Human Security over National Security

While it maybe fair to say that human security and national security are ideally complementing and mutually reinforcing principles, it is true to say that state-centered concepts of national security has threatened the very idea of human security. Such an ironic contradiction has undermined the rationale behind national security. The distinction between human security and national security is an important element. National security has essentially come to represent the security of a state, its territorial integrity and its citizens. However, secure states do not automatically mean secure people. Hence, human security is about safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, including their own governments; after all during the last 100 years far more people have been casualties of their own governments. 

Tragically, in the event of conflicting interest between state and people, national security of a state has prevailed over the human security of a people. Not only does it indicate misplaced priorities, but reveals that national security of most states revolves around the concept of fear. The implications and consequences of such policies have been too frightening as ‘force’ has been the central theme of seeking resolution, thereby give rise to most policies to create ‘external enemy to maintain internal harmony.’ The agenda of national security as peace must be critically interrogated because the dialogue between JustPeace and national security has never been encouraging and its perspective advocated only from those in a position of power. 

A paradigm shift is required where the agenda of national security as peace is replaced by the relational praxis of human security as peace. This shift is essential if the vision for sustainable JustPeace is to be realized.  Human security needs to be discussed and placed within the perspective of the broader democratic values which should not be lost sight of. It is vital to recognize the intimate relationship between human security and the democratic process, which must transcend institutional structures and bureaucratic rigidity. Human history has shown that the perception of brokering peace at the expense of the rights of a people has proved disastrous and counter-productive primarily because the lack of rights has been responsible in the first place for the cause of political crisis. 

There are number of examples the world over where peace has not been realized principally because of the overarching nature of national security. Infact, the historical experience of the Nagas is a classic example of why sustainable peace has remained illusive. At a time when the question of peace has once more posed itself against the test of time, the future necessitates the values of human security to form the basis of any peace process so that a people – any people – may exercise their natural rights to its fullest capability. In the final analysis, human security is not only a broader principle but also a living giving value.