Nation State as Security Provider in Human Security Issue

The end of the Cold War created a new stage of security matters. The decline of inter-state wars was replaced by the increasing number of intra-state wars that have been recognized as ‘civil wars’. Poverty, famine, political oppression and violence, ethnic- and religious-based conflict, terrorism, environmental degradation, and pandemic disease are the new threats to global security today. Traditional concepts view the threats to security as coming from outside or from invasion by other countries, and the focus of security is sovereignty of state. On the other hand, the concept of human security places the individual or human as the focus of security.

In 1994, the United Nation Development Program (UNDP) Report introduced the concept of Human Security, and ever since there has been debate about the broadening the concept of security. The report addressed the new problem faced by most societies in the world, the feeling of insecurity that comes from daily life rather than from dreadful world events (UNDP, 1994). Kaldor (2007) sums up the concept of threat as something that not only comes from daily activities such as the economy, food, health, or environment, but also from political and societal sectors as well.

Different approaches are used to embrace the notion of Human Security. The first, called the narrow school approach, emphasizes the role of the state in creating difficulty for its own citizens in the forms of war, political violence, tyrannical govern-ment, corruption, and insecurity from civil actors (non-state actors) in the form of ethnic or religious conflicts. As Mack (2004, cited in Kerr, 2007, p.106) argued, the narrow school approach defined human security as ‘freedom from fear’, as in fear from any kinds of violence. The second approach is called the broad school, which interprets human security as ‘freedom from want’ and emphasizes development as the solution for security matters (Kaldor, 2007; Kerr, 2007).

The Post-Cold War condition also triggered the emergence of security providers other than the state, such as international institutions, NGOs, and civil society. Buzan (1991) argued that it will be difficult for the state to take part in the human security agenda as the state, in many situations, is the perpetrator of violence and a source of human insecurity. However in addressing human security, the participation of the state is still important. Kerr (2007) stated that not all states are violent toward their own people and many states are changing to accommodate human security as part of their national security agenda.

This essay attempts to analyze the significant role that the state played in the human security agenda in Canada, Japan, and Brazil. Sometimes the state can be the source of violence, but the state also has a respon-sibility to protect the rights of its citizens. To support this argument, the essay will present the state as a provider for human security and reviews the assertion of the UNDP, which suggests that there is a shifting paradigm of security from state-centric to human-centric security and how the UNDP views the state in creating difficulty and also providing security for the citizens. The second argument is that the state should provide protection on the basis of social contracts to create development to provide equal distribution of welfare to society.

Author : Made Fitri Maya Padmi