HUMAN SECURITY: No Longer Just Hot Air
Human security has encouraged governments, policymakers, scholars, international institutions, and even presidents to think about security as something different from the neorealism approach. Thereby, human security has propelled a new concept of security in addition to balance of power, security dilemma, national security, and military capabilities. Nowadays, everyone everywhere uses the term human security. Human security is the subject of an endless number of research projects and reports. Amazingly, it is also a graduate program offered by many universities around the world.
The rationale of human security is that the safety of the states is linked to individuals; it also recognizes states as potential generators of insecurity. Thereby this new security concept, based on individual sovereignty and protection of the human beings, challenges state sovereignty and national security. In practice, these dissimilar security approaches could produce tensions not only within a state but also in the international community. The issue with human security is the danger that it poses to the concept of national security. States pay a different price when they decide to give priority to their citizens rather than give priority to their selfish national interests; protecting human beings represents something different than the protection of state interests and some states are neither willing nor prepared to assume this responsibility. For that reason, human security at some point can be problematic, imposing more constraint to the states and generating tension.
This essay focuses on the question of whether or not human security has been taken seriously by the international community. This question has emerged from the debate of whether or not states should consider human security as a paradigm shift rather than merely “hot air.” My hypothesis is that human security, despite its all-encompassing definition, has accomplished much more than other security approaches in less time and that is demonstrated in the creation of the International Criminal Court; the development of international humanitarian law and human rights; and the deployment of more complex humanitarian operations, just to cite three examples.
This paper proceeds as follows:
First, I discuss human security as a different security approach from neorealism.
Second, I explore the agreed international definition of human security adopted by the United Nations in 1994, as a departure point, in order to test whether or not human security has been taken seriously by the international community in the last several years. This testing process is presented in the last sections. Therefore, this essay analyzes humanitarian interventions, the responsibility to protect, human rights, and the creation of the International Criminal Court as human security accomplishments that test and prove the hypothesis as correct.
The above final section of the paper proposes an opposing view to the assumption that human security is so vague that it verges on meaninglessness and consequently offers little practical guidance to people interested in applying the concept. Contrarily, this paper defends and demonstrates that human security is a central component of international security that offers a much more useful approach based on human-centered thinking.
1. Human Security: A Different Security Approach
It is possible to outline the concept of human security (HS) using neorealism as a contrasting approach. According to traditional neorealist thinking, security focuses on military defense of national interests. This approach, which has dominated the security field for many years, has centered its rationale on states. Besides, it has overstressed military threats and capabilities assuming that “states are the safe haven that protects citizens from the intrusion of anarchy and disorder.” Contrarily, the concept of HS has gone beyond the traditional idea of security, taking into account that security “might mean different things to different people, and in fact might have no precise meaning.” The human security approach also argues that a states’ security is linked to individual security. Thereby, the security of the states is a means to guarantee citizens’ security. Comparable reasoning is found in the social contract philosophy rationalized by Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau in which states not only exist to serve the will of the people but also to provide protection of their well being; in Rousseau’s words, the “new-born state arises from a contract among individuals to escape the horrible state of war.”
According to the neorealism approach, the main threat for states emerges from other states. That’s why Waltz argues that within a self-help world, states have to do whatever they think necessary for their own preservation. In other words, being unsure about other states’ intentions, the security dilemma becomes an unbearable reality. Waltz also predicted automatic balance of power but, contrary to his expectations, no country since 1991 has emerged to perform such balance. In fact powerful and emerging economies lack the rationale to invest too much money in national defense (e.g. Japan, United Kingdom, and Brazil). Conversely, from the HS view, threats emerge from different sources including states and non-state actors and force is no longer the ideal instrument to provide security. In the case that force would be necessary, its usage would be multilateral and under the intervention of international institutions.
Another paramount difference between neorealism and HS is related to the nature of threats. From the HS angle, security threats may come from the state itself. That is an important political aspect taking into account that democracy exists to protect the rights of individuals. Thereby, the new security approach recognizes states as generators of insecurity through direct or indirect threats as a consequence of the states’ actions in the name of national security. For Dan Caldwell, the new security paradigm imposes more restraints on the states due to increased interconnectedness of people and their problems which forces states to work together. Besides, the new security paradigm imposes a moral responsibility because “seeking security in an insecure world for one’s state alone is a strategy doomed to failure. This is especially true in light of the increasing interconnectedness, but it has been a fact of life throughout history… We cannot ignore the security of others without endangering our own.”
Summing up the features pointed out in the above paragraphs, it is possible to assert that while the traditional notion of security is based on states’ sovereignty and the protection of national interests, HS is based on individual sovereignty and the protection of human beings. Thereby, its materialization implies transnational cooperation as a realistic way to face threats. This cooperation can be achieved through the creation of international organizations (IOs), the strengthening of norms, and the participation of both large and small states. Among these three mechanisms, equal participation of the states through IOs provides noteworthy human security results. Within IOs all states have the right to participate. Particularly, they have “voice opportunities” –using Joseph Grieco’s terminology, “weaker states, under conditions of interdependence have the desire to have a voice in decision; states favor institutionalized ties with a stronger partner as a way of following them to work for a mutual gain and to avoid becoming a vassal of the partner.” This situation also boosts the use of “soft power” as a tool to get a better position within the global system, “soft power is the ability to get desired outcomes because others want what you want. It [soft power] is the ability to achieve goals through attraction rather than coercion.” Countries such as Canada, Norway, and Japan have been using this rationale as a strategy to get a better position in the international system through the creation of the Human Security Network and the Commission on Human Security. These three countries, particularly Canada is an outstanding example of how countries can modify their policies and strive to achieve a reasonable concept of nation by prioritizing human beings. The 2002 U.S National Security Strategy is another example of how states (in this cases the United States) can gradually realize the importance of prioritizing human beings, “the United States now finds itself engaged around the world in military operations and initiatives that have little to do with fighting, but everything to do with providing humanitarian assistance, training foreign militaries, and building security, justice, and law enforcement institutions to improve domestic stability.” As a conclusion, it is possible to point out that the only effective way to grapple with global security concerns is to move beyond the traditional focus of national security to the organizing concept of HS, in which the definition offered by the United Nations is very useful.
