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The Role of the Human Security Perspective

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From Cold War to Cyber War

Abstract

This contribution gives a rough overview of the state of the art in the field of human security research and practice. After 20 years of existence, the concept of human security has seen ups and downs in the United Nations and scholarly literature. However, the United Nations has recently agreed on a definition and the concept is broadly employed in the context of violent and non-violent security issues. While international organizations are still hesitant to use the concept directly, there appear to be various forms of indirect use. This is in line with an emerging human rights-based approach to security and humanitarian action. Whereas challenges remain both on a conceptual and a practical level, there is a growing common understanding of the main characteristics of the concept, which remains an inspiring perspective for many scholars and actors.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Benedek is head of the Institute of International Law and International Relations and director of the European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy of the University of Graz, Austria.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    See M. C. Kettemann, The Future of Individuals in International Law, Utrecht 2013 and A. Peters, Jenseits der Menschenrechte, Die Rechtsstellung des Individuums im Völkerrecht, Tübingen 2014 und.

  2. 2.

    See A. A. Cancado Trindade, International Law for Humankind, Towards a New Jus Gentium, 2nd ed., Leiden 2013.

  3. 3.

    See also W. Benedek, Challenges of Humanization of International Relations by International Law, in: M. Pogačnik (ed.), Challenges of Contemporary International Law and International Relations. Liber Amicorum in Honour of Ernest Petrič, Nova Gorica 2011, pp. 81–92.

  4. 4.

    See UNDP, New Dimensions of Human Security, Human Development Report 1994, New York 1994.

  5. 5.

    See Commission on Human Security, Human Security Now, Protecting and Empowering People, New York 2003, p. 4.

  6. 6.

    See B. Docherty, Breaking New Ground: The Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Evolution of International Humanitarian Law, in: Human Rights Quarterly 31 (2009), pp. 934–963.

  7. 7.

    See N. MacFarquhar, U.N. Treaty is First Aimed at Regulating Global Arms Sales, The New York Times, 2 April 2013; UN Doc. A/CONF. 217/2013/L.3, 27 March 2013.

  8. 8.

    See G. Oberleitner, Human Security: Idea, Policy and Law, in: M. Martin/T. Owen (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Human Security, Abingdon 2013, pp. 319–330, at p. 327.

  9. 9.

    This agenda ranged from issues like the protection of women and children in armed conflict and the promotion of humanitarian law to fighting HIV/Aids (Thailand) and promoting food security (Chile).

  10. 10.

    See Chile, on Behalf of the HSN, in: Press Release of Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs of 26 September 2013 and Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations in New York, High-level Meeting of the Human Security Network, 26 September 2014, Press Release, at http://www.bmeia.gv.at/fileadmin/user_upload/bmeia/media/Vertretungsbehoerden/OV_New_York/Press_release_HLM_HSN_as_adopted.pdf (accessed on 30 January 2015).

  11. 11.

    See UN Doc. A/RES/60 (2005), 24 October 2004, para. 143.

  12. 12.

    See Report of the UN Secretary General, UN Doc. A/64/701, 8 March 2010, para. 72 (b).

  13. 13.

    See Report of the Secretary General, Follow-up to the General Assembly Resolution 64/291 on Human Security, UN-Doc. A/66/763 of 5 April 2012.

  14. 14.

    See Resolution on the Follow-up to para. 143 on Human Security of the 2005 World Summit Outcome, UN Doc. A/RES/66/290, 25 October 2012, para. 3.

  15. 15.

    See African Union Non-Aggression and Common Defence Pact, at http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/AFRICAN_UNION_NON_AGGRESSION_AND_COMMON_DEFENCE_PACT.pdf (all accessed on 25 April 2014).

  16. 16.

    See also R. D. Sharamo/C. Ayangafac (eds.), The State of Human Security in Africa. An Assessment of Institutional Preparedness, Addis Abeba 2011.

  17. 17.

    See Human Security Report Project, Human Security Report 2012: Sexual Violence, Education, and War: Beyond the Mainstream Narrative, Vancouver 2012.

  18. 18.

    See A. Lautensach/S. Lautensach (eds.), Human Security in World Affairs: Problems and Opportunities, Vienna 2013.

  19. 19.

    See S. Werthes/C. Heaven/S. Vollnhals, Assessing Human Insecurity Worldwide, The Way to a Human (In)Security Index, INEF-Report 102/211, Duisburg 2011.

  20. 20.

    See at www.humansecuritynetwork.net; the network has more than 40 members.

  21. 21.

