Origin and Development of Human Security


Prof. Bishnu Pathak – TRANSCEND Media Service


Human security is complementary to human rights. It is a comprehensive, interrelated, and coordinated concept that encompasses freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom to live in dignity, and freedom to inherit pro-nature environment for forthcoming generations as fundamental rights. All individuals, particularly those who are vulnerable and marginalized, must have equal and unrestricted opportunity to enjoy their rights and freedoms in order to develop their potential optimally. The United Nations was established with the foremost objective to unite, strengthen, and maintain peace and human security. Human security focuses on the betterment of human lives by conquering over poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, armed conflict, and terrorism through mutual respect. Human security itself respects human rights and human rights are there to safeguard human security. All governments, including Nepal realize their primary responsibility toward human security for all the people by ensuring their survival, livelihood, liberty, and dignity. National security strives toward protection of the nation and/or state.  But, Nepal is yet to formulate its national security policy by putting the people at the center. A sound mechanism for human security, in turn, minimizes military spending and increases humanitarian security, irrespective of class (poor or rich), birth, geography, sex, caste/ethnicity, religion, profession, culture, and so forth. Human security leads toward protection of human beings. Hence, all development efforts for the sake of human security have to be pro-people, pro-jobs, pro-resources, and pro-nature.


The concept of peace among nations and communities was developed by Immanuel Kant in Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch (1795:1). Kant argued to establish a peaceful world community in the hope that each state should declare itself as a free state in order to respect its citizens and welcome foreign visitors to promote a worldwide peaceful society (Skirbekk:2001:288). Similarly, the concept of collective security originated to promote international cooperation while Napoleonic Wars were going on in the 19th century to maintain the status quo among the European states in order to avoid war (Hinsley:1962:213). There is a close, mutual, and interlinked relationship between peace and security as their principal goal is to avoid conflict by any means. The purpose of human security is to ensure life, liberty, livelihood, and dignity of all individuals, particularly the poor and vulnerable people, irrespective of the place where they live (Takasu: Winter 2012:2).

However, this paper tries to explain the origin of human security, its development, contributions of countries to protect and promote human security and Nepal’s stand for it.

  1. Evolution of Freedoms from Fear and Want

The origin of human security had started along with the initiation of a formal treaty of peace, called Hague Appeal for Peace. The First Peace Conference was organized in 1899 in Hague.  It produced a number of conventions for the Pacific Settlement of Disputes (conversion of European rulers’ pacifism) that established the Permanent Court of Arbitration to settle the international disputes. In addition, the Conference introduced the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) which is known as the Hague Convention. It is the first formal legal instrument concerning disarmament, laws of war, and war crimes. The last had been Maritime Warfare. Civil society had also been active before and after the Convention and their efforts resulted as the Second Hague Peace Conference in 1907 in USA. Some agreements on limitations in international relations were discussed between Russia and USA (Hague Appeal for Peace: haguepeace.org). A third conference was planned for 1914 and later rescheduled for 1915, but never did it happen owing to World War I. Moreover, Germany had violated Section III of the Second Conference by invading Belgium.

The predecessor of the United Nations, the League of Nations (LN) was established after World War I (WW I) through Paris Peace Conference in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles, a treaty of peace signed between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany on June 28th 1919. The LN formally ended the WW I. It had two basic aims. Firstly, it was set up to preserve peace through collective action for security, for which disputes had to be referred to the League’s Council for arbitration and conciliation. If necessary, economic and then military sanctions could be imposed. In other words, the members vowed to come forward in action to defend each other from any aggression. Secondly, the aim of the LN was to promote international cooperation in economic and social affairs (League of Nations: October 2012). In general, it aimed to promote international cooperation for controlling conflicts and to achieve peace and security among the nations.


[i] was established in 1919 in accordance with the Treaty of Versailles. It is the first international organization that deals with the international standards for living and working conditions, trade union freedom, right to bargain collectively, abolition of child labor, and so forth (DIHR: humanrights.dk). It was created to attain social justice and to enhance universal security in view of lasting humanitarian and politico-economic consideration. However, the League of Nations was dismantled as it failed to prevent World War II (WW II) (History of the United Nations: un.org).

The name “United Nations” was first proposed by President Franklin Roosevelt on January 1st 1942, during the ongoing WW II when representatives of 26 nations pledged on behalf of their governments to continue fighting together against the Powers of Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis (Declaration of United Nations: January 1st 1942). As an offshoot, he was successful to attract a lot of minorities to vote for him in his second term presidential elections.

Speaking at the 77th Congress on June 1941, Franklin Roosevelt had exclaimed, “… Unprecedented! Because at no previous time was American security as seriously threatened from without as it is today”. Till then, the US had been engaged in two wars against the European nations and Western Indies. So, he observed, “But in no case had a serious threat been raised against our national safety or our continued independence”. In his speech, he noted that the nation had placed its destiny in the hands, heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women and their faith in freedom under the guidance of God. He emphasized, “Freedom means supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights or keep them” (June 1st 1941:1). Thus, he put forward four essential human freedoms which are: (i) freedom of speech[ii], (ii) freedom of worship[iii], (iii) freedom from want[iv], and (v) freedom from fear[v] (June 1st 1941:2-8).

Freedom from want is a shared vision of the millennium development goals to eradicate hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development (UNGS: March 21, 2005:7-9). Freedom from fear is a vision of collective security for preventing catastrophic terrorism and use of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, reducing the risk of war and use of force and encouraging mediation, peacekeeping, and peace-building processes (UNGS: March 21, 2005:24-33).

The Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that human beings should enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of belief and freedom from fear and want. These are considered as the highest aspirations of the common people. The UDHR reaffirmed the standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations to promote respect for the rights and freedoms through progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

It was formally legitimated in Article 3 of UDHR that “everyone has the right to personal security”. Freedoms of fear and want have been included in the Preamble of UDHR along with the right to social security as follows in Article 22: “Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security … economic, social, and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and free development of his personality” and in Article 25.1 on right to employment security: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of the self and his family, including food, clothing, housing, medical care, and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control”. Article 13 of the UDHR states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state” and “everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country”.

Freedom from fear is one of the fundamental freedoms of human rights. It is recognized as a part of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), also known as the first generation of human rights. Freedom from want is another form of fundamental freedoms of human rights. It is the right to an adequate standard of living which is now recognized as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), also known as the second generation of human rights.

In accordance with the Preambles of the ICESCR and ICCPR, the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights as well as his economic, social and cultural rights. Article 8 of the ICESCR states about the rights of national security and protection of the rights and freedoms. And Article 9 states, “The State Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to social security, including social insurance”.

Similarly, Article 9 of the ICCPR states, “Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his grace except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law”. Protection of national security, public order, territorial authority of the state, democratic society, public health, moral rights and freedoms, public safety and so forth are stated in Articles 12.3[vi], 13[vii], 141[viii], 19.3b[ix], 21,[x] and 22.2[xi] of the ICCPR.

In most cases, human rights advocate only for freedom from fear; whereas human security gives discretion of progressive realization to both freedom from fear and freedom from want. Human security equally emphasizes on freedom to live in dignity[xii]. Moreover, human security may help reduce differences on the implementation of human rights while state suppresses some rights in the name of protecting others. On one hand, the USA has yet to ratify the second generation of human rights. Freedom from fear explores how some nations got agonized over the US role in World War II and how it actually fought the war (Kennedy:1999).  Nepal has ratified both generations of human rights, but the government has prioritized on freedom from fear, giving far less attention to freedom from want. Moreover, there have been differences in implementation of rights between a powerful and a weak or poor person over a period of time. “Human security may give fresh approach for balancing civil-political and socio-economic rights” (Seidensticker: February 5, 2002:1). Moscow and Teheran Conference 1943[xiii] had declared for outright victory and attempted to create a world in which “men in all lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want.”

Canada and Norway have developed an active agenda of freedom from fear in their foreign policy (Alkire: 2003:5). Security provision has also been incorporated in Japan’s foreign policy and the World Bank, albeit in very different ways, to pursue both – freedom from fear and freedom from want. Japan does not prioritize freedom from fear over freedom from want, but holds them as dual objectives of human security. Both security measures, freedom from fear and freedom from want, were assured for enduring peace in the San Francisco Conference in 1945 (UNDP:1994:3).  The United Nations report on We the People: the Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century has noted, Freedom from want, freedom from fear, and freedom of future generations to inherit a healthy natural environment are interrelated building blocks of human, and therefore, national security” (Annan: March 2000).

In regard to freedom from want, the report further points out that the past half-century has seen unprecedented economic gains; still 1.2 billion people have to live on less than $1 a day. The past has been a witness of extreme poverty with extreme inequality between countries that insults common humanity. Even if they are embroiled in bloody conflicts, poor countries around the world have been found to have fast rise in their population. Therefore, all governments and the UN must act to reduce extreme poverty in the world by half before 2015 by adhering to the following priority areas:

  • All children must complete primary schooling ensuring equal opportunities for both genders at all levels of education. New opportunities must also be created in view of dynamism witnessed in increasing number of youths.
  • Health promoting measures should be taken in order to combat HIV/AIDS so that the incidence of the disease among the youths is reduced by 25 percent by 2020.
  • “Cities without Slums” requires global support so as to improve the lives of 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.
  • Help from all over the world is required to reduce abject poverty in regions of Africa.
  • All possible efforts must be made to maximize the people’s access to new information technology through leapfrog development.
  • Global solidarity should be demonstrated in opening the markets of rich countries to provide access to the products of poor countries (We the Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century:  un.org/millennium /sg/report/summ.htm).

Several measures for freedom from fear have been incorporated in the report, “We the Peoples…”. The report has estimated that more than 5 million lives have been affected in the internal armed conflicts in the last decade alone.  The threat of deadly conflicts must be tackled at every stage:

  • Conflicts occur in poor countries due to bad governance and acute inequalities between the ethnic and religious groups. The best way to prevent them would be to promote healthy and balanced economic development, ensure human rights and minority rights, and devise earnest political arrangements.
  • International humanitarian law against gross violation of human rights must be enforced so that no misdeed goes unpunished.
  • National sovereignty must not be compromised as a shield for those who keep violating  the rights and lives of their fellow human beings. Also, the Security Council must intervene as soon as inhuman atrocities have ensued in large scale.
  • The Millennium Assembly should consider recommending a high-level panel to be set up to review all aspects of peace operations.
  • Sanctions against a regime under the scrutiny of Security Council must be severe and strict.
  • The UNSG should urge all the Member States to control the transferring of arms and ammunition (We the Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century:  un.org/millennium /sg/report/summ.htm).