2. International Human Security Definition
Human security has been defined from different scholarly perspectives; this landscape has erroneously been regarded as a shortcoming. However, this apparent weakness should be considered as a strong point – “Human security is powerful precisely because it lacks precision and thereby encompasses the diverse perspectives and objectives of all the members of the coalition. The political coalition that now uses human security as a rallying cry has chalked up significant accomplishments, including the signing of an anti-personnel land mines convention and the imminent creation of an international criminal court.” It is important to point out that this paper does not pretend to offer a narrow definition of HS. Instead, this document, shifting from the scholarly definitions, uses the institutional human security definition adopted in 1994 by the United Nations (UN).
Since 1948, with the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the concept of security underwent many changes. During the Cold War, the UN could not manage the majority of the globe’s security affairs mostly due to the predominance of the traditional neorealist thinking – “the UN’s security machinery was essentially marginalized for most of the Cold War. It was not until the Iron Curtain fell and later the Soviet Union imploded that the UN assumed a substantial role in international peace and security.” This fact was reflected in events such as the attack on Egypt by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel in 1956; Indonesia’s campaign against the Netherlands’ territorial possession in New Guinea in 1960; India’s conquest of the Portuguese colony of Goa in 1961; Somalia’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1975; Tanzania’s conquest of Uganda in 1978; Vietnam’s invasion of Democratic Kampuchea in 1978; the Soviet Union’s campaign in Afghanistan in 1979; Iraq’s invasion of Iran in 1980; and Argentina’s attack on the United Kingdom Falkland Islands colony in 1982. Nevertheless, the post-Cold War period, encouraged by both President Bush’s proclamation of a “New World Order” and the rise of numerous international organizations, brought hope to the international community.
The years following the collapse of the Soviet Union were essential for the deconstruction of the traditional neorealist approach. The security studies’ debate allowed to both broaden and deepen the definition of security – “By broadening, I mean the consideration of nonmilitary security threats, such as environmental scarcity and degradation, the spread of disease, overpopulation, mass refugee movements, nationalism, terrorism, and nuclear catastrophe. By deepening, I mean that the field is now more willing to consider the security of individuals and groups, rather than focusing narrowly on external threats to states.” Unquestionably, new global threats increased, inter-state confrontations decreased, and within the UN the traditional security notion was re-thought due to the events of the new post-Cold War era.
The debate of a new security agenda began and the international community became much more conscious that “most of the world’s nearly seven billion people are threatened by problems unrelated to war within states.States acknowledged that there was no such thing as absolute security, so states recognized HS as an important tool in world politics. As a consequence of that, in the beginning of the 1990s the idea of HS developed and marked a paradigm shift from the traditional focus of security studies to a new approach based on individuals as a metric. In 1992, the UN formulated the Agenda for Peace; in the words of the UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali, “the enduring importance of the Agenda for Peace is that while prioritizing the security of people rather than states, the ultimate responsibility for securing humans is passed back to the states.” According to this concept, states are the “foundation stone” in international systems, but their sovereignty is not absolute.
Two years later the UN Development Programme(UNDP) adopted an official concept of human security in its Global Human Development Report. This document called for the adoption of a human security agenda to encompass the new critical issues threatening the world community. It is important to point out the importance of this report because “much of the literature on human security attributes the official launching of the concept in global politics to the UNDP Human Development Report (HDR) of 1994, which treats it as an extension of the human development paradigm.”
The second chapter of the HDR entitled “New Dimension of Human Security” defined human security as a universal, interdependent, and people-centered concern relevant to rich and poor people everywhere, “human security means that people can exercise their choices safely and freely-and that they can be relatively confident that the opportunities they have today are not totally lost tomorrow.” Furthermore, the report divided life’s contingences into seven areas of security: economic security, food security, environmental security, health security, personal security, community security, and political security.
In conclusion, the UN definition agreed upon by the country members if applied would provide security from chronic threats, such as hunger, poverty, disease, violence, and the prevention of sudden and painful threats to human lives. Human security as a security tool has produced significant changes in the global system particularly in the way states apply national security and provide priority to human beings. Despite its broad definition, human security has accomplished much more than other security approaches in less time and that will be demonstrated in the following sections.