    United Nations, Human Security Unit, OCHA, Lessons from the Field, Applying the Human Security Approach through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security, New York 2013.

  22. 22.

    See, for example, M. Reiterer, The EU’s Comprehensive Approach to Security in Asia, in: European Foreign Affairs Review 19 (2014), pp. 1–22.

  23. 23.

    See the guidelines at http://eeas.europa.eu/human_rights/guidelines/index_en.htm and the handbook, which was produced under the German EU Presidency, Mainstreaming Human Rights and Gender into European Security and Defence Policy, 2008, at http://eeas.europa.eu/csdp/documents/pdf/news144_en.pdf.

  24. 24.

    See Study Group on Europe’s Security Capabilities, A Human Security Doctrine for Europe, Barcelona 2004 and Study Group on Europe’s Security Capabilities, A European Way of Security, Madrid 2007; See also M. Martin/M. Kaldor (eds.), The European Union and Human Security: External intervention and Missions, London 2009 as well as G. Oberleitner, supra note 8, pp. 319–330.

  25. 25.

    See M. Martin/T. Owen, The Second Generation of Human Security: Lessons from the UN and EU Experience, in: International Affairs 86 (2010), pp. 211–224.

  26. 26.

    See M. Martin, Back to the Future for “Human Security”, openDemocracy, 13 July 2013, at https://www.opendemocracy.net/mary-martin/back-to-future-for-%E2%80%98human-security%E2%80%99.

  27. 27.

    See W. Benedek, Mainstreaming Human Security in UN and EU Peace and Crises Management Operations, Policies and Practice, in: W. Benedek/M. C. Kettemann/M. Möstl (eds.), Mainstreaming Human Security in Peace Operations and Crises Management, Policies, Problems, Potential, London/New York 2011, pp. 13–31.

  28. 28.

    See W. Benedek/C. Daase/V. Dimitrijevic/P. van Dyne (eds.), Transnational Terrorism, Organized Crime and Peace Building. Human Security in the Western Balkans, Basingstoke 2010.

  29. 29.

    See T. Hadden (ed.), A Responsibility to Assist, Human Rights Policy and Practice in European Union Crises Management Operations, Oxford/Portland 2009.

  30. 30.

    See M. C. Kettemann, supra note 1, p. 3.

  31. 31.

    See W. Benedek, Human Security and Human Rights Interaction, in: M. Goucha/J. Crowley (eds.), Rethinking Human Security, Oxford 2008, pp. 7–18 and W. Benedek/M. C. Kettemann, Menschliche Sicherheit und Menschenrechte, in: C. Ulbert/S. Werthers (eds.), Menschliche Sicherheit, globale Herausforderungen und regionale Perspektiven, Baden-Baden 2008, pp. 94–109.

  32. 32.

    See G. Oberleitner, Porcupines in Love, The Intricate Convergence of Human Rights and Human Security, in: European Human Rights Law Review 6 (2006), pp. 588–606.

  33. 33.

    See W. Benedek (ed.), Understanding Human Rights, Manual on Human Rights Education, 3rd ed., Vienna/Antwerp 2012, and the language versions, at www.manual.etc-graz.at.

  34. 34.

    See Human Security Perspectives, at http://www.etc-graz.at/typo3/index.php?id=853.

  35. 35.

    See G. Oberleitner, Human Rights in Armed Conflict: Law, Practice, Policy, Cambridge 2015.

  36. 36.

    See A. de Guttry/O. Green/W. Benedek (eds.), Peace-Building and Human Security After Conflicts: The Significance of Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships, to be published, as well as the multipart website, at http://www.multi-part.eu/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=72&Itemid=121.

  37. 37.

    See UN-Document S/RES/1894 (2009) of 11 November 2009.

  38. 38.

    See V. Holt/G. Taylor/M. Kelly, Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peace Keeping Operations, Successes, Setbacks and Remaining Challenges, New York 2009.

  39. 39.

    See Human Security as a New Operational Framework, at http://www.asser.nl/Default.aspx?site_id=26&level1=14462&level2=14464.

  40. 40.

    See on the project and the conference on “Humanizing Security”, at http://cn4hs.org/istanbul-regional-conference-humanizing-security-31-january-1-february-2014.

  41. 41.

    See M. Martin/T. Owen, supra note 25 and The Human Security Network, Fifteen Years On, at http://cips.uottawa.ca/the-human-security-network-fifteen-years-on.

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Benedek, W. (2016). The Role of the Human Security Perspective. In: Heintze, HJ., Thielbörger, P. (eds) From Cold War to Cyber War. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-19087-7_10

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