UNSG Kofi Annan had called upon the international community to work toward achieving the twin objectives of ‘freedom from fear’ and ‘freedom from want’ and to extend helping hand in UN’s efforts to have favorable responses while dealing with challenges. A meeting was held among the world’s leaders in New York, who had gathered from 6th to 8th September 2000. Its principal purpose was to discuss the role of the UN in the 21st century (un.org/millennium/sg/report/summ.htm). The aims of the millennium summit could not be implemented due to disinterest of a few powerful countries, mainly the USA.

The Commission on Human Security (CHS) was established in January 2001 on the occasion of 2000 Millennium Summit for implementation of a world “free from want” and “free from fear.” The CHS is comprised of 12 members including Mrs. Sadako Ogata and Professor Amartya Sen. Its report named Human Security Now was submitted to the UNSG in 2003.

In the UNSG’s report, In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All 2005, a series of policy priorities for a number of institutional reforms have been proposed to achieve the three goals: freedom from want, freedom from fear and freedom to live in dignity (Human Security at the United Nations:2012:9). Similarly, several heads of states and governments have referred to the concept of human security in Paragraph 143 of World Summit Outcome Document 2005 which says: “All individuals, in particular vulnerable people, are entitled to freedom from fear and freedom from want, with an equal opportunity to enjoy their rights and fully develop their human potential” (UN:2005).

Thus, human security is broadly defined as freedom from fear and freedom from want by replacing the notion of state-centric security by that of human-centric security in the world. It opens new dimensions of human security within the UN system and other international organizations in addition to all people of the world taken as individuals.  On the whole, the phrase freedom from fear intends to have freedom from violence and the phrase freedom from want aims at freedom from poverty. Thus, human security means freedom from violence and freedom from poverty (McRae and Hubert 2001:15).

  1. Origin and Development of Human Security in United Nations

During 1943 Moscow and Teheran Conferences, Ministers of Foreign Affairs of all the powerful nations such as USA, Russia, UK, and China appreciated the need for establishment of an international organization based on the principle of sovereign equality of all peace-loving states, and opened membership to all such states, large and small, for maintenance of international peace and security. In their declaration, the ministers finally agreed to establish an organization of United Nations. The 32nd President of the US Franklin D Roosevelt had tried hard to uplift the world from economic depression and large scale total war.

The United Nations is an umbrella organization founded in April 1945 after the WW II through the San Francisco Conference with commitment to unite to strengthen and maintain international peace and security as its first priority among others. Of the four main purposes of the UN, it strives hard to keep peace and security throughout the world by improving the lives of the poor people who often get entrapped by famine, hunger, disease, illiteracy, terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation, landmines, and so forth. And the members need to respect fundamental rights and freedoms of one another (www.un.org/en/aboutun/index.shtml).

Of all the six main bodies of the UN such as General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, Trusteeship Council, International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat, the Security Council is the most powerful body to maintain international peace and security. It takes a lead role in determining the existence of any threat to peace or any act of flagrant aggression. It calls on the parties to settle their disputes by peaceful means and recommends for the methods of settlement. It may impose sanctions or any use of force to restore international peace and security, keeping the objective of human security as paramount. It recommends the General Assembly to appoint the Secretary-General and together with General Assembly it elects the judges of International Court of Justice. Due to their vested interests, poor and developing countries people find themselves deprived of receiving their “security” duties and responsibilities (http://www.un.org/en/sc/).  Rather than implementing its mandate with firmness, the Security Council often acts as a puppet of the political body of the powerful nations that shadow the agendas of international peace and security.

So long as the UN had focused all its efforts toward emphasizing on fundamental human rights and freedoms but prioritizing little on human security, deliberations on human security were almost absent for over three decades till in 1980 the Brandt Commission[xiv] brought to forefront the issue of freedom from want. The report highlighted the differences in understanding of the term living standards (economic development) among the people in rich Northern and developing Southern hemispheres of the world. Its intent was to reduce the growing economic disparities between the rich and poor countries. The North is rich as it is capable of manufacturing quality goods and gainfully trading them; whereas the South still suffers from hunger and poverty. So, the UN implores that its members have reasonable relations with one another, focusing on justice, freedom, and peace. Moreover, the Brandt Commission Report envisages for a new kind of global security for social, economic and political ends and threats from classical military perils. The report urges to reduce huge waste of resources involved in military spending for armaments and civilian security (conversion of arms production into civilian production). The report also pointed out the probable difficulties in implementing its findings due to the diverse interests of the members associated in it. Moreover, the governments lacked political will to act on the issues owing to the polarization of the Cold War (Quilligan:2002).

Finally, UNSG Boutros-Boutros Ghali implored that each of the nations had a special and indispensable role to play in “an integrated approach to human security” to address the root causes of conflict spanning a number of economic, social, and political issues as an agenda for peace 1992 that enforces UN to do further studies on the comprehensive issue of human security. The UN is capable of maintaining international peace and security, securing justice, and human rights and promoting “social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom” (June 17th 992:1-4)

The UN had produced its first comprehensive Human Development Report in 1994. Till then, the concept of security remained engrossed around the potential conflicts between states. Security concerns the threats to a country’s borders and its requirement of arms to protect its territory and the lives of its people. Lately, feelings of insecurity from both natural and man-made disasters have been noted in daily life. The concerns of human security that have emerged are: food security, job security, income security, health security, environmental security, security from crime, etc. all over the world. The world may never have peace unless people have security in their daily lives (1994:1).

While the Conference of International Organization was being held in San Francisco in 1945 (April 25 to June 26) for a new United Nations,[xv] the US Secretary of State Edward Reilly Stettinus, Jr. reported to his government:

“The battle of peace has to be fought on two fronts. The first is the security front where victory spells freedom from fear. The second is the economic and social front where victory means freedom from want. Only victory on both fronts can assure the world of an enduring peace….No provisions that can be written into the Charter will enable the Security Council to make the world secure from war if men and women have no security in their homes and their jobs” (1994:3).

All poor and needy people of the world seek a new role of the UN to meet the humanity’s agenda not only for peace but also for development. Such development has to be pro-people, pro-jobs, pro-resources, and pro-nature. Cooperation for development should be broadened to include all flows, not just aid. The concept of human development is to meet these needs of all the people of all the nations. All nations should agree on a 3 percent a year reduction in military spending and increase for human security by establishing a human security fund. The report focuses on: economic security, food security, health security, personal security, community security, political security, and environmental security.

The Commission for Social Development, also known as the Social Summit, is one of the functional bodies established by the UN Economic and Social Council. It had organized the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in March 1995 at a time when the world had been celebrating 50th anniversary of the UN. It finally produced the Copenhagen Declaration and Program of Action when the concerned governments reached a new consensus on the need to put people at the centre of development (World Summit: www.un.org/esa/socdev/wssd/text-version/); the summit meeting was an important opportunity to develop some operational indicators of human security. The Copenhagen Declaration incorporated ten commitments for creating an economic, political, social, cultural, and legal environment to achieve social development; eradicate absolute poverty by a target date to be set by each country; support full employment; promote social integration and safeguard human rights; achieve gender equality and equity between women and men; attain universal and equitable access for education and primary healthcare; accelerate the pace of development of the least developed countries; ensure social development; and strengthen cooperation for social development through the UN (The World Bank and the Copenhagen Declaration: Ten Years After: September 20, 2004:1-16). The summit also offered various concrete proposals for an early warning system identifying the countries in crisis, viz. Afghanistan, Angola, Haiti, Iraq, Mozambique, Myanmar, Sudan, and Zaire (UNDP:1994:3). That summit was the largest gathering ever of the world leaders of the era.

In March 1999, the Government of Japan and the UN Secretariat launched the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS) to finance UN Human Security projects and to increase the human security operational impact. Its purpose was to translate the human security approach into practical actions vertically at all field levels. It has more than 200 globally funded projects (UNOCHA:2009). The handbook is a concrete guidance for applying the principle of human security in development, implementation, and evaluation of human security projects. It has been an instrumental book for training workshops, particularly the UN Country Teams to gain a better understanding of human security and its application in complex situations of insecurities (United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security: September 10th 2009). The objective of the Commission on Human Security is to mobilize support and promote greater understanding in human security; to develop the concept as an operational tool; and to outline a concrete action plan for its implementation.

The report Human Security Now 2003 strives to protect the vital core of all human lives in ways that enhance human freedoms and rights and their fulfillment.  The report states that there must be a stronger and more integrated response from communities to states around the world on human security. Thus, human security may bring together elements of human rights and developments. Following the recommendations, the Advisory Board on Human Security (ABHS) was established for the task to advise UNSG on propagation of the concept and management of UNTFHS (Human Security at the United Nations:2012:8)

The Human Security Unit (HSU) was established in 2004 at the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) with the principal objective to keep human security in the mainstream of UN activities. The HSU works with different stakeholders to highlight the added value of human security concept through application under UNTFHS and other activities (Human Security at the United Nations:2012:9).

The UNSG’s High Level Panel Report on Threats, Challenges and Change, sounds for “a more secure world: our shared responsibility”, makes use of the human security notion within a broad agenda of institutional reform in view of the new threats of the twenty-first century (Human Security at the United Nations:2012:9). The UN was set up in 1945 above all else “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”, i.e. never to be trapped in another world war. Sixty years later in 2005, the world realized that the biggest security threats had always been there because of poverty, infectious diseases, and environmental degradation; war and violence within states; the spread and possible use of nuclear, radiological, chemical, and biological weapons; terrorism; and transnational organized crime. These threats to human and state security are from state and non-state actors both (UN: 2004: 1).

After the 9/11 incident in 2001, security perspective for an individual turned into collective security for institutions in security threats discourse. Collective security strives to promote security for all the members, without prejudice to the beneficiary, location, resources, or relationship with Great Powers (UN:2004:19). The idea of collective security was enforced by the UN when it was discovered that the intent of terrorists is to attack on values such as respect for human rights; the rule of law; rules of war that protect civilians; tolerance among peoples and nations; and the peaceful resolution of conflict that lie at the heart of the Charter of the United Nations (UN.2004:48).

As described in the report, In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All 2005 (September 2005), the world leaders gathered together at a summit in New York to review the progress of the Millennium Declaration which had been adopted by all the Member States in 2000. These agendas had to be taken up and acted upon. In the course of fulfilling the needs and hopes of the people everywhere collectively, advancements keep moving for the causes of security, development, and human rights. Humanity will not enjoy security without development, it will not enjoy development without security, and it will not enjoy either without respect for human rights. For that, the world needs strong and capable states, effective partnerships with civil society, private sector, and regional and global intergovernmental institutions to mobilize and coordinate collective action. The UN must be reshaped with such courage and speed as not previously shown or imagined (UN: September 2005).

In the World Summit Outcome Document 2005, the Heads of States and Governments refer to the thought of human security in paragraph 143 for an equal opportunity to enjoy their rights and fully develop human potential. It (A/RES/60/1) recognizes that “all individuals, in particular the vulnerable people, are entitled to freedom from fear and freedom from want, with an equal opportunity to enjoy all their rights and to fully develop their human potential. This reference was pivotal in advancing the acceptance and understanding of human security in the United Nations (Human Security at the United Nations: 2012:10).