- TESTING HUMAN SECURITY: Humanitarian Intervention
During the Cold War the use of force to save victims of human rights abuses was considered a violation of the UN Charter and that situation allowed governments to commit any kind of atrocities against their population. These kinds of actions, even thought rejected by the international society, went unpunished, and for that reason “intervention by force gained importance as the only means of enforcing the global humanitarian norms that have evolved in the wake of the Holocaust. This fundamentally challenges the established principles of non-intervention and non-use of force.” In the debate of humanitarian intervention, the HS approach has helped to envisage the concept of sovereignty in a different way because doing nothing in order to relieve the suffering of others may lead to moral charges. HS opened the path for a broad interpretation of Chapters VI and VII, allowing the creation of the so-called peacekeeping operations that were not explicitly mentioned in the UN Charter. By the same token, states recognized humanitarian intervention as a legitimate practice and the UN was able to carve out a role in security matters. Indeed, HS distorted the neorealist argument, which established that states appealing to self-defense could always justify their actions in international politics.
Some interesting case studies about the evolution of humanitarian and military intervention have been written in the last two decades. However, due to its methodology and deep research, the case study book written by Nicholas Wheeler provided enough empirical evidence to decide what counts as a legitimate humanitarian intervention considering the HS approach. By analyzing Cold War events such as the: (1) India’s use of force against Pakistan-1971, (2) Vietnam’s intervention in Cambodia-1978 (3) Tanzania’s use of force against Uganda-1978; and the humanitarian interventions after the Cold War: (1) Iraq, (2) Somalia, (3) Rwanda, (4) Bosnia, and (4) Kosovo, the author defines humanitarian intervention as moral duty in cases of supreme humanitarian emergencies where the requirements of proportionality and necessity must be satisfied. By exploring the above deplorable events, it is possible to observe an evolution in the scope of humanitarian intervention marked by the predominance of the security of people rather than security of states.
In the years initially following the Cold War, humanitarian interventions were based on states’ legitimation in which the balance of power between the major states enabled and constrained interventions – “most of the interventions during the Cold-War even though were not authorized by the UNSC, were legitimated according to the humanitarian claims pleaded by the major states (…) However, the structure of the society of states was not sufficiently constraining to prevent India, Vietnam, and Tanzania from the use of force.” The thesis advanced in Wheeler’s book is that those actions “were justifiable because the use of force was the only means of ending atrocities on a massive scale, and the motives/means employed were consistent with a positive humanitarian outcome.” However, later post-Cold War years reflected not only changes in global balance but also changes in domestic level toward protection of civilians. Human atrocities were no longer tolerated alongside with the fact that media became more interested in broadcasting human suffering. That was the case for Iraq and Somalia, in which public opinion and television pushed Western states for humanitarian intervention. Based on international pressure and international commitment, the UN adopted humanitarian decisions such as Resolutions 688 and 794, allowing the intervention and implementation of a second-generation of peace operations characterized by pursuing more ample goals. The best example of this kind of peace operation is the Somalia intervention, which after achieving the humanitarian goal, began a second phase to facilitate political reconciliation. The Somali experience, alongside Angola’s, Mozambique’s, and El Salvador’s interventions, inaugurated the debate about mission creep, military action, and nation building. These scenarios, in which the nature of peace enforcement and nation building operations (Chapter VII of the UN Charter that does not restrict any use of force) represented a challenging new generation of peace operations that embodied a much wider concept of human protection.
Since 1956, when the first humanitarian intervention was launched in response to the Suez Canal crisis, things have sharply changed. Nowadays its concept is broader and included other kind of missions – “the evolution of intervention, began, therefore with the relatively simple concept of peacekeeping and developed, in the space of a decade, to something more complex. That means operations extend to address the political, economic, and social fault lines that produced violence. Intervention now includes military action and various degrees of societal reform.” The above discussion about expansion also brings up the fact that sometimes alliances have responded to the demands of the public opinion without the approval of the UN Security Council (UNSC) – NATO’s intervention in Kosovo, for instance. This kind of action, characterized by defending human beings in terms of a particular moral principle, has created a legal precedent that constrains states in future actions. For instance, the legal precedent created in Kosovo was that unilateral intervention is feasible when the UNSC has already adopted resolutions identifying human rights abuses – “the right to act claimed by NATO in Kosovo is not a unilateral right, under which each state may decide for itself that intervention is warranted… the prior decision of the Security Council is asserted as a key element to justification. Although the Security Council had not authorized the use of force in Kosovo, it had determined that the situation there constituted a threat to international peace and security and so made the determination that is the essential precondition under the UN Charter to the authorization of the use of force by the Security Council.” The high development of human rights, the better positioning of HS ideas, and the shift from state-centered to individual-centered approaches have enabled practices of intervention that were previously inconceivable. Nowadays, considering the absence of major conflicts, the relevance of HS in the field of humanitarian intervention is undeniable. The concept of humanitarian intervention has evolved and so has our level of tolerance against human rights abuses. It is unlikely that situations such as Rwanda occur again in which the barrier to intervention was driven “by the reluctance of Member states to pay human attention and doubts that the use of force would be successful than by concerns about sovereignty.” Peace operations have also broadened their scope; according to Michael Pugh, peace operations reflecting power distribution serve to sustain international systems. For him, current peace operations assist human security and its expansion – “peace operations form a key part of a broad project to confer liberal rights on societies at war by implementing responsibility to protect civilians, good governance, human security, and capacity building.”
