What is Human Security?
Although its intellectual roots can be found in the 1940s, the concept of Human security (HS) first called attention when it was widely used in the UN Development Programme’s 1994 Human Development Report. Highlighting seven components of HS (economic security, food security, health security, environmental security, personal security, community security and political security), this report aimed to broaden the concept of security beyond narrow conceptions of state defence against external military threats. This traditional security conception based on the state security approach argues that security is provided by state institutions such as police and military.
However, in the post-cold war period when new threats (such as corruption, ethnic conflicts, human and arm trafficking, vulnerable system of information, access to judiciary etc.) appeared out of state control, old institutions of security have turned out to be ineffective. In an increasingly complex world, national borders are no longer dividing lines between security and insecurity. Since EU enlarged with the inclusion of the new member states around a ‘cross border citizenship’ conception, it has faced complicated insecurity issues. The concept of HS entered into the EU agenda in the 2000s in such a context when traditional security instruments become ineffective to resolve these insecurity issues. Including ‘freedom from fear’, ‘freedom from want’ and ‘right to live with dignity’ dimensions, HS refers to the security of individuals and communities. By means of a bottom up approach which refuses a top down security approach, it “humanizes security”. Thus, it offers a framework to deal with the new insecurity issues which have a transnational and cross border aspects. Realising these possibilities that the concept of HS offers, two reports were prepared by EU. In the Barcelona report, released in 2004, the need for a HS doctrine and a relevant legal framework was emphasised. Following this report, another report was released in 2007. This Madrid report focused on defining the concept of HS and how to deploy EU capabilities in this regard.
An Introduction to Human Security Approach
Concept of security has traditionally been associated with states than individuals, but certain developments in the contemporary world such as evident disparities of economic opportunities both within and between states; violent conflicts, socioeconomic deprivation, diminishing nonrenewable resources leading to increased number of human trafficking, immigrants and refugees, manifest xenophobia in both rhetoric and violence towards migration and minorities have made it more relevant to focus over the ‘individual’ as the prime dimension of security. HS, as the organizing concept of the network, represents an alternative approach to the security of individuals and communities referring to both ¨freedom from fear and ¨freedom from want¨. HS encompasses the well-known concepts of conflict prevention, crisis management, and civil-military relations and furthers them through widening the definition of ¨insecurity¨ and adding a human rights and human development based perspective to security policies. Putting individual-agency at the centre of the problem, questioning the scope and institutional structure of security provision, and extending and altering the perception of ¨threats¨ by taking into account the political, economic and social dimensions of security, HS implies a paradigm shift in traditional security mentality and policy-making. At the EU level, HS does not only give rise to a new-strategic narrative that has the potential of introducing new elements to EU Foreign Policy, in particular to Neighbourhood Policy, but also provides new insights for various other EU policies; (a) by integrating the objective of political stability based on democratic values to the debates on security; (b) by exploring economic and environmental aspects of security that create non-traditional security challenges, such as social exclusion, informal and illicit economies, organised crime, and poverty; and (c) by tackling the shortcomings related to good-governance and public sector reform from an alternative point of view.
HS dimension recognizes that the state borders are increasingly porous and more crucially, nation-state paradigm is no longer adequate to guarantee changing security needs. “Peaceful” and “secure” environment does not just mean the absence of war, but ‘securing’ the respect for human rights’ and social justice through increased cross-border cooperation, with an understanding of ‘common security’.
HS approach envisions a democratisation process in which respect for human rights becomes the organising principle of policy-making, as governments are focused on what makes citizens safe and adequately provided for and that mechanisms exist for individuals and groups to take decisions about their own lives. It also implies democratisation, transparency and accountability in policy-making as a part of the transformation from a closed elite model of governance to one based on the interests and participation of all citizens. Thus HS is appropriate as an overarching theme to guide civil society’s role in challenging and holding governments to account, and in shaping public debates about policy and reform processes, and promoting universal values and norms, as part of a necessary paradigm shift for re-imagining the role and nature of the state in the context of EU membership.