The Friends of Human Security that was formed in 2006 is recognized as a flexible and informal group of supporters comprising mainly UN Member States and international organizations. It provides a forum to discuss the concept and to explore possible collaborative efforts to mainstream human security and formulate joint initiatives in the United Nations (Human Security at the United Nations: 2012:10).

The Human Security Index (HSI) 2008 is an economic indicator in the old concept, but Human Development Index (HDI) is a new indicator. Since the publication of HDI by UNDP in 1990, many useful indicators have been developed. HSI aims to characterize security of an individual in a group, at home, in one’s village, country, and the Earth. The index supports all the existing and future well-intentioned developers of the indicators which may be used by development analysts/strategists/implementers to emphasize on the outcomes rather than modalities. The HSI is now conceptually framed in a trinity of economic, environmental and social fabric (Hastings: February 2012).

While receiving the MacArthur Award for International Justice,  former UNSG Kofi Annan challenged the Member States to renew the UN membership ‘in larger freedom’ to remind the people that the theme is rooted in the Charter. It emphasizes that the Preamble of the Charter of the UN is dedicated toward saving succeeding generations from war and enjoying better standards of life in larger freedom by 2008 (Annan: March 8, 2008). In May 2008, the Office of the President of the GA convened an informal thematic debate on human security where more than 90 Member States had participated in. The debate focused on the notion of human security, its multidimensional scope and added value to the work of the UN system. It was based on the commitment of the Heads of the States/Governments of 2005 World Summit on the definition of human security in the GA, which was based on paragraph 143 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome.

The Secretary-General submitted a report on human security in 2010 that was based on paragraph 143 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome (General Assembly resolution 60/1) and it was released on March 8 (A/64/701). It provided an overview of discussions on human security, and outlined the principles and approach for its advancement and application to the priorities of the UN. It further reminds about the definition of human security, its relationship with state sovereignty and the state’s responsibility to protect the citizens. It also narrates the current priorities of the UN for human security. The report concludes to identify the core elements and values of human security along with the commitment of 2005 World Summit Outcome (A/RES/60/1).

Each concerned Government has the primary role for human security to ensure survival, livelihood, and dignity of the citizens. The Government has to identify the primary responsibility of each individual citizen toward critical and pervasive threats, citizens’ welfare, and stability and sovereignty of the nation. It has suggested the strategies to strengthen the protection and empowerment of human security and promotion of peace and stability at every level — local, national, regional, and international. From 20th to 21st May 2010, a plenary meeting of the General Assembly was convened to consider the report of the Secretary-General (A/64/701). In July, the GA passed resolution 64/291, a “follow-up to paragraph 143 on human security of 2005 World Summit Outcome” to continue the discussion on human security and to agree on its definition in the General Assembly. In December 2010, the SG appointed Yukio Takasu as his Special Adviser on Human Security (Human Security at the United Nations: 2012:11)

On April 14th 2011, the Office of the President of the General Assembly convened an informal thematic debate and panel discussion on human security. In November 2011, the Special Adviser held informal consultations with the Member States to ensure for broad participation and inputs on the notion of human security and to enlist possible areas that could bring added value to the work of the UN (A/RES/64/291). During the consultation, the Member States confirmed the emergence of a level of consensus on the course of building the notion of human security (Human Security at the United Nations:2012:11). It was convened as a follow-up to the adoption of the GA Resolution 64/291 in July 2010. It emphasized the importance of continued consultation on the notion of human security (UN:April 14, 2011). The second report of the UNSG (A/66/763) was released on April 5th 2012, which proposed for a common understanding on human security based on the views expressed by the Member States (Human Security at the United Nations: 2012:11)

In April 2012, the General Assembly resolution 64/291 on human security requested the Secretary-General to seek the views of Member States on the notion of human security and to formulate its definition (A/RES/64/291). The Special Advisor to the SG on human security invited all the Member States to provide their views through written submissions. It was agreed that human security is a people-centered approach that assigns priorities based on local realities and capacities. It highlighted that human security is a practical and policy-oriented approach to address the growing interdependence of threats to survival, livelihoods, and dignity of the people in their daily lives. The report put forward a common understanding on human security based on the views expressed by the Member States.

A plenary meeting of the General Assembly was held on June 4th 2012 to discuss the report of the SG. On September 10th 2012, the GA adopted through consensus resolution 66/290 entitled, “Follow-up to paragraph 143 on human security of the 2005 World Summit Outcome”. The Member States agreed on common understandings on human security after seven years of discussions. Thus, human security has formally been applied within the works of the UN (Human Security at the United Nations: 2012:12).

In May 2013, the World leaders gathered at the UN Economic and Social Council Chamber in New York for a high-level event on human security to reflect the values and lessons learned by implementing the human security approach and taking into consideration the future integration of human security with the works of the UN. The event was declared open with the statements of the UNSG Ban Ki-Moon and Sadako Ogata, etc. The meeting highlighted the relevance of the human security approach in today’s context, interrelated challenges and contributions of UNTFHS (Human Security Activities 2013: unocha.org).

After seven years of intensive discussions in the General Assembly and subsequent common understanding reached on human rights in various UN events, resolution 66/290 was passed in order to strengthen the commitment to human security through partnerships that go beyond the UN system and include the joint efforts of the people, governments, UN family, regional organizations, NGOs, civil society, and the private sector (Human Security Activities in 2013: www.unocha.org/humansecurity/human-security-unit/human-security-activities-2013). Human Security Unit in the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has already produced the ninth issue of Human Rights in the United Nations Newsletter covering the developments till April 2013 for promoting human security at the UN works.

  1. State and Society on Human Security

Kinhide Mushakoji has stated that the concept of human security was first developed by the intellectuals of Canada and Japan, not the United States. It is a non-hegemonic notion that can facilitate a dialogue among all — hegemonic, non-hegemonic, and counter-hegemonic political and economic forces globally and locally — whenever an event of human insecurity emerges at any time of crisis and change (Winter 2012:1). In about ten years’ time,  the concept has made significant contributions, not only by broadening the scope of human security horizontally to non-military activities but also by shifting the  reference point vertically from the state to individuals (Tasaku: Winter 2012:2).

Canada initiated Human Security Network in 1999 and Japan in 2000 with the International Commission on Intervention and National Sovereignty, the prime recommendation of which was to protect the concept of human security (Tasaku: Winter 2012:3). Japan had also initiated the human security approach in 1998 while it was facing the Asian financial crisis. In March 1999 Japan and the UN together established the UN Trust Fund for Human Security which was primarily financed by Japan. It contributed in some human security projects of the UN, e.g. Commission on Human Security co-chaired by Ogata and Sen in 2001-2003, which increased human security at operational level (UNTFHS:2009:55). And in 2007, Slovenia and Thailand also joined the Fund. The UNTFHS has initiated projects related to key thematic human security areas, such as post-conflict peace-building initiatives, persistent and chronic poverty, food security, reduction to disaster risks, and human trafficking. The projects translate the concept of human security into operational activities that provide concrete and sustainable benefits to the people and communities threatened for survival, livelihood, and dignity (UNTFHS: 2009:56-57).

The UNSG, Japan and other states finally achieved an agreement in 2005 and the World Summit Outcome (WSO) document included a paragraph briefly stating that human security is necessary “to enable all individuals to be freed from fear and want, to enjoy all their rights and to fully develop their human potential” (Tasaku: Winter 2012:3).

To follow up the 2005 World Submit Outcome agreement and to try to mainstream human security in UN activities, Takasu, then representative of Japan, created a group called Friends for Human Security (FHS) in 2006 which has now expanded in more than 100 countries and has been instrumental to broaden the application of human security approach in many activities such as MDGs, protection of civilians, humanitarian assistance, post-conflict peace-building, etc. (Tasaku: Winter 2012:3). The FHS was formed through a flexible and open-ended informal group of supporters for human security consisting of representatives from UN Member States and relevant international organizations working at the UN headquarters based in New York under the chairmanship of Japan (UNTFHS: 2009:56).

The FHS has held four meetings on several occasions in October 2006, April 2007, November 2007, and May 2008. These meetings discussed human security related issues of climate change, peace-building, MDGs, global food crisis, human rights education, and gender-based violence. The fourth meeting had followed the General Assembly Informal Thematic Debate on Human Security organized by the President of the GA on May 22, 2008 in New York (UNTFHS:2009:58). The FHS discussed and explored collaborative efforts for mainstreaming human security in the United Nations activities (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan: www.mofa.go.jp/policy/human_secu/chronology.html).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan had launched several activities related to human rights.  The initiative started in December 1998 when Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi expressed his views on human security in the Intellectual Dialogue on Building Asia’s Tomorrow. At the same time in a speech at Honoi, Vietnam, the PM announced to contribute 500 million yen (US $4.2 million) for the establishment of UN Trust Fund for Human Rights. In the following March 1999, UNTFHS was established and the initially proposed amount by the Government of Japan was provided to the UN. On conclusion of G8 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in June 1999, the idea of human security was recalled. The issue was again discussed the same month in the International Symposium on Development. In December 1999 in the keynote speech Toward Human Security at the Japan Institute of International Affairs on its 40th anniversary symposium, Obuchi stated that concrete steps would be taken to apply the concept of human security in foreign policy.  Similarly, the succeeding PM Yoshihiro Mori also mentioned human security in his keynote speech at the Second Japan-South Pacific Forum Summit Meeting in April 2000 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan: www.mofa.go.jp /policy/human_secu/friends/).

In the concluding session of the G8 Foreign Ministers’ meeting, human security was mentioned in July 2000. The same month, an international symposium on Human Security was held, where Sadako Ogata and Amartya Sen had participated as panelists. In September 2000, Mori announced for an International Commission on Human Security in the UN Millennium Summit speech. Sadako Ogata also announced the establishment of a Commission on Human Security while UNSG Kofi Annan was in Japan. An international symposium on Human Security and Terrorism was held in Tokyo where members of the Commission on Human Security attended in December 2001. Co-Chairs Ogata and Sen of the Commission on Human Security submitted the final report of the Commission to PM Junichiro Koizumi in February 2003. A total of US $ 174.83 million have been provided to the UN Trust Fund for Human Security (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan: www.mofa.go.jp/policy/human_secu/chronology.html).