Summing up, it is important to emphasize that humanitarian interventions, regardless of category (conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, peace enforcement nation building or peace building), translate to states’ interests in long-term security based on the respect for human rights. States acknowledge that an unstable situation in one area can easily generate a global mess. The interventions in Liberia, Uganda, Cambodia, and Sierra Leone demonstrated international interest in halting regional disasters as a strategy to prevent global catastrophes. Due to the fact that there is no recipe for success for achieving peace, it seems that defending human security everywhere is one of the most effective mechanisms to protect national interest and keep the international order. Any step in that direction means a gain for humanity in which humanitarian intervention ultimately depends on the states’ attitudes to devote resources, and potentially lives, to address the suffering of strangers.
- TESTING HUMAN SECURITY: Responsibility To Protect
During 2001, huge steps already done in favor of HS were challenged. The hope of the nineties was broken down by the September 11th attacks. This disaster, along with the disastrous memories of Kosovo (UNMIK), East Timor (UNTAET), Namibia (UNTAG), Cambodia (UNTAC), Rwanda, and the UN intervention in Iraq during the Persian Gulf War, challenged the new security agenda and marked a new period in the debate on human security. Facing critical moments, nations gathered at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, in which Canada’s Prime Minister Jean Chretien appointed the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS). In 2001 the ICISS delivered a paramount report entitled Responsibility to Protect (R2P). This document focused on the question of “when, if ever, it is appropriate for states to take coercive – and in particular military – action, against another state for the purpose of protecting people at risk in that other state.” The hub of the debate was the idea that sovereign states have the responsibility to protect their own citizens, but when states are unwilling or unable to do so, that responsibility must be borne by the international community. In theory it is widely recognized that sovereign states are the best guardian of HS. Nevertheless, the experiences in Rwanda, East Timor, and Darfur are evidence that governments can also kill their own people. The R2P embraced three specific responsibilities: (1) the responsibility to prevent (2) the responsibility to react, and (3) the responsibility to rebuild. At the 2005 World Summit, the UN general Assembly (UNGA) adopted a declaration committing the UN to the R2P, so the UNGA agreed to the use of force in three precise situations: (1) genocide, (2) ethnic cleansing and war crimes, and (3) crimes against humanity when the government is unwilling or unable to prevent these crimes and provide protection to its citizens. For the first time in history, governments collectively agreed that in some circumstances the security of individuals and groups must be prioritized over the security of the states. Nobody can deny the paramount importance of this accomplishment. In the words of H. Bull, it could represent “a society in which states accept no only a moral responsibility to protect the security of their own citizens, but also to wider one of guardianship of human rights everywhere.”
The R2P establishes that legitimate sovereignty entails responsibilities as well as rights, “the state is now widely understood to be servant of its people, and not vice versa. At the same time, individual sovereignty has been enhanced by a renewed consciousness of the right of every individual to control his or her own destiny.”
It is important to shift from the above theoretical analysis to the first military R2P enforcement since its establishment in 2005 – that is the fall of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi. The R2P’s collective action as a strategy to stop mass atrocities was a huge achievement and should be used to illuminate future interventions. The Libyan intervention was done by both applying the R2P doctrine and applying President Obama’s Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities(PSD-10), in which the prevention of mass atrocities is addressed as follows: “Preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States.” R2P in the case of Libya legitimated by the UNSC demonstrated a well-implemented intervention and the priority of human beings over national state interest.
Commendably, R2P’s major contribution is that today there is a greater recognition of the fact that genocide, ethnic cleansing, and mass killing demand international action. Furthermore, nowadays there exists clear limits on how governments treat their civilians; it seems that states are concerned with the treatment of their citizens. The application of R2P demonstrated that sovereignty is no longer an impenetrable attribute. This assumption about sovereignty was deeply scrutinized in Marco Schlesiger’s empirical study of Security Council Resolutions, in which he studies the UNSC’s Resolutions from 1945 to 2007. Running cross-tabulation, Schlesiger divided the UN history into four periods: (1) Foundation of the UN 1946-1976; (2) From Palestinian Terrorism to the end of the Cold War 1968-1989; (3) An approaching “New World Order” and the New Millennium 1990-2001; (4) 9/11 and its impact on Global Security 2001-2007. As a main result, he found “that there has been a gradual increase in the acknowledgment of HS issues over the periods.” His statistical method proved the UNSC’s awareness for the HS issues – “…it proved to be wrong that UNSC’s resolutions only referred to inter-state conflicts. In period 3 and 4, we found out that there is a facto norm of intervention in which State’s sovereignty is still existing, but not absolute anymore.”
- TESTING HUMAN SECURITY: Human Rights & Global Governance
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) established common standards and inalienable principles for all peoples and all nations. Since its proclamation, there has been a significant enumeration of HR in other documents such as the Genocide Convention (1948), The Refugee Convention (1951), and the Conventions on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979). It is important to consider that HS in the field of human rights (HR) has produced significant and important achievements and changes, especially in the construction of a less conflictive international behavior. The philosopher John Searle explains this reality construction using a chess analogy – “the rules [international rules] did not evolve in order to prevent collision; rather, it is the rules [human rights] that constitute the identities of the pieces and establish what moves they are permitted to make.”
