Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I believe that a referendum of the people of Kashmir is the only way to solve this kind of ethnic/territorial dispute.  A referendum has been the proposed solution for Kashmir since 1949:

"On 5 January 1949, UNCIP (United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan) resolution stated that the question of the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through a free and impartial plebiscite. As per the 1948 and 1949 UNCIP Resolutions, both countries accepted the principle, that Pakistan secures the withdrawal of Pakistani intruders followed by withdrawal of Pakistani and Indian forces, as a basis for the formulation of a Truce agreement whose details are to be arrived in future, followed by a plebiscite; However, both countries failed to arrive at a Truce agreement due to differences in interpretation of the procedure for and extent of demilitarisation one of them being whether the Azad Kashmiri army is to be disbanded during the truce stage or the plebiscite stage. "


Referendum (plural would be Referenda?) have been used more widely than is supposed. Kyrgystan held a referendum in 2010:

"Rosa Otunbayeva, the country's acting leader, said she had won overwhelming support for her plan to create a new parliamentary system. "The new constitution of the Kyrgyz republic has been approved," she said in the capital Bishkek, adding: "We are proud of our country, which made this choice at a difficult hour."
Today's ballot was designed to legitimise the current government and to replace the country's abuse-prone presidential system."

A referendum can serve to defuse a potential civil war, but as with any public vote, it has to be perceived as fair and free.

The UN sponsored a referendum 30 August 1999 in East Timor, in which the vast majority of East Timorese voted for independence from Indonesia. This was followed by a violent attack against pro Independence forces, but ultimately the will of the East Timorese prevailed.

This year, Crimea was annexed to Russia following a pro-Russian referendum vote in Crimea.

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