Jüdisches Leben in EuropaMit der Hilfe des Himmels

Promises - endlich auf Video!


A New Concept of Human Security

Sadako Ogata, International Herald Tribune, 8 May 2003

Falls Sie Lust haben diesen Artikel fuer haGalil onLine (ehrenamtlich) zu uebersetzen, melden Sie sich bitte hier.

TOKYO - New thinking and policies about security are urgently required. Despite the fact that security is on the top of the agenda of many countries and organizations, little scrutiny of the concept is taking place.

Security means many things to different people and there is no broad consensus on its meaning. The fight against terrorism; the diffusion of weapons of mass destruction; the Iraq war; the spread of infectious diseases; the loss of employment and the decline in economic growth have all an impact upon security in different ways. As a consequence, people and countries feel more insecure and apprehensive today than at the start of the 21st century.

Yet the opportunities for working toward removing these threats are better than ever. The rapid movement of people, capital, goods and ideas within and across borders deeply affects the capacity of states to manage security issues in an interdependent world.

Globalization, despite its challenges, creates new opportunities for economic expansion and, if properly managed, can reach people and countries previously excluded. Democratic principles and practices are gaining ground and support. Civil society plays an unprecedented role in setting the security agenda and policies.

It is within this complex and changing context that the independent Commission on Human Security has sought to develop a new security concept - and policies to go with it - that focus on people, rather than on states. Assisted by 10 distinguished commissioners, the development economist Amartya Sen and I co-chaired the commission. Its report was presented to the United Nations secretary-general, Kofi Annan, on May 1.

Human security is concerned with safeguarding and expanding people's vital freedoms. It requires both protecting people from critical and pervasive threats and empowering people to take charge of their own lives. Protection refers to the norms, policies and institutions essential to shield people and implies a "top-down approach," such as the rule of law and democratic governance. Empowerment underscores the role of people as actors and participants and implies a "bottom-up" approach.

Human security does not seek to supplant state security, but rather to complement it. States have the fundamental responsibility of providing security. Yet they often fail to fulfil their obligations - and are often the source of threats to people. As is shown by the many violent conflicts and the extreme poverty in the world, states cannot be secure if people's security is at stake. But neither can people be secure in the absence of strong, democratic and responsible states, as collapsed states illustrate. These are the challenges in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine today.

Human security also underscores the close linkages between gross human rights violations and national and international insecurities. The Rwandan genocide represents one of the worst human security failures. Nearly 10 years later, the consequences still reverberate through the Great Lakes region of Africa. Realizing human rights lies at the core of protecting and empowering people.

Human security also adds an important dimension to development thinking. As Amartya Sen argues "development can be seen as a process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy." By focusing on downside risks, human security emphasizes that people must be protected when facing sudden and profound reversals in economic and social life. In addition to "growth with equity," human security is equally concerned with "downturns with security." In the absence of safety nets, people face pervasive insecurities in sudden economic crises - which, in turn, may be exacerbated by increasing conflict and violence, as recent examples in Asia and Latin America illustrate.

At a time when the exercise of "hard" military power seems to leave little scope for "soft" power, of promoting democratic principles or respecting freedom and human rights, the call for a new security consensus may appear ill-timed. But hard power alone does not win the minds and confidence of people.

If security is to be protected, conflict prevented, human rights respected and poverty eradicated, a new consensus on security is urgently required. This is a shared responsibility. Human security provides an impetus for all countries, whether developed or developing, to review existing security, economic, development and social policies. Creating genuine opportunities for people's safety, livelihood and dignity should be the overall aim of such policies.

The writer, a former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, is co-chair of the Commission on Human Security. Its report, Human Security Now: Protecting and Empowering People, is available at humansecurity-chs.org.

From the Common Ground News Service
hagalil.com 15-06-2003



Refusenik Watch,
Gush Shalom
New Profile
Shalom achshav

[Hevenu Schalom

Radio Hebrew:
[Kesher israeli]

Copyright: hagalil.com / 1995...

haGalil onLine