Human Security

Human Security is about the protection of people more than the protection of States. Human Security and State Security should be- and often are – the same thing. But secure states do not automatically mean secure peoples. Protecting citizens from foreign attack may be a necessary condition for the security of individuals, but it is certainly not a sufficient one. Indeed, during the last 100 years, more people have been killed by their own governments than by foreign armies.

All proponents of human security agree that its primary goal is the protection of individuals. However, there are differences about precisely what threats individuals should be protected from. Proponents of the ‘narrow’ concept of human security focus on violent threats to individuals or, as former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan puts it, ‘’ the protection of communities and individuals from internal violence. ‘’ Proponents of the ‘’broad’’ concept of human security argue that the threat agenda should protect people from these threats as well as from violence. In its broadest formulation, the human stresses what has been called ‘freedom from want’ and ‘freedom from fear’ respectively.

The idea of global security emerged in the 1990’s in response to the global nature of threats such as global warming, international terrorism, and health epidemics like AIDS and bird flu and so on. No country can resolve these problems alone. And, in some situations, one country may have to disproportionately bear the brunt of a global problem such as environmental degradation. For example, due to global warming, a sea level of 1.5-2.0 meters would flood 20 percent of Bangladesh, inundate most of the Maldives, and threaten nearly half the population of Thailand. Since these problems are global in nature, international cooperation is vital, even though it is difficult to achieve.


Terrorism refers to political violence that targets civilians deliberately and discriminately. International terrorism involves the citizens or territory of more than one country. Terrorist groups seek to change a political context or condition that they do not like by force. Civilian targets are usually chosen to terrorize the public and to use the unhappiness of the public as a weapon against national governments or other parties in conflict.

The classic cases of terrorism involve hijacking planes or planting bombs in trains, cafes, markets and other crowded places. Since 11 September 2001 when terrorists attacked the World Trade Centre in America, other governments and public have paid more attention to terrorism, though terrorism itself is not new. In the past, most of the terror attacks have occurred in the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and South Asia.

Human Rights have come to be classified into three types.

The first type is political rights such as freedom of speech and assembly.

The second type is economic and social rights.

The third type is the rights of colonized people or ethnic and indigenous minorities.

While there is broad agreement on this classification, there is no agreement on which set of rights should be considered as universal human rights, nor what the international community should do when rights are being violated. Since the 1990’s, developments such as Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the genocide in Rwanda, and the Indonesian military’s killing of people in East Timor have led to a debate on whether or not the UN should intervene to stop human rights abuses. There are those who argue that the UN Charter empowers the international community to take up arms in defense of human rights. Others argue that the national interests of the powerful states will determine which instances of human rights violations the UN will act upon.

Global Poverty is another source of insecurity. World population- now at 650 crore – will reach 700 to 800 crore within 25 years and eventually level out at 900 to 1000 crore. Currently, half the world’s population growth occurs in just six countries- India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Among the world’s poorest countries, population is expected to triple in the next 50 years, whereas many rich countries will see population shrinkage in that period. High per capita income and low population growth make rich states or rich social groups get richer, whereas low incomes and high population growth reinforce each other to make poor states and poor groups get poorer.

Globally, this disparity contributes to the gap between the Northern and Sothern countries of the world. Within the South, disparities have also sharpened, as a few countries have managed to slow down population growth and raise incomes while others have failed to do so. For example, most of the world’s armed conflicts now take place in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is also the poorest region of the world. Poverty in the South has also led to large-scale migration to seek a better life, especially better economic opportunities, in the North. This has created international political frictions. International law and norms make a distinction between migrants (those who voluntarily leave their home countries) and refugees (those who flee from war, natural disaster or political persecution).

States are generally supposed to accept refugees, but they do not have to accept migrants. While refugees leave their country of origin, people who have fled their homes but remain within national borders are called ‘internally displaced people.’ Kashmiri Pandits that fled the violence in the Kashmir Valley in the early 1990s are an example of an internally displaced community.


The government wants to protect society from disruption owing to a disaster or crisis. With its National Security Strategy, it is examining the threats, how to prevent them, and what to do if a disaster occurs.

National Security is at stake when one or more of our country’s vital interests are threatened. Those interests are:

Territorial Security– this would be jeopardized by a military occupation, but also by prolonged flooding.

Economic Security– A major internet or electrical breakdown would disrupt online financial transactions.

Ecological Security– damage to the environment from pollution or extreme heat or drought

Physical Security– deaths, injuries and chronic illnesses caused by flooding or a pandemic

Social and political stability– violations of the rule of law caused by tensions between communities, for instance.


Each year, the government investigates potential threats to the country, how serious they are and how can we deal with them. This process is roughly divided into three steps-

Describing threats: what threats maybe facing the country.

Comparing threats: how serious would the consequences of a threat be, and how likely is it to be carried out? This is based on the National Risk Assessment. A summary of the National Risk Assessment would give us the idea of the method used.

Determining the approach: how the risk of an incident can be reduced (prevention) and how we can deal with an incident if it occurs (preparation and response).


In 2007, the government published its National Security Strategy (2007), which is summarized in the National Security Strategy Factsheet. The procedures for analyzing, comparing and dealing with threats are explored in a dedicated subsection.

The National Security Strategy implementation method is explained in the document Guidelines for the National Security Implementation Method:  Scenarios, Risk Assessment and Capacities (2009). The scientifically tested method and guidelines were drawn up by a group of experts from government, research institutes and the business sector.

In 2007 and 2008, the following threats were analyzed:

Floods: coastal and river flooding;

Extreme weather: extreme heat and drought; wildfires, heavy (snow) storms, black ice.

Energy security: power failures, gas failures and oil scarcity.

Infectious diseases: a flu pandemic;

Polarization and extremism: mass polarization and ghettoisation

ICT breakdowns: lack of digital security;

Serious accidents: nuclear and chemical incidents.

Criminal infiltration of mainstream society: criminal influence in public administration and the stock market, criminal interference in the business sector.

The results of the 2008 analysis can be found in the Findings of the National Security Strategy 2008/2009. The results of the 2007 analysis can be found in the Findings of the National Risk Assessment 2007/2008. The threats are described in the form of scenarios. These scenarios, together with the 2007 scenarios, are included in the case.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

You may also like to read:

United Nations

Importance of Alternative Dispute Resolution

Human Rights Day 2020


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