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The Catalyst Project

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Building a Nation: A Must in Preparation For Statehood

Dr. Nilda Arduin, 1999

Various rules and regulations internationally applicable between states are basically the same as those governing the relationship of citizens within a state. The basic rights most frequently stressed between states have been those of the independence and equality of states, of territorial jurisdiction, and self-defense or self-preservation. The basic duties emphasized are among others those of not resorting to war, carrying in good faith treaty obligations, and not interfering in the affairs of other states.

Examples of the rights associated with a state's independence are: the power to exclusively control its own domestic affairs, the power to admit and expel aliens, the privileges of its diplomatic envoys in other countries, and the sole jurisdiction over crimes committed within its territories.

On the other hand duties or obligations binding states are: the duty not to perform acts of sovereignty on the territory of another state, the duty to abstain and prevent agents and subjects from committing acts of violence against other state, the duty not to intervene in the affairs of another state. It should be clear that building a nation is not only a matter of seeing after our internal affairs, making our home a place livable for all, but also a matter of preparing our nation to assume responsibilities regarding international matters.

To execute the rights and duties assigned to a state, we need to have the manpower and prepare our human resources to assume the responsibilities assigned to, and required of a state. Note that while the size of a territory and its population might impose practical limitations upon the capacity to conduct external relations, these are not considered conditions for assuming statehood.

An example of a very small state is Naura; the area of the island is 8.25 square miles, with an indigenous population of approx. 3000 persons at the time of its independence in 1968. Participation of a mini-state in the United Nations as a full member is not conditioned by its size or population, but by the ability to carry out the obligations contained in the Charter, statehood brings with it responsibility. Only if we are able to assume our responsibilities both at home, and internationally, we will be able to participate in the international community on a basis of equality.

All states are considered equal members of the international community, notwithstanding differences of its economic, social, political or whatever other nature. From the doctrine of equality however, stems the duty upon states not to discriminate in favor of their own citizens as against citizens of another state. This means equality at law, but also the capacity for equal legal rights and equal duties, notwithstanding of course de facto inequalities (viz the five great powers of the United Nations Security (Council). Other principles related to the equality of states are: "good neighborliness"in social, economic and commercial matters, and "peaceful co-existence".

Are we as a people, individually and collectively, ready and prepared to assume our responsibilities as a state? For in the words of Christian Wolff "By nature all nations are equal the one to the other. For nations are considered as individual free persons living in a state of nature. Therefore, since by nature all men are equal, all nations too are by nature equal the one to the other "(1749).

Building a nation starts at home, and I call upon parents and family members, teachers and entrepreneurs, employers and employees, churches and all neighborhood-, social-, civic-, and labor organizations, governmental and non-governmental organizations, politicians and all media, without exclusivity, to seriously consider our responsibilities as a nation, and diligently move towards preparing our people in a positive manner to assume responsibility.


I call upon the youth, the new generation, not to make the mistakes that we made, have foresight, you are the pillars of the new nation.