In this article we will discuss about:- 1. Introduction to Human Security 2. Basic Ideas behind Human Security 3. Concept 4. Challenges 5. Ensuring Human Security 6. Human Security and Social Security 7. Conclusion.
Introduction to Human Security:
The concept of security, from the very ancient period, has been interpreted narrowly. It has been treated as security of territory from external aggression, or as protection of national interest in foreign policy or as threat of a nuclear holocaust. The concept of security has been associated with the interests of nation-state than with those of the people.
In this process, the legitimate concern of the common people and their quest for individual security in their daily lives – protection from the threat of diseases, hunger, unemployment, crime, social conflict, political repression and environmental degradation – were forgotten.
For most people, the concept of insecurity comes mainly from the concerns about their survival, self-preservation and well-being in day-to-day context. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its Human Development Report of 1994 first articulated this dimension of security, which has been known as human security.
Basic Ideas behind Human Security:
According to Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to security of persons is a fundamental human right, together with a right to life and liberty. Human society emphasizes the need to strengthen empowerment of the citizens. Achievement of human society requires a global political culture that is founded on shared values of human dignity and human right. In essence, human society means freedom from pervasive threats to people’s rights, their safety or even their lives.
The main contraction of UNDP’S conception of Human Society was focusing on people and highlighting of vulnerability to threats other than violence. It saw security as on “integrative” rather that “defensive concept”. But it seemed to underplay threats from violence. It emphasizes that human security has a geographical and even international terrorism, drug trafficking as well as problem of international migrants spilling over outside the boundaries of the nation-state.
Democracy and good Governance are very important in promoting human security. Human security does not supplant national security. A Human Security perspective assorts that the security of the state is not an end in itself rather it is a means of ensuing Security for its people. In this context, state security and human security are mutually supportive. Building an effective, democratic state that values its own people and protects minorities is a central strategy for promoting human security.
Concept of Human Security:
Human security means safety for people from both violent and non-violent threats. It is the condition or state of being characterized by freedom from pervasive threats to people’s rights, their safety, or even their lives. Human security entails taking preventive measure to reduce vulnerability and minimize risk and taking remedial action where prevention fails.
The perception of Human Security Network is ‘Our vision is a human world where people can live in security and dignity, free from violent threats, poverty and despair.’ UN Secretary General Kofi-Annan articulated that the primary focus of security policy should be the protection of people, rather than the political and territorial integrity of states, is central to the concept of ‘human security’.
Human Security is a logical extension of recent approaches to international peace and security. The charter of UN embodies the view that security cannot be achieved by a single state in isolation. The phrase ‘international peace and security’ implies that the security of our state depends on the security of other states.
A human security perspective builds on this logic by noting that the security of people in one part of the world depends on the security of people elsewhere. A secure and stable world order is built both from the top down and from the bottom up. The security of states, and the maintenance of international peace and security, is ultimately constructed on the foundation of people who are secure.
According to the UNDP, human security is a universal concern; the compounds of human security are inter-dependent; human security is easier to ensure through early prevention; and human security is people-centered. The definition advance in the reports was extremely ambitious. Human Security was defined as the summation of seven distinct dimensions of security – economics, food, health, environment, personal, community and political. By focusing on people and highlighting non-traditional threats, the UNDP made an important contribution to post -Cold War thinking about security.
Challenges to Human Security:
In the changing international scenario, the threat perception to human security has also undergone a marked change. The diffused nature of conflicts the rise of market-oriented society in most part of the world and the uneven distribution of technological resources pose new challenges. In 1945, almost every nation on the planet made a commitment to eradicate severe poverty. Though such a goal may seem Utopian consider the progress made up till today. The momentum in poverty eradication can, however, be maintained only if political, social and economical institutions are guides by the goals of human development.
According to Oscar Arias, in the new era, “human security – in contrast to the traditional concept of security linked to military capacity and economic power – must be the ultimate goal of our development policies. In qualitative terms, human security represents the degree to which human beings are protected from ignorance, sickness, hunger, neglect, and persecution. It is the standard that dignifies human life – It is a child who is saved, a disease that is cured, an ethnic tension that is soothed, a dissident who speaks freely, and human spirit that has hope.”
Despite our achievements over the past few decades, it is crucial and calls for immediate action in the view of the following disturbing facts:
i. 40000 children die each day from malnutrition and disease.
ii. Water contaminated by sewage is estimated to kill two million children every year.
iii. Some 840 million go hungry or face food insecurity.
iv. 1.3 billion People live on income less than one dollar per day.
v. 1.5 billion People lack access to health services.
vi. 1.3 billion People lack access to potable water.
vii. Nearly one billion People are illiterate.
Ensuring Human Security:
Many believe that globalization is the real magic, which will ensure human security. The following measures could be conceived for ensuring a safer world for humanity –
First, security policies must be integrated much more closely with strategies for promoting human right, democracy, and development. Human rights, humanitarian and refugee law provide the normative fame work on which a human security approach is based. Development strategies offer broad based means of addressing many long-term human security challenges.
