Security has been an extension of International
relations and global Politics for centuries.
To most of the scholars, security is a key
component to preserve sovereignty and
statehood. Wars, big and small, have been waged
to protect the territorial boundaries of state.
Before World War (II), states and alliances move on the path to traditional security
that was to strengthen up the muscles behind the guns. However, after World War
(II), security was seen as a concept that takes into account all spheres of life – from
an individual living in a community and the community itself to a sovereign state.
Still after the Cold War, state security remained dominant over security of the
The demise of Cold War paved the way for broadening the concept of security in all
directions and dimensions during 1990’s due to:
Decreased military threats
Eruption of a number of humanitarian
crises in Asia, Africa and Europe
Realization of the human rights
States certainly have the right to be secure but not at the cost of people.
According to Lloyd Axworthy:
“ The concept of human security does not oust or replace the traditional security
concept. Both concepts represents rather different ideas how to respond to existing
threats. The basis of the traditional security concept is sovereignty of a state, while
the basis of the concept of human security is sovereignty of an individual.”
TRADITIONAL SECURITY V/S HUMAN SECURITY
The concept of human security should be understood as a complement to the
traditional security and not as a substitute. The wars between Pakistan and India on
Kashmir had been waged with reference to the people of Kashmir. Likewise, the
Libya-Chad War in late 70’s, Tanzania-Uganda War of 1979, Eritrea-Ethiopia War of
1998-2000 and Nigeria-Cameroon armed conflict over oil rich Bekasi Peninsula
referred to either people or resources for their well-being.
There is yet another
difference between a state
and an individual in the
domain of security.
In the human security
paradigm, an individual
is referent to security
but not a securitizing
In the traditional
security paradigm, a
state is both a referent
to security and a
HUMAN SECURITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Human security and human rights both are, however, used and
understood by some as interchangeable terms. There are
concrete threads linking both, human security is an umbrella term
that encompasses human rights also in its broader folds.
The attainment of
absolute security in the
human society is a
difficult proposition in
the world where
various actors are
playing their role,
positive and negative.
Is there any country in
the world where
people enjoy total
But it has one of the
statistics in the world.
And so on…..
Human security can be analyzed on
A person living in a
despite the state of
crime, has better access
to justice and
Conversely, a person
living in a poor country
would have issues even
with the basis of life
including food, health,
security of life and
Thus, security needs to be managed in a manner that people enjoy at
least relative security if not absolute security.
Following the demise of Cold War, numerous outlooks, approaches and theories
appeared on the security horizon of the world, particularly by The Copenhagen
Barry Buzan from the Copenhagen School, can be considered as the pioneer of the
concept of human security even though he did not coin the term. He challenged the
purely state-centric concept of security and postulated that ultimate referent object
of security should be the individual.
The concept of human security also received theoretical stimulus from Liberalism.
In terms of security referent that is individual, it is considered to be related
theoretically to the Liberal School of Thought in international relations and security
TABLE SHOWING THE COMPARISON BETWEEN
TRADITIONAL AND HUMAN SECURITY
Security of whom
(the referent) Primarily the state Primarily the individual
Security of what values Territorial integrity and
Personal safety and
Security from what threats Direct threats from other
Direct threats from state
and non-state actors +
Security by what means Force as the primary
instrument of security
Humane government as
the key instrument of
TYPES OF HUMAN SECURITY AND
Access to secure
Access to curative
medicines and clean
Physical and economic
access to food
and ethnic groups
Safety against violence
Identity based tensions
Right to vote
Protection of land, air
Human rights abuses
UNITED NATIONS CHARTER FOR
Born out of the ashes of
World War (II), the UN
was overwhelmed by the
shadows of war and thus
stated security from the
“We, the peoples of United
Nations are determined to save
succeeding generations from
the scourge of war, which twice
in our lifetime has brought
untold sorrow to mankind…”
ISLAM AND HUMAN SECURITY
The word “Islam” literally means “peace”. Peace and security are used synonymously
when practically applied to inter-state and inter-human affairs. Thus, Islam signifies
peace and stands for security.
The Quranic concept of human rights is a complete paradigm of human security. A
number of Ahadith (sayings) of Holy Prophet (PBUH) refer to what we understand
today as the concept of human security.
Defining human security has remained as complex and
compound as are human needs and nature themselves.
Numerous scholars, policy makers and human rights experts
have tried to introduce different terms in this realm. However
the debate continues.