The Dangers of the United Nations' 'New Security Agenda': 'Human Security' in the Asia-Pacific Region
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law
October 2, 2008
Asian Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 1-35, 2006
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/114
Amidst the understandable enthusiasm for enlarging the traditional state-centred view of security and embracing a "human security" agenda, little scholarly attention has been paid to the implications of this shift for international law. This article first charts the scope and genesis of "human security," including within the United Nations and in the Asia-Pacific region, and traces the views of key Asian governments on the concept. It then analyses the relationship between human security and human rights and highlights the likely adverse impacts on human rights law. The remainder of the article considers how the human security agenda may destabilize the constitutional distribution of powers among UN organs under the UN Charter, especially by transferring power away from the more participatory General Assembly and towards the less representative and less accountable Security Council. In line with the position of some Asian States, this article reasserts that UN organs other than the Security Council, along with other major international institutions, are the appropriate bodies within which to pursue and address human security issues. In particular, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council require revitalization to avoid the trap of securitizing issues that are better framed as developmental and social concerns.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: human security, Asia-Pacific, human rights law, non-traditional security threats
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33
Date posted: October 6, 2008
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