Second, due to the complexity of contemporary challenges to the security of the people, effective intervention involves a diverse range of actors including state, multilateral organization, and civil society. As the challenges to the safety of people are transnational, effective responses can only be achieved through multilateral cooperation.
This is evident in the array of new international instruments developed in the last decade to address transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, terrorism, and environmental degradation. These threats link the interest of the citizens in countries which enjoy a high level of human security with the interest of people in much poorer nations, who face the wider range of threats to their safety.
Third, effective responses will depend on greater operational coordination. For example, successful peace-support operations are multi-dimensional, and depend on the close coordination of political negotiators, peacekeepers, human right monitors, humanitarian aid personal among others. Furthermore, development agencies are now engaged in promoting security sector reform, while security organizations have helped channel development assistance in post-conflict countries. Managing these overlapping mandates and objectives is one of the principal challenges of a human security agenda.
Fourth, civil society organizations are seeking greater opportunity and greater responsibility in promoting human security. In many cases, non-governmental organizations have proven to be extremely effective partners in advocating the security of people. At the same time, the business sector, potentially a key factor in enhancing human security could be more effectively engaged.
Fifth, human security is enhanced by reducing people’s vulnerability and by preventing the conditions which make them vulnerable in the first place. Assisting people in highly insecure situations, particularly in the midst of violent conflict, is a central objective of the human security agenda. Building human security, therefore, requires both short-term humanitarian action and long- term strategies for building peace and promoting sustainable development.
Human Security and Social Security:
In explaining what social security is, one run the danger of being too specific or too general. Traditionally, the term ‘social security’ has been limited to mean the set of protective measures for the workers in the organized industries.
But a small portion of workers in the developing nations are in organized sector, and since the poor and marginal face uncertain livelihood option and general vulnerability regarding income and consumption opportunities, it is pertinent to expand the scope of the concept of social security.
In developing country, certain instruments have been found to be important, like unemployment, insurance, and old-age pension and individual benefits. This approach may not be all together useful appropriate when we study developing countries. The other danger in explaining the concept security is too general, instead of approaching the definition in term of objectives of removing deprivation and reducing vulnerability.
Taking this approach, we could end up including anything that contributes towards these objectives as social security measures, i.e., part of social security system. This approach would not take us very far because human well-being is affected by many social and economic factors and not all of them are or can be included in the definition of social security. Social security is a set of basic public action to reduce the vulnerability of affected people.
Government can adopt two broad approaches to social security measures. The first way is to promote general economic growth and the use of general benefits accruing from growth to help vulnerable sections of population. The second approach is to take public action measures directly in term of social sectors, such as education and health and also promoting better income distribution pattern and general employment. It is possible to argue that checking inflation also help in mitigating adverse effects of prices on the vulnerable sections of population.
Human security emphasizes the need to strengthen empowerment of the citizens. Achievements of human security require a global political culture that is founded on shared values of human dignity and human right. Hence important issues in human security like children in war, landmine and ethnic conflicts should be discussed from a broader human right perspective. In essence, human security means freedom from pervasive threats to people’s right, their safety or even their lives. Democracy and good governance are very important in promoting human security.
Conclusion to Human Security:
The term ‘human security’ recognizes the linkages between environment and society. It also recognizes two other features of the link between environment and security. First, that feedback exists between environment and security; for example, environmental degradation may result in population movement, which, in turn prose a threat to the environment.
The human development approach and the development of the human development index (HID) was a major step forward in reorienting development for improvement of the lives of the people and not merely economic growth.
Human development is expansionist in nature and deal with increasing social services along with economic development to increase opportunities. Human security provided an enabling environment for human development. Where violence or the threat of violence makes meaningful progress on the development agenda impossible, enhancing safety for people is a prerequisite.
Civil wars and riots depict such situations. Promoting human development can also be an important strategy for furthering human security. By addressing inequalities that are often the root causes of violent conflict, strengthening governance structures, complementing political, economic, and legal initiatives, can be enhanced human security.
The diversity of threats facing the world today cannot be met merely on the strength of national and international efforts. Response to the problems requires the gathering of information, the prompt and efficient mustering of human and material resources and sure development and execution in the field. In each of these phases, various non-governmental actors in ever increasing diversity such as international agencies, NGOs, and multinational corporations, are playing bigger roles.
It would also be effective to construct intellectual networks that are interdisciplinary and enable a smooth sharing and organic utilization of knowledge in all fields. The effect of these networks of knowledge will go beyond the realm of traditional concepts of human security and become the single greatest driving force of 21st century’s international order.
Finally, human security must also gather a broadly based understanding and support, inclusive of developing countries, in the United Nations, a universal organization with 188 member countries. Moreover, the United Nations is probably the sole entity capable of playing a central role in coordinating the execution of measures needed for human security.