Nowadays, human rights have become important to pivotal people not only because of the astonishing media attention toward HR violations but also because of the denouncing role played by NGOs – “the power of NGOs mainly comes from their role in providing information, lobbying, working with and energizing governmental and international human rights agencies, and exposing human rights violations to world public opinion. They use, or try to use, the military and sanctioning powers of states when real enforcement is required. They play a large role in putting human rights problems on the agenda of various UN human rights agencies. Human rights NGOs make the international human rights system stronger and more active.” The international community can no longer ignore abuses and infractions against HR. Indeed, non-compliance with HR can deteriorate political and diplomatic relations between states and jeopardizes a country’s reputation and a country’s influence within the international community. The diversity of HR’s movements, charged to track, analyze, publicize, and promote human rights, have produced paramount changes; according to the Human Security Report 2010, five out of six regions in the developing world saw a net decrease in core human rights abuse between 1994 and 2003.
Additionally, according to the author of this essay, one of the most significant achievements in the field of HS has being the protection of HR regarding women. It seems that now, the shift is from an individual-centered to a gender-centered approach. In July 2010, this fact was consolidated with the creation of UN Women as the UN entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women. Since then, a huge noteworthy number of gender conventions have been signed attempting to equalize women’s and men’s rights – “this aspect is of great significant because of increasing evidence documenting that women are the key to successful development and to overcoming poverty, as it is generally women who ensure food, education, and health care for the children and families. Human security cannot be achieved without consistent progress in improving women rights.” Additionally, a huge array of governmental, nongovernmental organizations, movements, and activists has emerged to accomplish the UDHR goals. The shift from the traditional focus of security studies to a people-centered approach to security has reinforced HR. Thereby it is unreasonable to detach the strengthening of HR from the evolution of HS, because achieving a true HS requires the realization of HR as a sine qua non condition.
Since its launch, the problem of human rights has been the lack of obligation; “viewed through the crude lens of political realism, human rights do not exist because international human rights law carries no legal force,” and while some countries have broadened their conception of HRs, others have advocated for a subdivision of the Universal HRs into subcategories known as first, second, and third generation rights. The creation of the European Convention in Human Rights in 1953 by the Western European countries is an example of the former situation; “The European Convention has developed into the most effective current system for the international promotion and protection of human rights. It now covers 41 countries and 800 million people. In the 1990s it expanded to include countries from Lithuania to Russia to Malta.” Conversely, according to the latter circumstance, it is important to understand that culture and religion have imposed some impediments as well. For instance, the efforts made to integrate HR into Asian or Islamic tradition in which women’s rights are differentiated from men’s rights (e.g., the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islamthat does not sanction honor killings of women, the forced wearing of the burqah, or female circumcision).
Governments, particularly non-democratic states and dictatorships, are simultaneously protectors and abuser of HR. According to the Political Terror Scale (PTS) used to rank each country on a five-point scale on HR abuses, there has been a substantial worldwide decline in authoritarianism over the past quarter-century highly correlated with an increase in the respect of HR. That is produced in part because people are challenging systems, middle classes are demanding changes for greater freedom and an improvement in their life’s conditions, and democracy has gained more acceptance in the international community. As U.S. President Clinton declared, “Ultimately, the best strategy to ensure security and to build a durable peace is to support the advance of democracy elsewhere. Democracies do not attack each other.” His comment echoes those of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, during her visit to Czechoslovakia in 1990, “if we can create a great area of democracy stretching from the West Coast of the United States to the Far East, that would give us the best guarantee of all for security, because democracies do not go to war with one another.” So, it is possible to assert that enhancing good governance is crucial to ensure HS.
Global governance (GG) refers to the fact that the international community must take seriously the challenges of solving international threats through the creation of new cooperative structures – “the international community is ready to eliminate HIV/AIDS, it is ready to take action on global warming, and it is ready to eliminate poverty. People are yearning for somebody from somewhere to bring about a more equitable and effective management of the global system.” In 1995 the Commission of Global Governance produced its report titled Our Global Neighborhood, in which global governance was defined as “the sum of the many ways individuals and institutions, public and private, manage their common affairs. It is a continuing process through which conflicting or diverse interests may be accommodated and co-operative action may be taken. It includes formal institutions and regimes empowered to enforce compliance, as well as informal arrangements that people and institutions either have agreed to or perceive to be in their interest.” Thereby, the materialization of GG embraces a political commitment to address the most pressing global problems; GG is a call to action constituted by the need for more cooperation among governments, NGOs, non-state actors, and international organizations. In the words of Klaus Dingwerth and Phillip Pattberg, “global governance, in this political perspective, is frequently conceived as a long-term project of global integration, for which the evolution of the European Union can be considered a model in which the global governance system represents the creation of networks, from the local to the global level, based on a shared problem-solving orientation, a fair balance of interests, and a workable canon of shared norms and values as a basis for institutional structures for the handling of problems and conflict.” The concept of GG reflects the period of global transformation in which we are living. The attribute of global is more adequate to describe the new threats, and governance distinguishes itself from the traditional notions of international politics – “global governance is therefore best seen as a specific perspective on world politics. As such, it differs from the state-centric perspective of seeing world politics as essentially inter-national relation. Global governance is useful as a new concept not only because it is different from international relations or international politics, but also from other related terms such as transnational politics, world politics or world order.” The global governance regime includes the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN), the trade organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), MERCOSUR, the International Human Rights System, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the International Criminal Court (ICC), among many others. In practice, attempts to reach governance have also been done since the creation of the 2002 Network of Regional Governments for Suitable Development (nrg4SD)launched in South Africa. These regional endeavors, due to their importance, cannot be overlooked. The nrg4SD symbolized the first significant regional attempt to take responsibility for a more suitable future. The Gauteng Declaration, initially signed by twenty-three regional governments, considered nrg4SD as an effective way of regional governance based on the acceptance that “Regional governments are necessary and crucial to the progress of a sustainable development. Regional governments are best placed to address specific sustainability issues and are essential partners in solidarity with other spheres of government and civil society.” It is true that regional governments can play a paramount role in stabilizing democracy, in facing new threats, and in promoting human rights, but in order to achieve HS goals, regional governance should be shifted to global governance, “where governments and partners in civil society, the private sector, and others are forming functional coalitions across geographic borders and traditional political lines to move public policy in ways that meet the aspirations of a global citizenry.”