In 1998, Canada and Norway signed a bilateral agreement to establish the Human Security Network (HSN). One year later, the network extended its membership to like-minded foreign ministers of 13 countries of all regions to promote the concept and commitment of human security in all national and international policies. The team expressed their commitment to promote human rights and international humanitarian law; to strengthen rule of law; and to foster a culture of peace controlling violence, ending impunity and violations of human rights and international law. It identified collective action in the areas of human security. Its members include: Austria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland, Thailand, and South Africa (www.emb-norway.ca/Embassy-and-Consulates/norwaycanada/Initiatives1 /humansecurity/). The Network’s efforts include the steps toward the application of human security, including Ottawa Convention on Anti-personnel Landmines and establishment of the International Criminal Court (UNTFHS: 2009:57).

The Canadian Foreign Ministry has developed several measures on human rights for the people’s rights, safety, and their lives. Article 7 of the Constitution Act 1982 which is commonly called Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms 1982 says, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of the person”. Human security means freedom from pervasive threats to people’s rights, safety, and lives (DFAIT Canada: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada: www.international.gc.ca /international /index.aspx). The human security agenda leads to protection of civilians, peace support operations, governance and accountability, public safety, and conflict resolution (Dore: June 6, 2003:36). Human security is the ability to enjoy the fruits of human development in a safe environment. Human development is a means to create human security. Both initiatives are complementary and mutually reinforcing. Without one, the other becomes difficult, if not impossible (Dore: http://www.walterdorn.org/pub/23).

Human Security Division (HSD) of Switzerland is responsible to protect and promote peace, human rights, and humanitarian law which are closely and mutually interlinked. The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has introduced freedom from fear of armed conflicts, despotism, expulsion and political and criminal violence and freedom from want, poverty, hunger, disease, and environmental disasters along with the end of Cold War 1990.

On freedom from fear, Switzerland commits to mediate between the conflicting parties; promote civilian conflict resolution; support strengthening the rule of law and democracy; combat against illicit trade, abuse of small arms and light weapons; ban anti-personnel mines and support mine-clearing efforts; protect human rights and vulnerable people in armed conflicts; advocate for the implementation of IHL;  call for humane system of migration control; and undertake an effective struggle against human trafficking. The freedom from want commits to combating poverty and promoting good health and good governance through development cooperation (FDFA: www.eda.admin.ch/pd4).

Switzerland has played an influential role in the creation of UN Human Rights Council and Geneva Middle East Initiative, and it has contributed in peace processes in Colombia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Southern Sudan, and Uganda. The allocated budget is utilized through three Geneva Centers, viz. Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP), Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), and Geneva Center for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). Switzerland has also supported the United Nations in its conflict prevention and peace promotion programs.

HSD works to fight against illicit small arms and antipersonnel mines, security sector reform (SSR), and for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants into civilian life in the society. It also provides supports in both bilateral and multilateral forums and in some cases through its expert pool with due respect toward human dignity.

Besides, HSD has provided human rights experts as special envoys to conduct dialogues in Vietnam, Cuba, and countries in Central Asia and as task force members to deal with the past atrocities and genocide, prevention of atrocities and genocide, and gender discrimination. The Division has held several annual conferences starting from human security in Sri Lanka in 2003 to human rights and peace held in Berne in 2012 (FDFA: www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/dfa/orgcha/sectio/pad /pad4.html). Thus, the concept of human security places emphasis on protecting individuals as well as entire communities against any acts of violence — political or arbitrary.

Several organizations, namely NATO, African Union, European Union, Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Organization of American States (OAS), and the League of Arab States (LAS), etc. are particularly focused to resolve the contemporary challenges such as hunger, poverty, diseases, violations of human rights, armed conflicts, human trafficking, and international terrorism by keeping human beings at the center through comprehensive and integrated manner (UNTFHS: 2009:58).

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established in 1949 to ward off insecurity and threats through united efforts as a means of collective defense for preservation of peace and security in the region. Its main purpose was to keep the “Russians out, Americans in, and Germans down”. Article 1 of NATO directs to settle any international dispute by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace, security, and justice are not endangered. In their mutual relations, it refrains from threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. Article 4 states that the Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of them is threatened.

Similarly, the African Union has adopted several human security measures.  Good governance, rule of law, elimination of corruption, and unhindered exercise of individual rights are enshrined in the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and those of the UDHR. These constitute a pre-requisite for sustainable peace and security in Africa. A fundamental link exists between human security, development, and cooperation in a manner that each reinforces the other. It creates conditions for economic stability devoid of economic mismanagement with focus on human security and poverty eradication as called for in 1995 Cairo Agenda for Action and in the treaty establishing the African Economic Community (Abuja Treaty).

To give effect to the above core values, it requires developing a collective continental architecture for promoting security and inter-African relations that go beyond the traditional military definition by embracing imperatives pertaining to human security and principles relating to good governance for promotion of democracy, respect for human rights and legitimate rights of leaders after they have vacated their office. A common definition of security was established in 2005 with a framework codifying national laws and legislations regarding human security as contained in the CSSDCA Solemn Declaration in order to build confidence and collaborative security regimes at national, regional, and continental levels.

The Human Security Report Project (HSRP) is an independent research body which became affiliated with Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Vancouver, Canada in May 2007. Previously, it was located at the University of British Columbia and was known as the Human Security Center. It tracks global and regional trends in organized violence, their causes and consequences. It produces a wide range of data, research, and news resources covering the causes and consequences of conflict to maintain global human security. Its research findings have been included in the publications of Human Security Report, Human Security Brief series, and other online data.

HSD’s work shall highly be appreciated in Nepal as its services for human security had reached the needy persons at grassroots level. It remained at the center with Track I core political leaders including some sort of cooperation at cantonment level. It could not reach even at expert level that has been bridging between Track I and Track III on Nepal’s peace process. It is because of that political leaders supersede the role of experts. Besides, it lacks human and resources constraints.

  1. Where does Human Security stand in Nepal?

Either national or human security ambit is tainted with changes in the nature of threats evolving in a nation, region, or the world. In today’s global village, it would be difficult for a particular country to realize security unilaterally. A key component of national security strategy is cooperation with other countries to build a favorable regional and international environment. Security agenda is itself a sensitive new concept that emerged after WW II. It is much debated, often contested, but least understood concept which has been traditionally used to safeguard the regime. Nepal is not an external-threat-free country, but internal problems are much more challenging. More than 19,000 had lost their lives in the course of recent internal conflict (Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction: June 2013). The present federal republic of Nepal suffers from socio-cultural violence for the sake of being an autonomous state with right to self determination. Nepal lies at a point of strategic importance and serious rivalry among the regional and global powers.

Nepal does not have a National Security Policy (NSP) yet. Still, the country has been transformed into a plural, democratic, multi-caste/ethnic, federal, and secular republic from a centralized, feudal-unitary kingdom. It is a matter of pride that Nepal has initiated a public debate on NSP which has been a top secret agenda of the Nepal Army. Moreover, there has been no initiation of any talk on human security within the country and between the government and political parties, government-security forces, and government-civil society institutions. Therefore, this section would endeavor to provide some models for adoption of nation’s security policy and human security. This gives some opportunity to try to discover the significance of “Where is Nepal?” in the formulation of security policy and human security. The given measures would assist to understand the state of security in Nepal within the land and beyond. Nepal keeps receiving traditional security as well human security threats as it is sandwiched between two giants, China and India, having two different models of democracy: one having political power that controls all of the state mechanisms and natural resources, and the other where the rich people actually control the state mechanisms and even political parties (Pathak:2005:1).

In the absence of National Security Policy, Nepal still follows the directives of Dibya Upadesh (for instance, Nepal is a yam between two rocks) given by King Prithvi Narayan Shah during the unification period (Stiller: 1968) and Panchsheel[xvi].  Similarly, King Birendra’s (reign January 31st 1972-June 1st 2001) proposal of zone of peace for secure Nepal proved only too insecure to his entire family and sovereign country (Duquesne: July 27, 2011). While Nepal maintained neutrality in Sino-India border dispute (which had escalated a fierce war in 1962), India did not feel comfortable with Nepal’s monocracy headed by the monarch. Nepal supported neither adversary in the Indo-Pakistan War in 1971.

Besides, King Birendra had protested against the annexation of Sikkim as the 22nd state of India in April 1975, claiming Sikkim was a part of Greater Nepal. In 1975, he proposed that Nepal be recognized internationally as a “zone of peace” which had received support of 112 countries by 1990, including that of China and Pakistan. India remained silent on this count despite repeated reminders put forward by Nepal. Moreover, the erstwhile USSR had withdrawn its support due to the pressure from India (Pathak: October 27, 2010). Similarly, BP Koirala’s national reconciliation policy is still considered useful for national and human security. Nepal has never been a colony of any foreign power, invader or dictator. It should be understood that historical perspective is the capability of a nation to pursue fruitfully its national interests, livelihood for the people, and colorful mosaic of freedom.

The mainstream political parties in Nepal also presented their security agendas in their election manifestos in post-constituent assembly in 2008. Some of their security perspectives have been mentioned below (Pathak: 2012:66).

The Communist Party of Nepal Maoist election manifesto has proposed the security for two armed forces in Nepal. It reads that professionalization of the combatants of the Maoist Army and democratization of Nepal Army must be carried out. A High Level Security Commission should be formed to restructure the security system based on the new democratic republic (Nepal Communist Party-Maoist: Falgun 2064 BS).

The Nepali Congress manifesto states that a security policy should be adopted to protect the national border, geographical/territorial integrity and natural resources to promote social harmony and peace and to protect life and property of the people. The security policy should be helpful not only for the army personnel but also for the citizens. The Armed Police, Nepal Police, and National Investigation Department should be transformed as per the new federal structure (Election Manifesto of Nepali Congress: 2064 BS).

As per the CPN UML manifesto, security means safeguarding the national border. It should provide protection to geographical integrity, natural resources, social harmony, and human lives. The security forces should not only have democratic and inclusive character, but must also be devoted in the service for the people. The national security forces should also be mobilized for constructive works (Election Manifesto of the UML: 2064 BS).

The age-old notion of national security is now gradually waning due to the development of international relations since the end of the cold war in a number of ways and areas, e.g. globalization, economic inter-dependence, rapid development, environmental security, liberal democratic political system, widespread human rights, and growing asymmetric warfare (Wagle: August 30th, 2010). In view of the post-conflict transitional situation of the country and increasing demands for identity-based ethnic federalism, human security in Nepal needs to be assessed afresh and discussed further in the interest of the security of the people and the nation on various issues, viz. nationalism, food and economic security, constitutional security, socio-cultural security, societal reintegration, unity in diversity, and right to self-determination, etc. National security is a notion for protection of the nation or the state, but human security is for the protection of all human beings.

Due to the lack of national policy on security, there is no clear vision with the government. And in the absence of political parties’ agendas, and devoid of public discussions in all tracks, human security has become a vague, complex, and confusing neologism in the case of Nepal. From government to political parties and from civil society to common people, therefore, there are positive and negative aspects in regard to nation’s security and human security.

