Is a Referendum The Best Solution at The End of The Day?
Article by: The Korea Herald
The term ‘referendum’ is already familiar to our ears, for it was stated lots of times until the second committee session in the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) that discussed The Conflict in Ukraine : Reconciling Peace in The Region of Donbass-Donetsk on November 26–27, 2021.
Before we jump further, what actually is the ‘referendum’?
A referendum is defined as a direct vote by the electorate of a country to advise or decide on a specific issue, in contrast to votes for individual candidates to national or local elections. One of the countries that held the referendum in the past was Timor Leste. The election process of this country was facilitated by the United Nations, along with the Department of Peacebuilding and Political affairs to ensure that there wasn’t any human right violation.
These days, looking at the conflict where Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) are insisting to declare their sovereignty to be independent countries from Ukraine, is it really a ‘referendum’, or just because of the other party’s influence?
Living in the house without feeling home was how the DPR and LPR describe their current situation. During the first and the second committee session, the DPR and LPR stated that they did not receive proper assistance from Ukraine. Furthermore, violations of human rights that were happening along the border line also made the desire to separate from Ukraine increase.
Even though the DPR and LPR, along with the Republic of Crimea, had declared their independence seven years ago as the response of the Ukrainian revolution in 2014, they are still internationally recognized as part of Ukraine. The obscurity of this situation made them ‘imprisoned’ by the status quo.
However, ‘referendum’ was not the only solution that could be the option towards this problem. In fact during the press conference (11/28/2021), The USA stated that since the previous committee sessions, The USA expected that the DPR and LPR would still be part of Ukraine. Furthermore, the United Kingdom had also tried to encourage the DPR and LPR to have conversation about the short-term solution for they were also expecting these regions would not separate themselves from Ukraine.
The United States of America, western European countries, along with Ukraine, worried about the DPR & LPR insistence on choosing referendum for some reasons, such as intervention of other parties and unpreparedness for becoming a country. These countries believed that independence did not only need resources that they have, but also other constitutional things that they need to prepare. These countries believed that there were still other ways to solve this problem instead of choosing ‘referendum’.
However, even though Ukraine did not agree about the DPR and LPR insistence for having a ‘referendum’, the main thing that Ukraine expected was that no other party would intervene towards any decision that they made.
The USA also added during the press conference, if at the end of the day what the DPR and LPR wanted were only ‘referendum’, the USA would help to provide facilities for the people to collect votes, and respect the result, as long as Ukraine could also accept the decision.
Beigbeder, Yves. (2021). Referendum. Oxford Public International Law . https://opil.ouplaw.com/view/10.1093/law:epil/9780199231690/law-9780199231690-e1088 (Accessed Nov 28, 2021)