Secession is the process by which a part of a country separates, as a result of its own decision, from the country as a whole, so as to create a new country which may become internationally recognized as an indivisible and separate entity. Attempts at separation are disruptive of the political and social life of a country during the period when the secessionists attempt to build up sufficient pressure on the country as a whole to permit the secession to take place. There is some difficulty in distinguishing internationally between the 'illegality' of secession and a people's right to self-determination.
Secession of the Baltic republics and other countries which were formerly States of the USSR was enabled partially through a Soviet law passed in 1990, partly by recourse to international law where Soviet law was judged insufficient. Many multilateral operations were under way in 1993 in which the United Nations was attempting to deal with threats from micronationalism and the ethnic or tribal forces that cause states to fracture or fall apart. In 1994, the Zulu kingdom in South Africa threatened to secede from South Africa. In 1996, the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia issued a warning against separatism, that paralleled concerns relating to Xinjiang, Uygur and Tibet. The Dali Lama is considered by China to be the head of a separatist movement.