The following dimensions have been drawn from a comprehensive paper presented by the author during a Round Table Discussion on Understanding National Security Policy of Nepal held in Kathmandu on August 23rd 2010 under the auspices of the Nepal Institute for Strategic Studies. The event was attended by senior Nepal Army generals, leaders of all mainstream political parties, and civil society security experts.

5.1 Positive Human Security

Nationalism: Kalapani, Susta, Tanakpur, etc. are today’s national agendas of debate, discourse, and dialogue. The controversial Sugauli Treaty 1816 (Shrestha: 2008) with British India and Peace and Friendship Treaty 1950 (Uprety: undated) with independent India have been serious issues for the nation and nationalism and their implications have to be redefined in the people’s interests and the imperatives of nationality and human security. Nepal’s nationality need not be  pointed against either China or India. Nepal was never colonized, but it has never really been sovereign and independent. A strong sense of nationalism prevailed among the combatants of the MA when they put forward their thought that they intended to stay always with the people. Besides, they can provide training to citizens and the trained people may be mobilized at short notice in the case of an emergency.

Kingdom to republican: The political parties for long have been without any agenda because they never imagined that Nepal would be declared a republican nation so soon. The 240-year-old monarchy was transformed into a republic. The then king Gyanendra himself left the throne peacefully (Adhikari: July 24th 2009). Merely two hours before the first meeting of the CA, the political leaders were afraid about a decision for republic. The Interim Constitution of Nepal states that the first meeting of the CA shall decide the fate of monarchy. The republican Nepal puts NA under the umbrella of civilian government in May 2008, no democratic practice adopts within them. 

National Interest: National interest leads to a conglomeration of conditions sought for survival, welfare, stability, and prosperity of the nation. It concerns with policies related to agriculture, health, education, economy, environment, culture, defense, and foreign affairs, etc. It endeavors to give top priority to human security and border security in order to safeguard unity, identity, territorial integrity, economy and environment, political stability, sovereignty, balanced international relations, peace in the region and in the world, etc.

Although, Nepal does not have a separate human security policy, the preamble of the Interim Constitution 2007 clearly states about inherited authoritative sovereignty, historical struggles and people’s movements for democracy, existing diversities, progressive economic-social prosperity, integrity, and independence and dignity of the country. The awareness toward presence of threat, and resistance, diplomacy and neighbors’ observance itself is an essential tool to prepare for protection from external aggression. There is no permanent army in Switzerland, but it can mobilize an army of up to 600,000 people within 24 hours in case of any emergency. National interest must fasten all the people together in line with the motto, ‘Nation and people first, and then only other needs and demands.

Security Concept: Nepal could never feel as an independent and sovereign country due to the controversial Arms Assistance Agreement with India signed in 1965. India informally objects to any import of arms, ammunition, and related equipments for security forces of Nepal from a third country without its prior consent. After the announcement of being Republic, on December 29, 2009 Nepal Government constituted a 5-member cabinet committee led by the then defense minister to draft a national security policy. The committee submitted a draft report to the State Affairs Committee of the Legislature Parliament for discussion on August 2, 2010 with a conclusion that increasing foreign interference and infiltration pose serious risk of terrorism. The draft calls for setting up adequate mechanisms for preserving the fundamental principles of Nepal’s security, full protection of geographical, social, political, and economic situation of the country stressing upon safeguarding individual and public property, national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national interest (ekantipur.com: March 1, 2011). It further recommends to democratize and right-size the Nepal Army. But it has not been made public yet; it is still a top secret file in the file cabinet. Moreover, that draft was prepared without consulting the security forces.

Security strategy is comprised of four essential components such as ends, threats, means, and ways. Its foundation is built through people, democracy, and sovereignty. Nepal has not yet identified countries to be kept near or at a distance. The concerned actors must be cleared through the tests on civilian-democratic control, effectiveness, and efficiency that are the principal tools of internal and external security.

Unity in diversity: Nepal is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-linguistic, and multi-cultural country. There has been an intense pressure and debate to include the demands of Ethnicities, Tarai-Madhes and Dalits (ETMD) in the new constitution. The state should respect and address the mosaic or rainbow to maintain unity in diversity by providing equal political space to all ETMD too. One discussant on Understanding the National Security Policy said that only an  anarchist would seek Tarai-Madhes, not a sincere Madhesi.

Economic security: Economic security includes secured land ownership rights and equal opportunities for jobs and distribution of resources. What does a poor countryside youth receive from the government except a passport certifying his/her identity that s/he is a Nepali? But Nepal has been successful in avoiding being declared a failed state because of the remittances earned through the sweat of such youths, not from the whisky-talks of the elite people.

Constitutional security: A constitution is a bridge between the state and the people. Nepal’s new constitution must provide equal power to all ETMDs. The constitution should clearly define the role of the government, people, and military. The trinity dimension was emphasized by the presenters and discussants. But, all thee mainstream parties were not honest enough to draft and proclaim a new constitution within the stipulated time.

Nepal Army’s proposal: The traditional security perspective of the state is being gradually oriented toward change and improvement. So is the notion of traditional national security gradually weakening due to international relations developed after the end of the cold war. Similar is the case with the security environment, globalization, economic inter-dependence, development, liberal democratic political system, widespread human rights, and the growing asymmetric warfare. In this context, national security must be taken as a broad and comprehensive form to address the internal and external challenges by considering the state and the people as reference points.

Human Security: It is an integrated and enlarged concept of security embraced by the UN in 1994. Economic security, food security, health security, environmental security, personal security, community security, and political security are the principal constituents of human security. It does not only limit to defense of the territory; it should also ensure freedom of the people, human rights, peace, security, and cultural identity. People centric, rights friendly, and human development are the basic concepts for a strong, efficient, and effective means of human security.

Vulnerability: Nepal has to face several vulnerabilities with India. Some of the examples are: Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty (1950); Koshi (1954), Gandak (1959), and Mahakali (1996) agreements. There has been an intense interest of India on Nepal’s hydropower, besides the manipulation in leadership and supports.  

5.2 Negative Human Security

Threat: Nepal may suffer from internal and external threats. Some of the notable examples of threats in the past are: Anglo-Nepal war (1814-1915), Sino-India border war in 1962, Indo-Pak war of 1971 and secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan, merger of Sikkim into India in 1975, Indo-Sri Lanka war (1987-1990), and Maoists’ insurgency (1996-2006), etc. Weapons of mass destruction, ethnic discord, terrorism, resource depletion, organized crime, health endemics, blockade of transit routes, trade retaliation, economic meltdown, narcotic drugs, AIDS, global warming, and natural disaster among others are broader context of human security threats in Nepal. This means that Nepal will have to face not only military threats, but non-military too.

However, Nepal at present faces more internal conflict (within nation) as the Interim Constitution 2007 could not address the security threat such as autonomous desire, exclusion, illiteracy, poverty, disease, etc. It is believed that 80 per cent of the world’s conflicts are internal due to the proliferation of the identity cause and it shall continue for another 150 to 200 years. Taraian-Madhesis feel threat from Pahade (hill-and-mountain dwellers)-formulated national security and human security mechanisms and vice versa.

Grand design: There is little likelihood that Nepal would face any direct military invasion or occupation because of its strategic geopolitical location. A military take-over would be the least cost-effective approach for controlling a sensitive country like Nepal. And there may be short-term and long-term implications and uncertainties. On the other hand, Nepal is historically well established nation-state recognized by international community. Besides, Nepal has the potential to wage a ‘war of national liberation’ for an indefinite time. Nonetheless, Nepal must learn lessons from the recent events: the sudden economic blockade, occasional transit obstacles, frequent territorial encroachments, and the ever lurking Akhanda Bharat aspirations for an integrated India by devouring erstwhile small states. But, there also are brewing internal threats: infiltration of Indian grand design into leadership of political parties, bureaucracy, and security organs, impact of conflict in South Asia, impact of unilateral construction of dams, and diversion of rivers, onus of multinational rivers the Ganges and Brahmaputra interlinking Tibetan plateau, and mass immigration of refugees, etc.

Federalism: Various ethno-federal demands for autonomous state with right to self determination are likely to lead to secessionist movements as happened in the former USSR, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, etc. So far 14 independent countries have been carved out from the erstwhile USSR and 7 from former Yugoslavia. They all had disintegrated due to varying socio-cultural identities. Federalism is just beginning; it will continue as the states proliferate rapidly. For example, Sudan initiated its federal structure with 3 states; it grew to 6, 12, and now 36.

People have a misconception that once it enters into ethnocentric federalism, Nepal would lose its unity in diversity. Each federal state may suffer from the constraints of economic resources, common identity, and administrative division. Conflicts within a state and between two states may rise particularly on the issues of revenue generation and natural resources. In fact, decentralization in the true sense would have been enough for the benefit and satisfaction of all concerned rather than having faulting foundation of federalism. Decentralization is also a kind of federalism. However, inclusivity and decentralization must go side by side. But, all discriminated and marginalized communities are bent upon showing deep interest in federalism. Discrimination and marginalization often prepare the grounds for communal violence.

Right to self-determination:All peoples must have the right to self-determination’ is a highly controversial and vague issue in the world. Broadly it is defined as a right of the people to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, cultural, and political development. The UCPN Maoist, Tarai-Madhes parties, and ethnic groups have strongly raised their demand for self-determination and autonomy. Some also perceive it as the right to secession with reference to ICCPR and ILO Conventions. All people may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice or any obligation arising out of international economic cooperation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case people be deprived of their own means of subsistence.

ILO Convention 169: ILO 169 illustrates the state of tribal people in independent countries whose social, cultural, and economic conditions distinguish them from the mainstream people and whose status is regulated wholly or partially by their own customs or traditions or by special laws or regulations. People in independent countries who are regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from those who had inhabited the country or a geographical region to which the country belonged at the time of conquest or colonization or the establishment of present state boundaries and who, irrespective of their legal status, retain some or all of their own social, economic, cultural, and political institutions. Nepal has ratified the ILO convention while becoming the first country in South Asia to do so.  ILO 169 concerns the indigenous people, and 37 percent of Nepal’s population is made up of 59 different groups of indigenous people. However, Nepal lacks proper implementation of the regulations (Nepali Times: February 18th 2011)

Recruitment: Inclusion is a strong demand of Tarai-Madhes. They want democratic inclusive recruitment in the Nepal Army. Hridayesh Tripathi says that the issue has not been adequately addressed and some of them still not understand the real cause. Madhesis believe that they must reach to state power to protect and promote their self-identity. Even the People’s Liberation Army did not understand the Madhesi cause. What problems would the country face if the NA extends its strength to 200,000 from its present position? It was revealed that 7.35 per cent of the total soldiers in NA are from Tarai-Madhes and NA has plans to set up a separate battalion focusing recruitment from Tarai-Madhes.

