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Human security and protection Essay

In a world threatened by challenges, the UN together with other responsive States, see the urgency of providing their intervention. Cases of human security have dominated the debates, and civilians in vulnerable situations demand protection from such dangers (Tadjbakhsh & Chenoy 2007, p. 185).

Some academicians argue that preventing such dangers is paramount than just protecting the endangered citizens. Conversely, a different group of scholars and stakeholders propose a need to explore the causes of these risks. This paper, therefore, compares MacArthur’s, and Janzekovic’s approaches to these challenges.

According to MacArthur, issues of Human security emerged after the end of the Cold war when states affiliated on either side crumbled, and domestic conflicts broke up prompting the need to protect such vulnerable citizens. On the other hand, Janzekovic point that human security came to the front in 1990s after the failure of UN and other countries to stop genocide in Rwanda and massacres in Bosnia.

Furthermore, prevention as a strategy of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), in Janzekovic’s theory, is mandated to stop the conflict, respond to it, and reconstructs the country afterwards. In such, MacArthur asserts that protection is only directed at the civilian at that moment of war and is not prevention. She further adds causes of such conflicts are not investigated in order to avoid another conflict. For example, this was witnessed in US led invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.

In addition, MacArthur observes other forms of securities, for example, food, environmental waste and economic securities that are directly connected with citizens. This, therefore, calls for those who intervene to consider security through meaningful development and not just weapons, for example, in Darfur where rebels were being armed.

MacArthur further argues that human security should target at the physical well being of the citizen to facilitate implementation of other policies. This goes to saying that security is not only limited to conflicts, but there are security issues like poverty, diseases and environmental ruin that are posing threats to countries and citizens. Therefore, inability to deal with these issues results in failure to comprehend the causes of the conflict (MacArthur 2008, p. 424).

Alternatively, Janzekovic notes that in averting abuse of human rights, then preventive action should achieve three objectives namely to stop any outbreak of clashes, to stop continued clashes to other parts and stop clashes from re-occurring. All these preventive measures are supported by certain essential standards that involve investigating and resolving the deep causes of the clashes, reacting early enough before an outbreak of conflict and eradicating the dangers that can contribute to another conflict.

Janzekovic’s approach is, therefore, to examine only the causes of the aggressive clashes in order to prevent another repeat. He does not delve on other human rights insecurities, for example, poverty, mass migration, joblessness, and ethnicity that causes dissatisfaction among citizens. For example, the struggles for oil fields that have been sparking conflict in Sudan.

According to MacArthur, preventing innocent civilians from the clashes is better than protection as fronted by Janzekovic in Responsibility to Protect (R2P) policy. This is because in the event of prevention that is always intervention in disguise; some authoritative countries have other objectives other than the vulnerable citizens.

For instance, the conflict in Darfur has escalated because some nations with Responsibility to Protect are only after the oil in Sudan. On other divide, Janzekovic, even though is in full support of prevention as a proper strategy, he still notes that protection of citizens at risk carries a lot of weight in defending humanity from contravention of their rights and freedoms.

However, its opponents deem this protection plan as another strategy for powerful countries to exploit the smaller nations using their military might, for instance, the suspicious intervention of US in Iraq. MacArthur also argues Responsibility to Protect in its broader spectrum may end up not protecting the citizens at all if it has no clear targets of comprehending the origins of the conflict (Dixon 2007, p. 310).

Finally, MacArthur’s argument that to uphold human security, Responsibility to Protect (R2P) policy should then stretch its mandate is flawed. The scholar wants the policy to act in defending civilians from environmental disasters to poverty and other domestic challenges that may blind the goals of Responsibility to Protect.

Therefore, according to Janzekovic, in preventing further bloodshed of civilians, the R2P plan is only to offer a military involvement when other methods have failed in protecting citizens at risk. Janzekovic further adds that investigating the causes of the war are paramount then other human related causes like poverty and unemployment can be checked.

This hypothesis is suggested because if the Responsibility to Protect policy is to concern itself with human problems then, more genocides and crimes against humanity will be witnessed, as it happened in Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

Therefore, according to MacArthur, protecting humanity from conflicts alone is not enough, as it should also involve issues of economy and poverty. Alternatively, Janzekovic maintains prevention as a better approach than just shielding citizens at risk of violence to avoid a re-occurrence of Rwanda or Cambodia (Evans 2008, p. 275).

In conclusion, it is clear that R2P, as a policy to defend civilians is only supportive only if done on time. Prevention is more helpful than protecting citizens distressed by war. This goes to saying that issues of sovereignty can be breached if humanity is in danger to avoid what happened in Rwanda genocide. However, security only during the war is insufficient, but serious investigation of causes of such conflicts is critical. Factors like the impact of poverty, corruption, and environmental issues need serious consideration.


Dixon, M 2007, Textbook on International Law, Oxford University Press, New York.

Evans, G 2008, the responsibility to protect: ending mass atrocity crimes finally, Brookings Institutions, Massachusetts.

MacArthur, J 2008, ‘a responsibility to rethink?’ International Journal, Vol. 63, no. 2, pp. 422-443.

Tadjbakhsh, S & Chenoy, A 2007, Human security: concepts and implications, Routledge Publisher, New York.

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1. IvyPanda. "Human security and protection." December 27, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/human-security-and-protection/.


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IvyPanda. (2018) 'Human security and protection'. 27 December.

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