Summing up this section, it is pivotal to mention that nowadays sovereignty has become more diffuse because states have invested much more effort to distribute their power at the global level and sub-national agencies. States are now more self-conscious of redefining their national identity and narrowing their traditional sovereignty’s scope. Democracies in the world have doubled from 1970 to 1990 (currently there 123 elected democracies in the world), there are more than 250 intergovernmental organizations, and over 5,800 recognized international NGOs. The above proliferation holds the potential for a remarkable expansion of collective action and engagement in common causes where the ideal point is to find the right balance of openness to civil society, respect of human rights, and political savvy in order to enhance human security.
- TESTING HUMAN SECURITY: The International Criminal Court
An area of human rights that requires attention due to its interesting development is the International Humanitarian Law (IHL). According to the Geneva Convention inspired by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), even in times of war, when HS is most at risk, there are certain rights that must be respected – “IHL has correspondingly evolved and adapted to a changing world, both in response to the altered nature of conflict, and also due to the emergence of a people-centered approach to security.”The Hague Conventions and Additional Protocols, as second complementary bodies of the law of war, set up the first international rules on the prosecution of war and for that reason war crimes trials emerged. War crime trials at Nuremberg in Germany and Tokyo brought hope for the respect of HR and demonstrated “that with sufficient political will, governments could prosecute war criminals, albeit from the losing side only.” These first trials consolidated another new phase in the respect of human rights in which countries hired legal advisers as an integral part of their operational deployments due to the possibility of facing persecution for war crimes. This practice, which became a rule implemented in any military deployment, demonstrated that states are much more aware of how the international community assesses their operation.
The internationally community has gradually gotten a better understanding of IHL – “the recent recognition of the concept of war crimes in internal conflicts is one of the most profound but least heralded results of the ascendency of human security as an international priority. Many states have become more willing to focus on the security of individual human beings, and to take firmer steps to promote basic standards of decency.” In the 1990s, after the end of the Cold War, the European Court of Human Rights was createdas the first regional organization with a well-defined human-centric approach and materialized the respect of human beings and the responsibility to protect civilians. The European Court since its creation has developed a large body of jurisprudence applying and interpreting the European Convention in order to offer HR protection. Likewise the establishment of ad hoc tribunals such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) materialized the respect of human beings and set the legal precedent that impunity is no longer acceptable in the new security agenda. However, due to the fact that these two tribunals were established to treat crimes committed only within a specific time frame and during a specific conflict, there was a general agreement that an independent and permanent criminal court was needed.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established on July1st, 2002 when its founding treaty, the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court, entered into force. The ICC is the first permanent international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community and it is independent from the United Nations system. According to the Rome Statute, “The Court has jurisdiction in accordance with this Statute with respect to the following crimes: (a) The crime of genocide; (b) Crimes against humanity; (c) War crimes; (d) The crime of aggression.” Thanks to ICC’s jurisprudence, war crimes against humanity are punishable not only during armed conflict but also during peacetime. Indeed, the responsibility of war crimes applies to military commanders, civilian leaders, or any other person in authority. In order to provide a real protection to the most vulnerable people, the ICC’s jurisprudence has even re-interpreted the IHL’s norms, ruling out some felonies such as rape, sexual slavery, and enlistment of children as grave war crimes against humanity. This evolution and reinterpretation of the current international standard confirm that the international community no longer ignores human rights transgressions and violators will be held accountable for their abuses of power. Laudably, this progress is a direct effect of human security – the movement to establish a permanent International Criminal Court is a powerful illustration of the ability and willingness of the international community to work collectively to address a pressing human security need. Human security has long been threatened by shocking violations of humanitarian law and the pervasive culture of impunity, which encourages such crimes. If Human security is to be safeguarded, the culture of impunity must be replaced by a culture of accountability.”
Day by day, the ICC’s jurisprudence has garnered much more international support and hopefully in future years those countries that refused to ratify the Rome Statute for fear of its consequences will change their traditional thinking to a more human-centered security approach, in which HS prevails as a mechanism to facilitate long-lasting justice. To date, according to the 2010-2011 Report of the International Criminal Court to the United Nations,the Court has opened investigations into seven situations: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, the Central African Republic, Darfur, Sudan, the Republic of Kenya, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. Quoting the report, “the total number of individuals subject to proceedings before the Court increased from 15 to 25, and seven new persons appeared before the judges pursuant to an arrest warrant or a summons to appear. In addition to the investigations, the Office of the Prosecutor is conducting preliminary examinations in Afghanistan, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Georgia, Guinea, Honduras, Nigeria, the Republic of Korea and Palestine.” Even more interesting is that at the time of writing this essay (March 14th, 2012), the ICC delivered the first verdict in its 10-year history, finding Thomas Labunga, a Congolese warlord, guilty of recruiting child soldiers and turning them into killers. In a unanimous decision, Labunga was condemned to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment – “the judgment is an important step forward in the worldwide struggle against impunity for grave crimes. The verdict is also the first at an international trial focused exclusively on the use of child soldiers.” This case set legal precedents that could be used to put other HR abusers in prison. This decision is perhaps the best conclusion to this essay. This deed, in addition to those previously mentioned, demonstrated that Human Security in our day is no longer a security concept that remains unclear; its usefulness is unquestionable. Human Security has abandoned its level of abstraction to reach a more reliable and meaningful definition in the global security debate. Therefore, human security is no longer just “hot air.”