Means: The NSP has to be formulated on the basis of the following: repercussions of all the existing policies of the government; presence of external and internal threats; strengths and limitations of natural resources, population, tourism, and geo-politics; national character, unity, morale, and leadership; political, diplomatic, informational, economic and military power; and interests of civil society, neighboring countries, and international institutions, etc. As one of the least developed countries of the world, most of the available means in Nepal are ill-equipped, ill-organized, undeveloped, and untrained to meet the challenging tasks of human security.

People’s human security interests could not be implemented due to adhering to the mainstream parties’ unclear, self-centered, and arrogant policies rather than thinking in the interest of the nation and the general populace on the whole. Non-formulation of national and human security policy is also due to the country’s paradigm shift from kingdom to republic, the state mechanism remaining the same.

National security as well as human security must be kept above the dirty politics of political parties. Nepal’s security needs to be addressed in a comprehensive, integrated, and cooperative manner. National security policy forms the basis of all other policies for human security. People must be kept at the center of national and human security. National Security policy for human security is to have Shared Vision, Collective Will, and Enduring Effort. For this, politicians should follow people-centric security policy rather than 4Ps of power-property-politics-privilege-centric gimmicks.

  1. Concluding Analysis

The importance of people-centered integrated approach for human security varies depending on the situation of the nation concerned. In a period of conflict, concern toward protection of the civilian remains at the top and no discrimination need be made while providing humanitarian assistance to victims, mainly refugees and internally displaced people, etc. In a post-conflict stage, the concerned authorities should follow an integrated peace-building strategy incorporated with not only Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and Security Sector Reform (SSR), but also restoration of democracy and rule of law, establishment of restorative justice, and renovation of infrastructure. In an economic downturn, international financial institutions must be responsible to effectively implement the needs for safety measures to protect its citizenry. Even in a normal political situation, special attention has to be given to the poor and vulnerable people, minorities, and marginal or excluded communities in terms of human security.

National security involves the security of the nation or state whereas human security is people-centric at home, job, school, community or society, and nature. A guarantee for human security would only be possible if a country follows the democratic norms, values, and principles. Nepal is an only country in the world of that it adopts the democracy without elected representatives in all tiers since a long. Human security may only be secured through genuine, motivated, and matured leadership which is truly committed for the people and the nation. The purpose of human security is to have secured life, liberty, livelihood, and dignity irrespective of the class, community, resources, nation, geography, culture, and caste/ethnicity. The world can never attain peace nor harmony, unless people individually have security in their daily lives.

There is positive human security in Nepal as it lies between the two emerging superpowers — China and India. Positive human security is evident in the case of Nepal India relations, e.g. both have natural ties in rivers — upper riparian and lower riparian rights; majority of the population has common Aryan ancestry, mutual matrimonial relationships, same peaceful socio-cultural beliefs and norms such as religion, dharma and dharmasastras, festivals; Sanskrit originated languages (Nepali and Hindi); similar economic condition to meet the requirements for food, clothing and shelter, and  presence of justice at all economic, social, and political levels. Besides, present republic Nepal also adopts Gandhian and/or Nehruvian social democracy. Nepal attained and restored democracy with the cooperation and encouragement of Indian power, politics, and some equipment too. They have shared inheritance to Gautam Buddha since Buddha was born in Nepal and got enlightenment in India, although in China majority of the people are the followers of Buddhism. Mongoloid people, mostly residing in mountain have socio-cultural ties with China, which had started with Bhrikuti[xvii]. Bhrikuti’s husband Songtsan Gampo, emperor of Tibet, believed himself as the personification of Buddha. Nepal’s kingdom had special relations with China and then with India. Nepal developed better relations with India owing to the porous border unlike the inaccessible mountains in the North.

Like Sino-India relations, there is negative human security (human insecurity) in Nepal. Nepal is a Shangri-La mosaic sandwiched between contrasting politico-ideological systems, socio-cultural identities, vast economic and natural resources, demographic and geographical expansions. Sino-Indian competition is manifest due to two different systems:  disorderly under-governed India and orderly over-governed China.  India has adopted bourgeois-cum-competitive democracy whereas China stands firm on non-competitive proletarian democracy, which means that the politics in China controls the nation’s economy, whereas the economy[xviii] controls India’s politics. The control theory is now more relevant due to the growing security interests of both in Nepal. India tries hard to check transferring of fake Indian currency notes and Muslim extremists from Nepal. China lobbies to stop any kind of anti-Tibetan activities from Nepal.  Besides, China is looking toward a permanent political force in Nepal — similar to erstwhile monarch in the past.

It should be noted that when Tibetan refugees reach India directly from China, India sends them to Nepal to register as Tibetan refugees, although it has allowed Dalai Lama to live in Dharmashala. Upon subsequent commissioning of reports after any prominent human casualties in Nepal, it has been found that the involved criminals had come from India. Thus, Nepal is becoming a center for criminals and illegal immigrants coming from close neighbors.

Till recently when it was still a kingdom, the leaders used to be loyal not only toward the monarch but also his courtiers; the present leaders are subservient to Indian power, politics, and property. Unless China breaks its silence in diplomacy to become assertive, Nepal would never be an independent and sovereign country in the real sense. Although Nepal was never colonized, it has never been truly sovereign either.

Negative human security in Nepal is due to dual and dubious roles of most of the prominent political leaders. Dual in the sense that they seem loyal to the people and nation during day-time, but are in fact clandestinely involved in the dirty political games of India, mostly at night. That is why the mainstream political leaders empowered by Indian power and politics are afraid to face possible public wrath in election. Therefore, many leaders keep themselves associated with the gangsters and dons to save their person.  There is no slavery in Nepal, but the ambitious political leaders try to introduce a culture of slavery in their politics using particular sections of people as their vote bank. It is against the UN Charter of human security which highlights the right of people to live in freedom and dignity without fear, free from poverty, and despair, and to have equal opportunity to enjoy all their rights and to fully develop their human potential.

Human security is also a difficult proposition for Nepal as the people could not get a new federal democratic republic constitution from the Constituent Assembly even after several extensions of its four-year tenure. Political parties are largely divided into two factions: separate identity based federalism to collective or common identity based federal states. The demands for their own identity based federal states by some of the vocal minority ethnic people are facing refusal from other sectors great majority of the population. With such developments, Nepal may be inviting socio-cultural violence and even more fearful chaos and bloodshed than what was experienced during the People’s War (1996-2006).

There has been debate of human security which is being endangered by the western forces as well. Outgoing Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai said, “China and India want political stability in Nepal, but some western countries are plotting against CA polls” (Himalayan Times: June 1st 2013). A few western powers want to provoke the issue of free Tibet and to advocate for third country migration of Tibetan refugees in Nepal. Thus, they want to weaken transitional Nepal for their fulfillment of vested interest. Similarly, they also want to displace the Indian influence along with its political games from Nepal. It might not be mere coincidence that the Free Tibet Movement was intensified in Kathmandu so long as the UNOHCHR and UNMIN were stationed in Nepal (Pathak: November 2012: 16). While referring to the influence of Northern and Southern neighbors, Baburam Bhattarai had said, “… the Western powers are seeking to drill into Nepal to fulfill their vested interests” (BC: June 4, 2013:1).

Human security lies on overall development of human beings, not to fulfill the quest of arm race. Human security enhances humanitarian culture either it is rich or poor reducing the military spending. We have a saying: Ghar lathalinga bhayepachhi chhimekile afno surakshyakolagi bhayepani hastachhep garchhani (When the house is in chaos, neighbors intervene for their own security). The role of India in particular and other powers in general for their own vested interests may not be different in weakening the fluid political situation of Nepal. Indeed, insecurity caused anywhere is a challenge to security of all human beings everywhere, for the world is becoming a global village without frontiers.


  1. Adhikari, Dhruba. July 24, 2009. Ex-king Gyanendra reflects beyond throne. Nepalnews.com. Kathmandu
  2. A/47/277 – S/24111. June 17, 1992. An Agenda for Peace Preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peace-keeping. New York.
  3. A/59/2005. March 21, 2005.  In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All. New York.

4.      A/59/2005. September 2005. In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All. New York.

  1. A/66/290. August 10, 2011. Promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion
  2. A/66/763. April 5, 2012. Follow-up to General Assembly resolution 64/291 on human security. New York.
  1. A/RES/60/1. October 24, 2005. 2005 World Summit Outcome. New York.
  2. A/RES/64/291. April 14th 2011. General Assembly Thematic Debate on Human Security. New York.
  3. A/RES/64/701. March 8, 2010. A Report of the GS on Human Security, presented at 64 session. New York.
  4. A/RES/66/290. October 25, 2012. Follow-up to paragraph 143 on human security of the 2005 World Summit Outcome. New York
  5. Annan, Kofi. March 8, 2008. Address on Receiving the MacArthur Award for International Justice. Kofi Annan Foundation.
  6. BC, Ganga. June 4, 2013. Pashchima Shakti Nirwanchan Vandaicchan (Western forces disrupting election). In Kantipur. Kathmandu: Kantipur Publications.
  7. Constitution Act (Canadian Charter of People’s Rights and Freedoms) 1982.
  8. Commission on Human Security. 2003. Human Security Now. New York.
  9. Duquesne, Isabelle. July 27, 2011. International Relations Expert, France. In Telegraphnepal. Kathmandu.
  10. Election Manifesto of Maoist. 2064 BS. Kathmandu.
  11. Hastings, David. February 2012. The Human Security Index: An Update and a New Release.
  12. Himalayan Times. June 1, 2013. Bhattarai sings his own praises. Kathmandu.
  13. Human Security at the UN. Online available at http://unocha.org/humansecurity/about-human-security/human-security-un
  14. Human Security at the United Nations. 2012. New York: Human Security Unit.
  15. Interim Constitution of the Kingdom in Nepal. 2007. Nepal
  16. Mainstreaming Human Security: The Asian Contribution. October 4-5, 2007. Bangkok: The International Development Studies Conference.
  17. Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan. Human Security Network. Online available at http://www.mzz.gov.si/en/foreign_policy/foreign_ policy/human_security_network_hsn/
  18. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Friends of Human Security. Online available at http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/human_secu/friends/
  19. Pathak, Bishnu. 2005. Politics of People’s War and Human Rights in Nepal. Kathmandu: Bimipa Publications.
  20. Pathak, Bishnu. 2012. Civil-Military Relations: Nepalese Context. In Contemporary Nepal. Kalinga Publications.
  21. Pathak, Bishnu. November 2012. Transitional Security. In Transitional Justice. Kathmandu: Transitional Justice Resource Center. Year 1. No. 5.
  22. Pathak, Bishnu. October 27, 2010. Nepal Struggling for True Sovereignty. In South Asia Insight. Pakistan.
  23. Pathak, Bishnu. September 23, 2010. Understanding National Security Policy in Nepal. Kathmandu: Nepal Institute for Strategic Studies.
  24. UN. April 14, 2011. General Assembly Thematic Debate on Human Security. New York
  25. UNGS. May 22, 2008. General Assembly Thematic Debate on Human Security. New York
  26. We the Peoples: The Role of the UN in the 21st Century. Online available at http://www.un.org /millennium/sg/report/summ.htm
  27. ekantipur.com. March 3, 2011. First National Security Policy on anvil. Kathmandu.
  28. Nepali Times. February 18, 2011. ILO 169: Nepal as a model. Kathmandu. 
  1. A/RES/60/1. October 24, 2005. 2005 World Summit Outcome. New York
  1. A/RES/64/291. July 27, 2010. Follow-up to paragraph 143 on human security of the 2005 World Summit Outcome. New York.
  1. Alkire, Sabina. 2003. A Conceptual Framework for Human Security. Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity. University of Oxford.

