Ul Haq and Sen’s 1994 conceptual articulation of human security set off a discourse that fragmented the 7 interrelated human securities (economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community and political) along several disciplinary and policy divides. More than 20 years later these ‘different’ human securities have been reduced to three: the ‘freedom of want’, the ‘freedom of fear’, and the ‘freedom to live in dignity’. In his 2012 report on human security, the UN-SG stated ‘that assigning a legal definition to human security would be counterproductive since the notion is both an operational and a policy framework’. However, to the extent that the 3 freedoms reflect ‘basic rights’, I must critically question (as an academic) whether this ‘rights’ approach reflects the disastrous distinction between ‘civil and political rights’ and ‘socioeconomic and cultural rights’. If these ‘rights’ are equally basic, how then do we explain and implement the institutional differences. And where does the concept of ‘dignity’ come in?Human security must be more than a set of international practices and policies. It must have normative implications that transcend international space and international thinking. It must involve a re-conceptualization of law and politics beyond the state and as such include non-state actors, who are quintessential to the security of individual human beings. In the lecture, I will critically discuss the development of human security over the last 20 years and propose a more normative and non-state conceptualization and a return to a more holistic approach.
About the Speaker
Dr Math Noortmann joined the Center for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR) at Coventry University in November 2014. Before that he taught and researched at Universities in the Netherlands, Singapore, Germany, and the UK. Holding a Ph.D. in International Law and a M.Sc. in Political Science, his research combines the knowledge and understanding of international politics and public international law. Within the CTPSR, he leads the Research Cluster on Armed Violence and Illicit Activities and researches the roles, rights and responsibilities of non-state actors from the perspective of law and politics. His research comprehends the whole spectrum of non-state actors, including armed opposition groups, transnational criminal organizations, non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations, and business (including security contractors). He has worked with and within non-governmental organizations in the fields of environment, development and humanitarian aid. As a research professor in Transnational Law and Non-State Actors, Dr Math Noortmann critically investigates the rights and responsibilities of these non-state actors and their role(s) in transnational security governance. In particularly, he addresses the delicate balance between the need for societal security and order, and protection of human dignity through the rule of law.