Ghana Journal of Development Studies

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Co-opting human security and deductions for security policy-making in Ghana

PK Attuquayefio


Popularized in development and security parlance by the Human Development Report of 1994, human security emphasizes prevention and protection of people from critical and pervasive threats that violently disrupt lives. Its conceptual basis derives from the inadequacy of the state-centric conception of security to comprehensively address threats to people, particularly those of a non-military nature. Despite agreement over the importance of making the individual the referent object of security, specific threats that should be considered under human security are inconclusive. Additionally, critics argue that human security merely echoes aspects of human rights and development studies and as such, has nothing new to offer. These issues continue to hamper efforts to co-opt the concept into the mainstream of security dialogue and policy-making. Through content analysis of secondary data, this article presents obstructions to the co-optation of human security into the mainstream of the security dialogue and policy-making, and juxtaposes it against trends that appear to be promoting its integration in relevant fields of endeavour. It argues that far from being an abstract idea, human security meets a tangible need. Using Ghana as a case study, the article hints at possible implications of the co-optation of human security on security policy-making in Ghana.

Keywords: Human Security, Protection, Empowerment, Threats, National Security
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