These disparities are the main causes of insecurity in the lives of people and have led to many wars and conflicts. It has been increasingly realized that the world can never be at peace unless people have security in their daily lives. Future conflicts may often be within nations rather than between them with their origins buried deep in the growing socio-economic deprivation and disparities. The search for security in such a milieu lies in development, not in arms. It has also been increasingly felt by social scientists that human beings are born with certain capabilities. The purpose of development is to create an environment in which all people can expand their capabilities, and opportunities can be enlarged for both present and future generations.
In other words, development must enable all individuals to enlarge- their human capabilities to the fullest and to put those capabilities to the best use in all fields economic, social, cultural and political. The real foundation of human development lies in the claims that an individual can make on the society, paving way for universalism of life. Universalism of life, in other words, demands a world where no child goes without education, where no human being is denied health care and where all people can develop their potential capabilities. Universalism implies the empowerment of people. It protects all basic human rights economic and social as well as civil, legal and political—and it holds that the right to food is as sacrosanct as the right to vote. It demands non-discrimination between all the people, irrespective of gender, religion, race or ethnic origin. It is justice, not charity that is needed in the world. Security has, however, different meanings to different people.
In a wider sense, ‘humanity’ all over the world requires security, while the ordinary people seek security in their daily lives. For many of them, security symbolizes protection from the threat of disease, hunger, unemployment, crime, social conflict, political repression, terrorism and environmental hazards. In fact, for most people, a feeling of insecurity arises more from worries from daily life than from the dread of a cataclysmic world event.
The idea of human security, though simple, is likely to revolutionize the society in the 21st century. A consideration of the basic concept of human security must focus on four of its essential characteristics: 1. Human security is a universal concern. It is relevant to people everywhere, in rich and poor nations.
There are many threats to human security that are common to all people. These are: unemployment, drugs, crime, terrorism, pollution and human rights violation. Their intensity may differ from one part of the world to another, but all these threats are real and growing. 2. The components of human security are interdependent. When the security of people is endangered anywhere in the world, all the nations are likely to get involved.
Famine, disease, pollution, drug trafficking, terrorism, ethnic disputes and social disintegration are no longer isolated events, nor confined to national borders. Their consequences travel the globe. 3. Human security is easier to ensure through early prevention than later intervention. It is less costly to meet these threats upstream than downstream. For example, in the case of epidemics, ‘prevention is better than cure’. 4.
Human security is people-centred. It is concerned with how people live and breathe in a society, how freely they exercise their many choices, how much access they have to market and social opportunities, and whether they live in conflict or in peace.