Approaches to Human Security in Southeast Asia

Though interpreted differently, human security tops the agenda of many security-related meetings in ASEAN. We all try to define security to cover political, economic, social and ecological areas. Some author in Southeast Asia has defined the notion in term of comprehensive security while others take into consideration security for nations and individuals. Still others see it in term of “freedom from want”. In any case, the 1997 financial and monetary crisis has awakened in the public the desire to participate in the building of the security agenda. It also brought into focus the need for social safety net which together with human security forms human development in Thailand and other crisis-hit countries. Now that the process of building the ASEAN Community has commenced, human security is, once again, mentioned when ASEAN reaffirmed that it will build a people-centered ASEAN wherein the role of the individuals is promoted. However, regional scholars should place the study of human security in a wider study of non-traditional security.

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