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Religious identity of the informal transborder subjects

25.05.2017
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The system of International Law knows two types of Subjects of International Law — classical main subjects (national states) and classical additional subjects (Intergovernmental organizations, an international nongovernmental organization such as international nonprofit organizations, multinational corporations, colonies, subjects of federations etc.). Some of these classical subjects from first type (Vatican), as well as from second one (Sovereign Military Order of Malta) have a religious identity or ethnoreligious background (Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People). But in general, contemporary system of International law is secular and not connected with supranational legitimations. These classical subjects are recognized by the International community as sovereign or limited sovereign ones.

For example, the current system of International law, which is supported by the UN, recognizes the principle of the territorial integrity as one of the most important principles. This principle forbids states to violate internationally recognized borders of other states and the demarcation lines. The subjects of execution of this principle are states, whereas the other principles are bound for groups of states (for projects.

Nowadays, there are several supranational projects that are driven by the pursuance of expansion and do not pay much attention to the nation-state borders of the model of the late XX century. Some of these projects are adopted by official authorities of some countries, while others do not recognize international law and are not recognized by its classical subjects. Such entities, which can not be limited by nation-state borders, are becoming the subjects of international relations in the twenty-first century. The expansion in this situation is carried out not only by military means but also in the framework of cultural and language policy, etc.

One more type of transborder subjects is a migrant community, both labor and associated with armed conflict. As well as supranational religiously motivated projects, waves of migrants are not the classic subject of international relations, and, therefore, it is completely expected that they ignore the principle of the inviolability of borders. In comparison with the migration wave that occurred after World War II, the modern wave is complicated by open borders within the EU, so that migrants can move relatively freely around Europe. Since the 1950s the UN built its relations not with the whole migrant community as integral subject, but with individual migrants. But today, when the number of international migrants in the World is comparable with the population of the USA, they become an influent subject of international relations. As a great symbol of this new informal subject, we can choose the Refugee Olympic Team at the 2016 Summer Olympics. The main characteristic of the migrant community is, of course, its transborder status, but the religious identity is also one of the possible features of refugee, according to the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. And today, due to a large number of ethnoreligious conflicts, this factor is more and more circulated.

Apart from external migrants (refugees), there are also a large number of internal migrants in many countries, which become a new informal transborder subject. For example, there is a new Syrian practice of transporting people (both peaceful and militants) from besieged cities to the territory under control of authorities, loyal to them. Today it seems to be a good idea, but in future, it can become a problem, because winners put the new population in the liberated from residents cities, and the ex-locals lose the opportunity to return home. So, there is a risk of transformation from an organic country with the variegated population to separated enclaves with check-points between them, and their memory (identity) will be built on the hostility to neighbors. Such transporting can continue the trend of blurring the state borders from inside, because the compact community with its own military forces, police, loyalist population and mineral resources is already a (quasi-)sovereign subject, even without international recognized status. On the other hand, the classical nation state, composed from uncontrolled enclaves, loses its sovereignty and ability to be an independent subject of international affairs.

The informal transborder subjects differ from the classical ones with few features. At first, they are not recognized by the system of international law as sovereign and integral subjects but have some substantial characteristics of those subjects. Secondly, they do not have recognized borders (unrecognized entities), or have only blurred borders and are potentially Global (virtual communities on the Web), or even don`t have relations to the real territory (refugees). That is why their sovereignty should not depend on geographic borders, as well as it depends in the case of nation states. While national and territorial identity is decreased, the religious identity of new subjects is still an important core of their (quasi-)sovereignty. It is essentially exclusivist, and it creates a non-geographic boundary between communities. Today, such type of religiosity as contra-secular one is becoming more and more popular; its characteristic features are occidentophobia, voluntary archaization, and neglect of religious education, heightened eschatological expectations. Contra-secular religiosity mobilizes large numbers of people to fight against the secular West and the values, set by it (including the contemporary international law). Religious identity is not strictly tied to the nation state, linguistic boundaries, and it does not depend on nationality, which means it is an additional factor in the hybridization of borders between the communities in the XXI century. The latest virtual communication makes every imagined community a potentially global one; a person can identify himself with it, even without any live communication with like-minded people.

See also:

Hybrid Borders in the XXI Century

Rome-Minsk-Kyiv

 
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