18.  Danish Institute for Human Rights. The International Labor Organization. Online Available at http://www.humanrights.dk/human+rights/globally/the+international+ labour+organization+ (ilo)

19.  Declaration by United Nations. January 1, 1942. Online Available at http://untreaty.un.org/cod/avl/ha/cun/photo06.html

20.  DFAIT Canada: Online Available at www.international.gc.ca/international/index.aspx.

21.  Dorn, Walter. Jun 6, 2003. Human Security: Four Debates. Royal Military College of Canada.

22.  Dore, Walter. Human Security: An Overview. Online Available at http://www.walterdorn.org/pub/23

  1. Election Manifesto of Nepali Congress. 2064 BS. Kathmandu.
  2. Election Manifesto of UML. 2064 BS. Kathmandu.
  3. FDFA. Human Security. Online Available at http://www.eda.admin.ch/pd4
  4. FDFA. Human Security Division: Online Available at www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home /dfa/orgcha /sectio/pad/pad4.html
  5. Gunnar Skirbekk and Nils Gilje. 2001. A History of Western Thought: From Ancient Greece to the Twentieth Century. Taylor and Francis Group.

30.  Hague Appeal for Peace. Online Available at http://www.haguepeace.org/index. php?action= history&subAction=conf&selection=when)

33.  Hinsley, F.H. 1962. Power and the Pursuit of Peace: Theory and Practice in the History of Relations Between States. Cambridge University Press.

34.  History of the United Nations. Online Available at http://www.un.org/en/aboutun/history/

  1. Human Security Activities 2013. Online Available at http://www.unocha.org/humansecurity/human-security-unit/human-security-activities-2013

38.  ILO. 1919. Origin and History of ILO. Online Available at http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/history/lang–en/index.htm

  1. Kant, Immanuel. 1795. Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch. Online Available at https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/kant/kant1.htm.
  2. Kennedy, David M. 1999. Freedom From Fear. The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. Oxford University Press.

42.  League of Nation. October 2012. Online Available at http://www.iberori.org/imun/The-League-of-Nations.pdf

  1. McRae, Rob and Don Hubert, Eds. 2001. Human Security and the New Diplomacy: Protecting People, Promoting Peace. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

46.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Chronology of activities related to Human Security by the Japanese Government. Online Available at www.mofa.go.jp/policy/human_secu/ chronology.html).

  1. Mushakoji, Kinhide. Winter 2012. Three Reasons Why We Should Study Human Security. In “Journal of Human Security Studies”. Volume 1.
  2. North Atlantic Treaty Organization 1949.

50.  Panchsheel. External Publicity Division, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. Online Available at http://meahindi.nic.in/hindixpsite/celdemo/panchsheel.pdf.

  1. Quilligan, James Bernard. 2002. The Brandt Equation: 21st Century Blueprint for the New Global Economy. Philadelphia. Online available at Brandt21Forum.info.

57.  Roosevelt, Franklin D. June 1, 1941. Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union on Four Freedoms Speech.  Online Available at http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/pdfs/fftext.pdf

58.  Shrestha, Buddhi Narayan. What is Sugauli Treaty. AIMSA Collection for Study.

59.  Stiller, Ludwig F. 1968. Prithvi Narayan Shah in the Light of Dibya Upadesh. Kathmandu.

  1. Takasu, Yukio. Winder 2012. Mainstreaming Human Security in the Global Agenda. In “Journal of Human Security Studies”. Volume 1.

61.  The Treaty of Peace. June 29, 1919. The Allied and Associated Powers and Germany and Treaty between the France and Great Britain. Signed at Versailles.

  1. The World Bank and the Copenhagen Declaration: Ten Years After. September 20, 2004. Social Development Department Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Network.
  2. UN. 1943. Moscow and Teheran Conference.
  3. UN. 1948. Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  4. UN. 1966. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  5. UN. 1966. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  1. UN. We the Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century. Online Available at http://www.un.org/millennium/sg/report/summ.htm
  2. UN.2004. A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility. Report of the Secretary General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.
  1. UNGS. May 22, 2008. General Assembly Thematic Debate on Human Security. New York
  2. UNOCHA. 2009. Human Security Theory and Practice: Application of the Human Security Concept and the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security. New York.
  3. UNTFHS. 2009. Human Security in Theory and Practice. New York.
  4. UNTFHS. 2012. Human Rights at the United Nations. New York.
  5. UNTFHS. Human Security at the UN. Online Available at http://unocha.org/humansecurity/about-human-security/human-security-un
  6. UNTFHS. September 10, 2009. Human Security in Theory and Practice. New York. Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
  7. Upreti, Prem. Undated. The Treaty Between Nepal and Her Neighbors: A Historical Perspectives. Kathmandu: Tribhuvan University.
  8. Wagle, Geja. August 30, 2010. Challenges and principles for National Security of Nepal. Presented at the Understanding National Security Policy of Nepal, organized by the Nepal Institute for Strategic Studies (NISS), Kathmandu.

[i] It was attended by the representatives from nine countries: Belgium, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Italy, Japan, Poland, UK, and USA.

[ii] Freedom of speech and expression everywhere in the world.

[iii] Freedom of every person to worship God in his own way everywhere in the world.

[iv] Freedom from want—which, translated into worldly terms, means economic understandings which will secure every nation for a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants everywhere in the world. It is also a shared vision of development, national strategies, trade and financing for development, sustainability environment, and other priorities for global action and implementation of challenges (http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N05/270/78/PDF/N0527078.pdf?OpenElement).

[v] Freedom from fear—which, translated into worldly terms, means world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation would be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor anywhere in the world. It is a vision of collective security that prevents catastrophic terrorism, use of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, reduction of the risk and prevalence of war, and use of force (http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N05/270/78/PDF/N0527078.pdf?OpenElement).

[vi] The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law and are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the rights recognized in the present Covenant.

[vii] Article 13: An alien lawfully in the territory of a State Party to the present Covenant may be expelled from there only in pursuance of a decision reached in accordance with law and shall, except where compelling reasons of national security otherwise require, be allowed to submit the reasons against his expulsion and to have his case reviewed by, and be represented for the purpose before the competent authority or a person or persons especially designated by the competent authority.

[viii] The press and the public may be excluded from all or part of a trial for reasons of morals, public order and/or national security in a democratic society, or when the interest of the private lives of the parties so requires, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice; but any judgment rendered in a criminal case or in a suit of law shall be made public except where the interest of juvenile persons otherwise requires or the proceedings concern matrimonial disputes or the guardianship of children

[ix] For the protection of national security of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.

[x] Article 21: The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (order public), protection of public health and/or morals, and protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

[xi] Article 22.2: No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those which are prescribed by law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), protection of public health and/or morals, and protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on members of the armed forces and of the police in their exercise of this right.

[xii] Access to education, human rights with access to freedoms, equality, environmental security, community security, political security, etc.

[xiii] The meeting was held in Teheran between November 28 and December 1, 1943 amongst the U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin.

[xiv]  The Brandt Commission Report was written by an independent commission headed by Willy Brandt, the former German Chancellor and a Nobel laureate in 1971 in the course of reviewing international development issues. The Commission initiated the studies in 1980 and completed its work in 1987.

[xv] Three of the four principal purposes of the UN that concern security are: to keep peace throughout the world; to develop friendly relations among nations; and to help nations work together to improve the lives of the poor people through conquering hunger, disease and illiteracy and encouraging all to respect for each other’s rights and freedoms.

[xvi] Panchsheel means the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence that were first formally enunciated in the Agreement between the Tibet region of China and India signed on April 29th 1954. The Principles were (i) Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, (ii) Mutual non-aggression, (iii) Mutual non-interference, (iv) Equality and mutual benefit, and (v) Peaceful co-existence.

[xvii] The Lichhavi kingdom of Nepal’s Princess Bhrikuti Devi “Royal Lady”, traditionally considered to have been the first wife of the earliest emperor of Tibet, Songtsan Gampo (617-649), 33rd ruler in his dynasty. Bhrikuti is also known as incarnation of Tara.

[xviii] Industrialist/business entrepreneurs


Dr. Bishnu Pathak is a Board Member at TRANSCEND Peace University, Germany. He holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Management and Human Rights from Tribhuwan University. He has been working at the Peace and Conflict Studies Center (PCS Center) as its President and Director. He has been involved as a senior peace, security, and human rights expert on International Evaluation of Support to the Peace Process in Nepal. He is the Chief Coordinator for the Petition to the UN for Total Disarmament and Vice President at the Global Harmony Association. His book Politics of People’s War and Human Rights in Nepal is a widely circulated volume. His pioneer work on “Peace-Conflict Lifecycle” has been included in the book Experiments with Peace published from Norway. He is the author of more than 150 research papers and articles on human rights, UN, security, peace, civil military relations, community policing, and federalism including “Nepal’s 2008 Constituent Assembly Elections: Converting Bullets to Ballots” published in East-West Center Bulletin, Washington DC. Dr. Pathak may be reached at email: pathakbishnu@gmail.com. The author highly appreciates the editing of copy editor Mr. J. K Tater.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 1 Jul 2013.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Origin and Development of Human Security, is included. Thank you.

If you enjoyed this article, please donate to TMS to join the growing list of TMS Supporters.

Share this article:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

35 Responses to “Origin and Development of Human Security”

  1. Byakul Pathak says:

    Thanks for this

  2. Dritan Shala says:

    useful article bringing light to the vague concept of human security yet an ambigous and not well understood among many including individuals and institutions dealing with.

    P.S. I tried to download the pdf format of the article and it says the web could not be found.

    • Prof. Bishnu Pathak says:

      Dear Dritan and Michael;

      Many thanks. Please provide me your email IDs, I will send you original article. This is my 109th paper has been published internationally.


  3. michael says:

    I what happened to the document that was to down load in PDF? I find it difficult to download, its difficult to give its importance.

