The concept of Human Security

The Concept of Human Security
Definition of Security
• Security denotes “freedom from various needs”;
• The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as: “the
condition of being protected from or not exposed to
danger; safety, freedom from anxiety or
apprehension, a feeling of safety or freedom from or
absence of danger.
• The idea of security contains therefore two
elements: an orientation to future risks and a focus
on risks of falling below some critical threshold of
Traditional Concept of Security
• In I.R, security means "National Security”:the
protection of the state from external threats;
• The use of the military to ensure the territorial
integrity of a sovereign state;
• Security studies and security establishments have
always been focused on foreign and defense policy
mechanisms to avoid, prevent and if need be win an
interstate military dispute;
Human Security: a shift from the focus on the
States to the focus on the human persons
• Human security is a concern with human life and
• It is the safety of the human being from all threats
such as hunger, joblessness, violence, sickness,
environmental issues
• Human security has four essential characteristics:
 It is universal;
 Its components are interdependent;
 It is best ensured through prevention;
 It is people-centered
Human Security
• Traditional Security
• Human Security
 State: everything is
subordinate and
consequent to the security
of States;
 The state is the most
important entity in the
International System;
 All states are sovereign and
the system is characterized
by non-interference;
 Security of the state is
guaranteed by the Armed
 Individuals(Human being)
 The Human being is the
most important entity;
 All humans are
interdependent and their
relations are regulated by
concern for their wellbeing;
 The security of the persons
depends on the
functionality of institutions
and systems.
• State security and Human security are not exclusive
of each other;
• Sometimes, State security can be pursued at the
expense of human security, thus creating insecurity
for humans;
• State security is a consequence, not cause of human
“The best way to guarantee human security is to help individuals fulfill their own
potential: that will guarantee his or her own security in every situation
everywhere that he or she happens to find himself or herself in. “
Mapping of Human Security Challenges
Threats to Human Security in Africa
Intra-state conflicts;
Disorganized and ill-disciplined armed groups;
Collapsed States;
Religious fundamentalism;
Harmful traditional practices(e.g: women land rights)
Emerging Threats to Human Security in
Human trafficking;
Drug trafficking;
Climate change;
Cyber security threats;
Electoral violence
Challenges posed by the Emerging Threats
• The actors are transnational groups;
• Highly mobile;
• Technological savvy;
• Cosmopolitan;
• High levels of infiltration of systems;
Local, National and International efforts
to improve Human Security
• Local level: grassroots organizations
• National level: civil society organizations
• Regional level/Continental: e.g: IGAD, EAC, ECOWAS,
• International level: U.N specialized agencies(e.g:
UNFPA, WFP, UNHCR,UN Women, etc.), NonGovernmental Organizations(NGOs)