It was argued in the first section that human security, as a different security concept based on individual sovereignty and the protection of human beings, has boosted transnational cooperation as a mechanism to both face up threats and grapple with global security concerns. Certainly, human security has also encouraged policymakers, scholars, and even states, predominantly Canada, Norway, and Japan, to think about security as something more than national security and the balance of power.
The second section, which emerged from the debate started by Roland Paris of whether or not states should consider human security as a paradigm shift rather than a merely “hot air” focused on the fact that, despite how human security has been defined by different scholars, the definition presented by the United Nations in 1994 is the most appropriate to the achievement of human security’s goals. Besides, this essay highlighted the strength of human security is precisely because it lacks precision; this attribute allows it to encompass different perspectives and objectives.
This research question of this essay was of whether or not human security has been taken seriously by the international community. The null hypothesis was that human security, despite its all-embracing definition, has accomplished much more than other security approaches in less time. The variables used to test the hypothesis were humanitarian intervention, the responsibility to protect, the human rights and global governance system, and the creation of the International Criminal Court. The principal results are as follows:
- Humanitarian Intervention: human security approach has helped to envisage the concept of sovereignty in a different way, opening the path for a broad interpretation of UN Chapters VI and VII allowing the creation of peacekeeping operations. The evolution of humanitarian intervention reflects the predominance of protecting civilians. The high development of human rights, the better positioning of HS ideas, and the shift from state-centered to individual-centered approaches have enabled practices of intervention that were previously inconceivable; currently peace operations assist human security and its expansion.
- Responsibility to Protect: materialized some of the human security goals, establishing that in some circumstances the security of individuals and groups must be prioritized over the security of the states. Its major contribution is today’s recognition that genocide, ethnic cleansing, and mass killing demand international action establishing clear limits on how government could treat their civilians.
- Human Rights & Global Governance: according to the data presented in the essay, enhancing good governance is crucial to ensure human security. Global governance and human rights are long term projects that differ from the state-centric perspective of seeing world politics as essentially inter-national relations. Nowadays, states are more self-conscious of redefining their national identity and narrowing their traditional sovereignty’s scope. The increase in world democracies, intergovernmental organizations, and international NGOs embraces the expansion of collective action and engagement in common causes where the common point is to enhance human security.
- The International Criminal Court: its evolution and the reinterpretation of the international rules confirm that the international community no longer ignores human rights transgressions and violators will be held accountable for their abuses of power. The ICC confirms that the traditional thinking is refutable and its verdicts demonstrate that human security is the new norm in international systems; human security has abandoned its level of abstraction, reaching a more reliable and meaningful definition in the global security debate.
By the analysis of the above four variables, this paper found the human security rationale, even though it challenges paramount attributes such as sovereignty and non-intervention, has gained more space in the global security agenda and its materialization is evident. By testing the hypothesis, this essay also found that even though human beings represent something more valuable than the protection of state interests, some states are neither willing nor prepared to assume this responsibility. Putting that in perspective, Syria is a good example. Even though the UNSC has not been able to reach a consensus, the majority of states and people acknowledge that Syria belongs to its 23 million citizens, not one man and his family. The discourse is not about national security; the discourse pivots to the people.
Human security is not only a good tool to the states; human security is necessary to build nations and advance democracy, humanitarian assistance, and human rights. Protecting civilians costs more than protecting national interests, but is a cost that produces greater outcomes. This essay demonstrated that engaging both states and non-state actors in coalitions, partnerships, NGOs, and networks is the best mechanism to empower people and
 Ken Booth, “Critical Security Studies and World Politics.” Bouler London, 2004, p. 116
 Arnold Wolfers, “Discord and Collaboration Essays on International Politics,” Chapter 10, National Security as an Ambiguous Symbol. Baltimore 1962, p. 148.
 Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and a Discourse on Political Economy,” Third Edition, 2005,p. 40
 David Baldwin, “Neorealism and Neoliberalism: the Contemporary Debate,” Columbia University Press, 1993, Neoliberalism, Neorealism, and World Politics, p.3-28.
 Dan Caldwell, “Seeking Security in an Insecure World,” Second Edition, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, p. 5.
