The Insecurity of Human Security
47 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2014
Date Written: November 8, 2014
Since the mid-1990s, a new concept has entered into international discourse: human security. The concept of human security seeks to create a paradigm shift in conceptions of security. It aims to relocate the focus of protection from the state to individuals and to expand the scope of the conception of security from military security into broader areas, such as protection from hunger, natural disaster, poverty, and other threats not traditionally conceptualized in terms of security. Human security reflects the need for conceptual innovation in political, legal, national, and international discourse.
This article presents a conceptual analysis of human security. It clarifies the distinctions between national security and human security, and demonstrates how this term cuts across the familiar dichotomy between human rights and security by approaching subjects that were typically the concern of human rights discourse through a security prism. Human security thus requires revised thinking in both international and domestic law about, inter alia, the identification of threats to the security of the individual and the relationship between a government and its citizens.
The article offers a critical study of the human security concept. The author argues that although human security is normatively appealing, it suffers from numerous analytical shortcomings. Therefore, instead of promoting new concepts, the author argues that it is more useful to concentrate on the familiar concept of rights. If the aspiration is to protect human security in the broad sense, the international community should focus its efforts on the protection, promotion and realization of civil and political rights, together with social, economic, and cultural rights, instead of the promotion of new concepts. Genuine protection of human dignity, life, health, standard of living and a suitable environment, etc., will provide humanity’s true security.
Keywords: human security
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