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Vol 24 No 6 June/July 2019

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Human Security and International Law: The Role of the United Nations

ISBN13: 9780415678513
To be Published: January 2021
Publisher: Routledge
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £90.00

This book evaluates how far the UN has embraced human security as a policy agenda and explores its relevance for international law.

The extent to which the UN has embraced human security as a viable policy agenda has implications and consequences for international law, such as the challenge to basal precepts including the principle of non-intervention. Equally, determining the relevance of human security for international law speaks to the extent to which the UN operates as a norm giver and, ultimately, a law-giver in the international landscape. Thus, the study is situated within a broader assessment of the interaction between the UN and international law. Drawing on International Relations theories, especially critical security studies, and on trends in international law and constitutionalism, amongst others, the book addresses the following questions:
  • the contribution of the UN to the development of the idea of human security;
  • the extent to which, if at all, the UN has translated human security into practice;
  • whether the UN is an appropriate forum for pursuing a human security policy agenda;
  • whether human security is expressed in international law and, if so, what prospects and challenges face human security in such an environment.
There is a clear dissonance between the rhetoric and reality of human security as seen by the fact that as the UN endorsed human security at the 2005 World Summit, the African Union was convening the sixth round of peace talks on the crisis in Darfur. The disjuncture between word and deed exposes a fundamental question as to the role of the UN and law in the international landscape. In short, the book resides at the intersection between idealism and realism and ultimately offers a prognosis of the capacity of the UN – normative, including international law, operational and institutional – to pursue a human security policy agenda.

This interdisciplinary book will be of much interest to students of human security, international law, critical security, human rights and IR in general.

Public International Law
1. Mapping Human Security
2. We the Peoples: Human Security in Historical Perspective
3. Towards a Life in Larger Freedom: Human Security and the UN
4. Securing Humanity: A Role for UN Human Rights Law
5. Human Security, Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect
6. Human Security, the Rule of Law and the UN Institutional Architecture.
Conclusion: Towards a UN Human Security Framework?