Liberate the potentials of human security
INCREASING concern about the downhill slide of human security is very much discernable in the current context of insularity that has engulfed the best part of the world. As we ready ourselves to observe Human Rights Day (December 10) one regrets that the human security situation is yet to show syndromes of recovery from the trend that has set in since early this century. The right to protection of life and liberty focuses on the necessity of human security, which is in jeopardy because of the spurt of religious and ethnic extremism. The hegemonistic stance of the big powers for economic domination cannot be taken as a peripheral issue.
Human security entails taking of preventive measures to reduce vulnerability and minimise risk, and taking remedial action where prevention fails. Human security is about protection and is not simply synonymous with humanitarian aid. Human security asserts that security of the state is not an end in itself, rather it is a means of ensuring security for its people. In fact, human security highlights the need to address the root causes of the insecurity and to ensure people's future safety.
In essence, human security means safety for people from both violent and non-violent threats and, therefore, should evoke everybody's interest to play a role, regardless of caste, creed and culture, so that we can make our world an abode where safety and harmony rule the roost.
We know that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) includes rights to life, to nationality, to own property, to education, to social security, to liberty, to a standard of living adequate for health and well being. UDHR also enshrines in it the right to recognition as a person before the law and to equal protection under the law.
Studies conducted so far reveal gross violation of right to life due to introduction of human bombers and retaliatory military measures. Damage to resources and properties due to natural calamities and armed conflict induces internal and cross-border displacement. These strain a nation's economy hugely and add to the misfortune of the people who are struggling to survive.
When states are externally aggressive, internally repressive and too weak to govern effectively, they threaten human security. So it is imperative for states to ensure good governance, a cardinal requirement to ensure security, which can be achieved through ensuring justice and fair-play. The political system practiced in a country has reckonable bearing on human security.
Democracy, free from the control of a few oligarchs, can give fillip to the rise of friendly leadership, which is essential to accommodate the needed flexibility that sustains security initiatives. It is said that the central strategy for promotion of human security is building of an effective democratic state that values its own people and protects minority. These factors should be considered essential to ensure legitimacy and stability of a country.
Security of states and maintenance of peace are constructed on the foundation of the people who are secure. Today, diabolical extensions of security stakes have led nations to conclude that no single nation can address this intrinsic problem in isolation. The following measures could be considered to address the security threats:
-Protection from crime;
-Respect for human rights;
-Equitable access to justice;
-Protection from all kinds of violence;
-Respect for political rights;
-Restrained use of state apparatus against opponents;
-Promotion of right to information; and
-Safety from state sponsored extra judicial killing.
Under-development is considered to be one of the stifling laybacks to development of human security. It constrains the process of policy formulation of the government. It is said that human security offers a new angle of vision and a broad template for formulating policies pertaining to safety of the citizens from poverty, health hazards, natural calamity induced casualties of men and materials, and wheeling-dealing of antisocial and political cadres with impunity.
Another hair rising development being noticed these days is the declining regard for women, children and sick people during armed conflict or even during peacetime use of bombs and explosives. In my understanding there should be more targeted focus on the following issues to find ways to arrest:
-Unchecked proliferation of small arms;
-Growing criminality due to drug abuse and gun running;
-Easy accessibility to drugs by children and jobless people who fall easy prey to cajoling by drug barons who search for peddlers;
-Protection of women, children, old and sick people during armed conflict.
We cannot let human insecurity get the better of peace and prosperity. So we should involve ourselves in mental gymnastics to find out how we can map measures to guard against threats arising from human insecurity. Human development can probably be an important strategy for furthering human security. This can be achieved by:
-Addressing inequalities, which are often the root cause of violent conflict and betrayal of social stability;
-Strengthening governance structures;
-Providing humanitarian assistance;
-Promoting healthy and fair politics based on freedom of choice, right to information, accountability and transparency.
Researchers and stakeholders are of the view that human security can be enhanced provided there is committed political will, which is sure to receive overwhelming support of the majority of the citizens. According to researchers some of the fundamental strategies towards this end could be:
-Strengthening of legal norms;
-Building of capacity to enforce justice;
-Restricting illegal trafficking of small arms;
-Banning recruitment of children as soldiers;
-Prohibiting exploitative child abuse;
-Providing greater protection for internally displaced people;
-Ensuring applicability of the legal standards to non-state actors and to violence below the threshold of armed conflict;
-Ensuring democratic governance.
Development highlights the positive dimension of the concept that absence of guarantee of human security constitutes a powerful barrier to human development, and that its presence will provide opportunity to liberate the potential for growth. Building institutional capacity without strengthening respect for norms would undermine a human centered standard of security.
Strengthening norms without building the capacity to protect them will only invite disillusionment with the possibility of constraining power by the rules of law. The power of humanity to protect human dignity and security would stem only from the realisation of the need for living in an environment of amity, which is the sum total of patience, tolerance and an immense urge for sharing sensitivities, values, norms and standard sociopolitical dynamics.