of its association with another state, and every state has the right to choose its own political, economic, social, and cultural systems. Moreover, the administering authorities of dependent territories are enjoined to ensure political advancement and the development of self-government in those territories.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on self-determination, visit Britannica.com.
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