Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Human Security: Defining the Elephant and Imagining its Tasks

  • Tom FARER (a1)

Abstract

Like the apocryphal elephant defined by the blind men touching different parts of its anatomy, the content of the phrase “human security” varies with its users. In this sense it is rather like the phrase “self-determination”, which is widely employed by and for diverse interests.1 The lack of uniform definition or use stems in both cases not from intrinsic incoherence but from the way in which, from their first appearance, the phrases seemed to challenge the views, values, and interests of the practitioners of traditional diplomacy, powerful actors who then had a choice: resist them absolutely as rogue concepts threatening the very structure of international relations or neuter their revolutionary potential through an interpretation rendering them compatible with, even a reinforcement of, the basic structure of the status quo.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Human Security: Defining the Elephant and Imagining its Tasks
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Human Security: Defining the Elephant and Imagining its Tasks
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Human Security: Defining the Elephant and Imagining its Tasks
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

Corresponding author

Footnotes

Hide All
*

Dean, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver.

Footnotes

References

Hide All

1. See FARER, Tom, Confronting Global Terrorism and American Neo-Conservatism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) at 176177.

2. Global Environmental Change and Human Security, online: University of Oslo <http://www.iss.uio.no/gechs/conference-program/>; see also Gender and Human Security Issues Program, online: McGill University <http://gesh-ghsi.mcgill.ca/index_e/index_e.htm>.

3. Commission on Human Security, online: <http://www.humansecurity-chs.org/>.

4. OWENS, Heather and ARNEIL, Barbara, “The Human Security Paradigm Shift: A New Lens on Canadian Foreign Policy? Report of the University of British Columbia Symposium on Human Security” in Majid TEHRANIAN, ed., Words Apart: Human Security and Global Governance (London: I.B. Tauris, 1999).

5. The governments of Canada, Norway, Austria, Chile, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Thailand have established the Human Security Network, comprising states and non-governmental organizations. See “Chairman’s Summary” (First Ministerial Meeting of the Human Security Network, Bergen and Lysøen in Norway, 19–20 May 1999), online: Human Security Network <http://www.humansecuritynetwork.org/docs/Chairman_summaryMay99-e.php>.

6. STOETT, Peter, Human and Global Security: An Exploration of Terms (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999).

7. RICHMOND, Oliver, “Emancipatory Forms of Human Security and Liberal Peacebuilding’ (2007) International Journal 459477; see also PARIS, Roland, “Human Security Paradigm Shift or Hot Air?” (2001) 26 International Security 87; Kanti BAJPAI, “Human Security: Concept and Measurement”, Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, Occasional Paper, 19 August 2000; OBERLEITNER, Gerd, “Human Security A Challenge to International Law?” (2005) 11 Global Governance 185.

8. Bajpai, supra note 7; see also HEINBECKER, Paul, “On Human Security: Protecting People” (lecture to the Masters Programme in International Public Policy (MIPP), Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, 14 January 2009); OBUCHI, Keizo, “Toward the Creation of a Bright Future for Asia” (speech delivered at the lecture programme hosted by the Institute for International Studies, Hanoi, Vietnam, 16 December 1998).

9. For instance, Japan and Canada.

10. Japan has contributed more than US$227 million to the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security; see SAUL, Ben, “The Dangers of the United Nation’s ‘New Security Agenda’: ‘Human Security’ in the Asia-Pacific Region” (The University of Sydney, Sydney Law School, Legal Study Research Paper No. 08/114), online: <http://ssrn.com/abstract=1277582>.

11. Charter of the United Nations, art. 2(4).

12. DONNELLY, Jack, Realism and International Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000) at 146; see also MORGENTHAU, Hans, Politics among Nations (New York: Knopf, 1960).

13. Saul, , supra note 10 at 10.

14. 1994 Human Development Report, United Nations Development Programme, Chapter 2: New Dimensions of Human Security, online <http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr1994/chapters/>.

15. MOSLEY, Paul, HARRIGAN, Jane, and TOYE, John, Aid and Power: The World Bank and Policy-Based Lending (New York: Routledge, 1991).

16. HARRISS, John, Depoliticizing Development: The World Bank and Social Capital (London: Anthem Press, 2002).

17. SEN, Amartya, “Equality of What: The Tanner Lecture on Human Rights Values” (delivered at Stanford University, 22 May 1979); see also SEN, Amartya, Development as Freedom (New York: Knopf, 1999).

18. NYE, Joseph, Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power (New York: Basic Books, 1991); see also NYE, Joseph, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (New York: Public Affairs, 2004).

19. Farer, supra note 1 at 2.

20. Japan’s economic development aid policies, manifested in the development assistance, which it has extended to Asia countries since the 1950s, traditionally incorporated aspects of human security promotion. Japan also set up the Commission on Human Security in May 2003, with a mandate to “develop the concept of Human Security as an operational tool for policy formulation and implementation”; Sharon ONG, “Securing Human Security in an Insecure World: The ‘Asian Way’ ” (paper presented at the Second Biennial General Conference of the Asian Society of International Law, Tokyo, Japan, 1–2 August 2009); see also Diplomatic Bluebook 1999, Chapter II, Section 3 (A), online: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) <http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/other/bluebook/1999/>; “The Trust Fund for Human Security—For the “Human-centered” 21st Century”, online: MOFA <http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/human_secu/index.html>.

