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Political Science


This article warns that the human security discourse and agenda could inadvertently undermine the international human rights regime. Insofar as human security identifies new threats to well-being, new victims of those threats, new duties of states, or new mechanisms for dealing with threats at the inter-state level, it adds to the established human rights regime. When it simply rephrases human rights principles without identifying new threats, victims, duty-bearers, or mechanisms, however, at best it complements human rights and at worst it undermines them. A narrow view of human security is a valuable addition to the international normative regime requiring wstate and international action against severe threats to human beings. By contrast, an overly broad view of human security ignores the human rights regime; by subsuming human rights under human security, it also undermines the primacy of civil and political rights as a strategic tool for citizens to fight for their rights against their own states.


Copyright © 2012 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in Human Rights Quarterly 34.1 (2012), 88-112. Reprinted with permission by The Johns Hopkins University Press.