The human security concept, as it emerged in the late 1990s, was perceived as a very broad concept, and has been criticized for a lack of methodological rigor. How has the concept been accepted and internalized by the East Asian region’s elites, and Southeast Asian elites in particular? The article discusses the potential usage of the human security concept in ASEAN – and some of the problems with the lack of clarity around it – through a retrospective analysis of how the concept was incorporated into ASEAN’s own policy over the first decade of the 21st Century.
What is the future of the human security concept in regional governance? In the case of ASEAN, this research concludes that the human security concept is too broad to function as the UN originally envisaged it. As South East Asian states have been struggling with the democratization project, and the human security concept embraces human rights within its framework, non-traditional security seems to be far more acceptable to regional leads, as the latter concept has limited its inclusion of democratization and human rights aspects. With respect to the contemporary situation (2022), the last decade’s development towards increasing regional rivalry and a regression of democracy in the region has only underscored the relevance of the conclusion in this article.
The article includes a case study that tracks how the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) has implemented R2P, the right to protect concept. The case highlights the way in which the human security concept has been debated in an East Asian regional forum.
For this research, I analyzed primary and secondary documents, drawing on evidence of what policymakers in the region have said, and which initiatives were undertaken.
The research operates at a general ASEAN level, and so within-region individual country differences may not be accounted for here.
|human security (UNDP definition)||Firstly, safety from such chronic threats as hunger, disease and repression. And secondly, it means protection from sudden and hurtful disruptions in the patterns of daily life whether in homes, in jobs, or in communities. Such threats can exist at all levels of national income and development (UNDP 1994: 23)|
|non-traditional security (NTS)||[to be added by author]|
Curley, M. (2012) Human security’s future in regional cooperation and governance?, Australian Journal of International Affairs, 66:5, 527-541, DOI: 10.1080/10357718.2011.570242