21. Paris, supra note 7. See also KHONG, Yuen Foong, “Human Security: A Shotgun Approach to Alleviating Misery?” (2001) 7 Global Governance 231.

22. TOMUSCHAT, Christian, Human Rights: Between Idealism and Realism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003) at 56. (Tomuschat is a former member of the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN's International Law Commission.)

23. Paris, supra note 7. See also Owens, and Arneil, , supra note 4 at 2.

24. Bajpai, supra note 7.

25. Human Security Commission, online: CHS <http://www.humansecurity-chs.org/>.

26. Human Security Commission’s Report, online: CHS <http://www.humansecurity-chs.org/finalreport/index.html>.

27. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals, online: UN <http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/>.

28. Ong, supra note 20; see also the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, 10 June 2002, art. 3(5), online: ASEAN <http://haze.asean.org/docs/1128506236/ASEANAgreementonTransboundaryHazePollution.pdf/view>.

29. HAQ, Mahbub ul, “New Imperatives of Human Security: Barbara Ward Lecture 1972” (1994) 2 Development 40; see also Bajpai, supra note 7.

30. Sen, supra note 17.

31. Ong, supra note 20.

32. Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, World Conference on Human Rights, UN Doc. A/CONF.157/23 (1993), chapter I(5).

33. CARLETON, David and STOHL, Michael, “The Foreign Policy of Human Rights: Rhetoric and Reality from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan” (1985) 7 Human Rights Quarterly 205.

34. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 19 December 1966, 999 U.N.T.S. 71, 6 I.L.M. 368 (entered into force 23 March 1976) [ICCPR], art. 1(1).

35. GOLDSMITH, Jack, “Should International Human Rights Law Trump US Domestic Law?” (2000) 1 Chicago Journal of International Law 327; see also IGNATIEFF, Michael, ed., American Exceptionalism and Human Rights (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005).

36. FARER, Tom, Confronting Global Terrorism and American Neo-Conservatism: The Framework of a Liberal Grand Strategy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).

37. See “Human Rights Watch Reports on War Crimes / Crimes against Humanity”, online: Human Rights Watch <http://www.hrw.org/en/publications/reports?filter0=712&filter1=**ALL**>.

38. Charter of the United Nations, Chapter 7.

39. FARER, Tom, “Un-Just War Against Terrorism and the Struggle to Appropriate Human Rights” (2008) 30 Human Rights Quarterly 356; see also WALZER, Michael, Just and Unjust Wars (New York: Viking, 1978).

40. I have joined the generality of commentators in finding that the invasion violated the Charter norms and that those norms enjoy sufficient support among states and other influential actors to be deemed positive law. See Farer, , supra note 36 at 43–78.

41. A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility, Report of the Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, UN Doc. A/59/565 (2004), at 52–5, see especially paras. 186 and 196.

42. Donnelly, supra note 12; See also MEARSHEIMER, John, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: Norton, 2001).

43. ACHARYA, Arabinda and ACHARYA, Amitav, “Human Security in Asia: Conceptual Ambiguity and Common Understandings” (2001) Centre for Peace and Development Studies, online: York University, Toronto 〈http://www.yorku.ca/robarts/archives/chandigarth/; see also ACHARYA, Amitav, “Human Security: East versus West” (2001) 3 International Journal 442 at 459.

44. Farer, supra note 1 at 2.

45. DEWITT, David, “Common, Comprehensive, and Cooperative Security” (1994) 7 The Pacific Review 1.

46. Second Biennial General Conference of the Asian Society of International Law Prospectus, online: 〈http://www.law.nus.edu.sg/asiansil/doc/AsianSILBiennialConference2009.pdf〉.

47. PERKIN, Harold, Individualism versus Collectivism in Nineteenth-Century Britain: A False Antithesis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977).

48. FRIEDMAN, Thomas, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution—And How it Can Renew America (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008); see also online: 〈http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/〉.

49. BERGER, Peter and HUNTINGTON, Samuel P., Many Globalizations: Cultural Diversity in the Contemporary World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).

50. Ong, supra note 20 at 2.

51. EVANS, Paul, “Asian Perspective on Human Security: A Responsibility to Protect?”(paper prepared for the “Human Security in East Asia” conference organized by UNESCO, The Korean National Commission for UNESCO and Korea University’s Ilmin International Relations Institute, Seoul, 16–17 June 2003).

52. Ong, supra note 20 at 3.

53. Ibid., at 4.

54. See PARISH, Randall and PECENY, Mark, “Kantian Liberalism and the Collective Defense of Democracy in Latin America” (2002) 39 Journal of Peace Research 229.

55. Goldsmith, supra note 35; and Ignatieff, supra note 35.

56. Farer, , supra note 36 at 29–42.

* Dean, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver.

Human Security: Defining the Elephant and Imagining its Tasks

  • Tom FARER (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.