    • Dear Dritan & Michael, sorry for the inconvenience. Our webmaster is looking into the situation.

      Many thanks for letting me know about the problem.

      Antonio C. S. Rosa, TMS editor

  4. Dirgharaj Prasai says:

    Hello Dr. Pathak jee! Thanks ! I read your long and analytical article

  5. An inspiring June 2013 living example of human security in West Africa is illustrated at http://traubman.igc.org/vidnigeriaivorycoast.htm

  6. Lokendra Shahi says:

    Thank you for your paper

  7. Dr. Sugam Jung K.C. says:

    Thanks for your advance research article on human security

  8. […] Human security is complementary to human rights.  […]

  9. James Okolie-Osemene says:

    There is no doubt the truism that hostility perception undermines human security in the context of inter-group relations. There are many manifestations of human rights violations globally, and threats to human security is one of those areas. Critical areas of ‘freedom from fear and freedom from want remain elusive in most African nations today and other parts of the world that face leadership challenges. Actualizing sustainable human security is not impossible but only achievable when political elites rethink their patterns of leadership and focus more on human resource development and transparency in governance. We cannot say there is human security where majority of citizens are consistently traumatized through all forms of violence (structural, psychological, cultural and physical violence). The journey towards human security must start from the eradication of all sources of violence – induced fear, lack of basic necessities of life (human needs), proper management of inter-group relations, innovative approaches to conflict resolution, transforming the situations at grassroots from poverty to prosperity, reduction of the unemployment queues in most cities, among others. Human security would remain a mirage in Africa until leaders and citizens rediscover themselves and rethink leadership. Any society that undermines equity and social justice at the detriment of the ‘helpless’ citizens cannot have effective human security. Policymakers must be cognizant of the fact that the essence of human security is the ‘people’. This work on HUMAN SECURITY by Prof. Pathak is timely and germane to contemporary issues needed by students and scholars of international relations, peace studies, political science, security and war studies, development studies, history studies, etc.

    • James, thank you. Yes, it is so important to grasp the principles that today’s HUMAN SECURITY is not in the last-century paradigm that was top-down, elite-dependent, waiting for credentialed policymakers. And HUMAN SECURITY does not wait for violence to be absent. Rather, the new sustainable human relationships model the new, better way that allows violent means to atrophy onto the trash heap of history. 2013 living African examples are at http://traubman.igc.org/vidnigeriaivorycoast.htm and http://traubman.igc.org/vidnigeriadrcongo.htm

      • Prof. Dr. Bishnu Pathak says:

        Thank you so much Libby & Len Traubman for your supports and link of information belonging to Africa.

    • Prof. Dr. Bishnu Pathak says:

      Dear James Okolie-Osemene;

      Many thanks for your outstanding remarks on human security to ALL despite rich and poor, small and big, caste and ethnicity, male and female,…

  10. Dr. Glenda H. Eoyang says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your insightful description of the current state of affairs for Human Security in Nepal. The depth and clarity of the piece are quite helpful. I see many parallels between your work and what we do with human systems dynamics (HSD). The difference seems to be the scale, rather than the function or intent, of interventions. We have worked primarily in the past with patterns of behavior for individuals, organizations, and communities. We think that principles of HSD (seeing, understanding, and influencing patterns in self-organizing systems) work equally well across scales from the individual to the global levels. Your work allows us to challenge that assumption as we explore how you describe the conditions for emergence at the strategic and global scales of action. Thank you for informing our work and for all you do to support patterns of peace and human security.


    • Prof. Dr. Bishnu Pathak says:

      Thank you Dr. Glenda H. Eoyang for your kind support to this new initiatives. My another article on Human Security and Human Rights shall soon be published. As we have same wave-and-length,lets work together. Any idea on such regards are highly appreciated.

  11. Prof. George Kent says:

    Bishnu, this is a very important topic. It is useful to use “human security” as an umbrella term to cover all categories of security concerns.

    What is your definition of “security”? Perhaps it could be “freedom from fear of harm”. The harms would fall into different categories, highlighting the various type of security concern.

    In your analysis you say, “A sound mechanism for human security, in turn, minimizes military spending”. That might be true in some particular circumstances, but in general we should say that the resources used to ensure any particular type of security should be optimized (not minimized; not reduced). The appropriate level depends on the particular circumstances.

    Security resources have to be allocated somehow across the different categories of security concerns. We need an analytical model that helps us to make comparisons across security sectors and allocate security resources accordingly.

    In doing this sort of work we should also make careful distinctions regarding how the resources are allocated, and how the benefits are distributed among the different sectors of the population. My hypothesis is that many countries have over-sized defense budgets because the military’s primary purpose is to protect the power of the power. This hypothesis should be assessed by examining what the military does, not what it says.

    From the point of view of the powerful, security resources are well allocated. However, they are not well allocated from the point of the view of the general population, and certainly not from the point of view of the poor, those who are most powerless.

    The problem is that it is the powerful who decide the allocation, not the general population or the poor.


    • Prof. Dr. Bishnu Pathak says:

      Thank you so much Dr. George for your comments. I really appreciate your definition of security. Moreover, the definition may further lead to freedom, livelihood, dignity, and pro-people in the universe from poor, developing to developed nations. Nepal is sandwiched between worlds two emerging superpower and giant countries, China and India. Human security in the case of people of India means strong government in comparison of very powerful a few elites, namely industrialists, share brokers and businessmen. In China, people are weak, but government is very much strong. Empowerment through freedom from fear shall be the prime goals to them. For Nepal, we need a new constitution through the constituent assembly elections. My conviction to minimize military spending means to increase humanitarian assistance to needy ones. Such assistance enhances security to all minimizing the scarce resources competition and promote brotherhood and sisterhood.

      Thank you again.

  12. Asmau Leo says:

    Thank you Dr. Pathak for this insightful piece,it will surely be an important resource towards my PhD thesis as i intend to write on the African Union and Human security in Africa. Please can you send me a copy of the PDF as the one on this site could not be downloaded.Here is my email address: asmaubz@yahoo.com. Thank

    • Prof. Dr. Bishnu Pathak says:

      Dear Asmau;

      Congratulations for your grand success of PhD dissertation. I have already sent you the desired paper. This is my 109th paper which have been published internationally. My another paper on Human Security and Human Rights: Harmonious and Inharmonious Relations shall be published in couples of months. I guess this shall also be helpful for your studies.

      Thank you again.

  13. Prof. Dr. Bidhya Nath Koirala says:

    I know this is worth reading text but I was looking for the text where I could see the reference of eastern wisdom as well. This is more like promotion of western effort by the eastern. Hainara? Just curious. Regards

    • Prof. Dr. Bishnu Pathak says:

      Dear Prof. Koirala;

      Many thanks for your kind suggestions. Yes, you are right. This is just a beginning and I will continuously write on this regard where I will definitely do further studies you proposed.

  14. Asmau says:

    Thank you Prof, I really appreciate it.I would like to be communicating with you from time to time so you can assist me with your expertise in putting my Phd proposal together. I hope that will not be asking for too much.
    But before then, let me introduce myself to you.My name is Asmau Benzies-Leo.I am married and have a son.I am the Founder and the Executive Director of the Centre for Nonviolence and Gender Advocacy, an NGO working in the area of peacebuilding and gender equality in Nigeria.I hold a Bsc in Sociology and Anthropology and an Msc in Conflict Management and Peace Studies.
    Hope to hear from you.

  15. Dear friends, better late than never. Our webmaster, Malvin Gattinger, is bicycling through Europe (Holland, Germany, Italy, Slovenia :) can you imagine? Well, he is 23 and a genius on top of that, doing his Master’s in logic. Already!

    Anyway, he fixed the pdf function on a stopover in Venice. He said this paper was too long for the previous settings, but he changed to accommodate longer papers. So, it might take a bit longer to load, but now you will be able to download Bishnu’s paper as a pdf file.

    I should thank you because if we didn’t have this problem I would never know about that limitation.

    Best regards to all, thanks for your positive involvement and comments.

    Antonio C.S. Rosa, TMS editor.

  16. Thank you so much for very useful paper, especially for me, when I’m preparing a book on Human security in Viet Nam.Your paper helped me to better understanding these challenges of our Asian people.
    Thank you, once again
    Kim Ngoc

    • Kim Ngoc,

      Perhaps you will find meaning in the Human Security and community-building activities illustrated in Myanmar at http://traubman.igc.org/myanmardialogue.pdf

    • Advance congratulations for your book. When do you suppose to complete your book? My another research article on Human Security and Human Rights: Harmonious to Inharmonious Relations shall be published by Japan Association for Human Security Studies in October this year. This paper emphasizes to Asian continent. This may give you more ideas on origin of human security.

      Many thanks for your comments and concerns.

  17. Dear Colleagues:

    To the Asia-related conversation, we contribute living examples of the entry point to citizen-to-citizen Human Security — face-to-face, heart-to-heart engagement with listening-to-learn and experiencing that “an enemy is one whose story we have not heard”:

    (1) in Myanmar — http://traubman.igc.org/myanmardialogue.pdf
    (2) among Koreans and Japanese — http://traubman.igc.org/korea-japan.pdf

  18. You’re welcome, Bishnu. Even more powerful are extraordinary African exemplars of Human Security:

    Nigeria — http://traubman.igc.org/vidnigeria.htm

    Cote d’Ivoire — http://traubman.igc.org/vidnigeriaivorycoast.htm

    DR Congo — http://traubman.igc.org/vidnigeriadrcongo.htm

  19. michael says:

    Thank you for this wonderful write up on “Human Security” I have now got access to your document thank you for this, i will give my input after downloading your article.
    When will the last document be finalised1

  20. Thank you so much Mr. Michael.There is still sometimes for this. I welcome your comments.

    Thank you gain.

  21. Dear Bishnu,

    I’ll answer your question the best I can. “Human Security”, is by far the best possible business for some industrialists in the War Industry, which hypocritical politicians and the Media call the Defense, the Protection of the citizen.

    ‘Human Security’ is what makes politicians spend endless hours joking, laughing, eating and drinking, all with money from the tax-payer, to discuss how much borrowed money – which will sink the country into further debts – they should spend on scientists, to develop new uniforms for soldiers and police, especially the Riot Police. New, faster and more powerful tear gas, grenades, bullets, bombs, exocets, drones, etc, etc.

    ‘Human Security’ are the magic words that help politicians recruit more young and candid fighters into the Armed Forces. This in turn, also helps politicians and bankers make good money.

    ‘Human Security’ is such an attractive proposition for politicians that this is why they so happily organise local, national and international wars, so many rioting events, so much
    violence in general, to make us feel “insecure” and have the perfect, constant excuse that they are simply working for “Human Security”, for our security.

    DMs (Death Ministers) can be called Defense Ministers, because politicians have first done everything in their power to create enemies. “Human Security” does the rest of the job.