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From human insecurity to international armed conflict

Den Dekker, Guido; Hildering, Antoinette; Manusama, Kenneth; Petersen, Arthur; (2000) From human insecurity to international armed conflict. In: Proceedings of the 50th Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs. Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs: Cambridge, UK. Green open access

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Today’s globalising world shows a growing interdependence of people. Globalisation can be described as a process integrating not just economy but culture, technology and governance, affecting and connecting people everywhere, both in positive and negative ways. The challenge of globalisation in the new century is to preserve the advantages of global markets and competition, but also to provide enough room for human, community and environmental resources to ensure that globalisation works for people, not just for profits - i.e. that globalisation has a human face. The concept of human security is a central element in the struggle for globalisation with a human face. ‘Human security’ denotes an ideal situation in which all people all over the world experience security in their daily lives, in that there is protection from the threat of disease, hunger, unemployment, crime, social conflict, political repression and environmental hazards. The condition of human security, which can be translated in a global condition of security in the economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community and political area, is always under threat, rendering it imperative to acknowledge that daily practice in fact represents a situation of human insecurity. It is common knowledge that human insecurity in many areas may give rise to, or actually implies the existence of, armed conflict. Armed conflict arising in the national context has many implications for, and effects on, the international (inter-state) level. As such, it is evident that international armed conflict may very well emerge from conditions of national, or even local, human insecurity in different areas. This paper purports to contribute to understanding the process through which human insecurity turns into international armed conflict and thus to identifying possible (early) stages in this process at which events might be turned towards peaceful resolution. To this end, a diagram is provided (with accompanying explanations) depicting the different stages of the process as divided into two main phases, viz. from human insecurity towards instability of society and therefrom towards international armed conflict. The purpose of this diagram is not to provide a realistic model of the full complexity of all processes that (may) play a role in the development of international armed conflict. Instead it provides a tool for organising the description of these processes so that meaningful distinctions can be made in the context of specific cases. The diagram is not claimed to be a reliable tool for prediction. Still, we presume that it is adequate to bring more clarity in human security aspects of international armed conflicts in specific cases, and that it may also be used to study the possibilities for prevention of the kind of human suffering described in this paper. The path followed in the diagram is illustrated by the cases of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the violent break-up of the Former Yugoslavia.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: From human insecurity to international armed conflict
Event: 50th Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs "Eliminating the causes of war"
Location: Cambridge
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://pugwash.org/2000/08/09/50th-pugwash-confer...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > STEaPP
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10190338
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