 Joseph Grieco, “The Maastricht Treaty, Economic and Monetary Union and the Neo-Realist Research Programme,” International Studies, Vol. 21, No. 1 (Jan., 1995), pp. 21-40
 Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, “Power and Interdependence,” Foreign Affairs, Vol 77, No 5 (Sep-Oct 1998), p. 86
 Derek Reveron and Norris Kathleen Mahoney, “Human Security in a Borderless World,” Published by Westview Press, 2001, Chapter 1, p. 5
 Roland Paris, “Human Security: Paradigm Shift or Hot Air?” International Security. Vol. 26 No. 2 (Autumn, 2001), pp. 88
 Thomas Weiss and Danielle Kalbacher, The United Nations, chapter 22 in the book “Security Studies: an Introduction,” Edited by Paul D. Williams, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, London and New York. 2010, p. 325
 The nine cases are presented by Mark A. Weisburd in his article “The War in Iraq and the Dilemma of Controlling the International Use of Force,” Texas International Law Journal 521. 2004, p. 524
 Roland Paris, “Human Security: Paradigm Shift or Hot Air?” International Security. Vol. 26 No. 2 (Autumn, 2001), pp. 97
 Dan Caldwell and Robert Williams, “Seeking Security in an Insecure World,” Second Edition. Maryland, 1992, p. 2
 Boutros-Ghali 1992 in the book “Development, Security, and Unending War: Governing the World of Peoples,” By Mark Duffield, first Edition, 2007, p.121
 Nicholas Wheeler, “Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society,” Oxford University Press. 2000, Introduction
Nicholas Wheeler, “Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society,” Oxford University Press. 2000.
 Nicholas Wheeler, “Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society” Oxford University Press. 2000, p. 287
 Andrea Kathryn Talentino, Military Intervention after the Cold War: the Evolution of Theory and Practice, Ohio University Press, Athens, 2005, p. 52 and 53
 Vaughan Lowe, “International Legal Issues Arising in the Kosovo Crisis,” The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol. 49, No. 4. October 2000, p. 934- 943, Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, p 935
 Ibidem, point 67 Chapter I. Achieving peace and security
 Michael Pugh, Peace Operations, Chapter 27, in the book “Security Studies: an Introduction” Edited by Paul D. Williams. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, London and New York. 2010, p 408
 Hedley Bull, “The Grotian Conception” p. 63 cited in the article “Hedley Bull’s Pluralism of the Intellect and Solidarism of the Will,” By Nicholas J. Wheeler and Timothy Dunne, International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-), Vol. 72, No. 1 (Jan., 1996), pp. 91-107
 Marco Schlesiger, “Human Security vs. Collective Security: an Empirical Study of Security Council Resolutions,” VDM Verlag Dr. Müller. Germany 2008 Saarbrücken, p. 27-53
 John R Searle, “The Construction of Social Reality,” London, Penguin, 1995, in the book Wheeler, Nicholas, “Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society,” Oxford University Press. 2000, Introduction.
 W Nickel James “Is Today’s International Human Rights System a Global Governance Regime?” The Journal of Ethics, Vol. 6, No. 4 (2002) pp. 553-371. Springer, p. 369
 Paul Battersby and Joseph Siracusa, “Globalization & Human Security,” Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, United States, 2009. Chapter five: Human Rights and Human Security: Pragmatic Perspectives on Human Rights, p. 148.
 James W Nickel, “Is Today’s International Human Rights System a Global Governance Regime?” The Journal of Ethics, Vol. 6, No. 4 (2002) pp. 553-371, Springer, p. 6
 Michael Sheeham, “International Security: An Analytical Survey,” Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. United Kingdom, 2005, Chapter three, Security Communities and Democratic Peace, p 33
 Felix Dodds and Tim Pippard, “Human & Environmental Security: An Agenda for Change,” Stakeholder Forum for Our Common Future, UK and USA, 2005, p. 207
 Klaus Dingwerth, and Philipp Pattber, “Global Governance as a Perspective on World Politics,” Global Governance, 2006, p. 185-203
 The Gauteng Declaration, Johannesburg, 2002, p. 3, Governments participant: Australia, Spain, Germany, Argentina, United States, Brazil, and United Kingdom among others –the list of regional government and the Declaration is available at http://www.nrg4sd.org/sites/default/files/default/files/content/public/11elibrary/corporate/gauteng_declaration_en.pdf
 This data was extracted from Waschuck Roman, Chapter Nine The New Multilateralism, In the book “Human Security and The New Diplomacy: Protecting People, Promoting Peace,” Edited by Rob McRae and Don Hubert, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001, p. 216
 Darryl Robinson and Valerie Oosterveld, The Evolution of International Law, in the book “Human Security and the New Diplomacy: Protecting People, Promoting Peace,” Edited by Rob McRae and Don Hubert, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001, p. 161.
 Paul Battersby and Joseph Siracusa, “Globalization & Human Security,” Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, United States, 2009, Chapter five, Human Rights and Human Security: Pragmatic Perspectives on Human Rights, p. 148
 Robinson, Darryl and Oosterveld Valerie. “The Evolution of International Law.” In the book “Human Security and the New Diplomacy: Protecting People, Promoting Peace.” Edited by Rob McRae and Don Hubert. McGill-Queen’s, University Press, 2001, p. 163
 On 17 July 1998, the international community reached an historic milestone when 120 States adopted the Rome Statute, the legal basis for establishing the permanent International Criminal Court four years later.
 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Article 5, 1 July 2002.
 Darry Robinson, “The International Criminal Court: Case Study.” In the book “Human Security and The New Diplomacy: Protecting People, Promoting Peace,” Edited by Rob McRae and Don Hubert, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001, p. 171
 Report of the International Criminal Court to the United Nations for 2010/2011, Sixty-sixth session, Item 75 of the provisional Agenda. 19 August 2011.
 James Goldstone, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, The Guardian News and Media Limited, 2012