chapter  3
29 Pages

Domestic challenges to human security

Security discourse in Southeast Asia illustrates inward-looking security consideration, focusing on internal stability and national unity. This is partly explained by the main priorities for the countries in the region: state-building and economic development. Obviously, the inward-looking security consideration mirrors various security challenges exist within each country. Insurgencies, terrorisms, and political violence frequently experienced in the region are indeed some such challenges.1 The fundamental problem in these contexts often exists in disagreements among different groups in a society regarding what they perceive ‘threats’ and how they handle the threats. If so, even in some of the countries in Southeast Asia where no obvious violent conflict exists, they may share the similar challenges within their borders because diverse interest groups exit in most countries in the region. This reality is illustrated in the discourse of security in Southeast Asia centred on maintaining internal stability and ideological unity. Apparently, violent conflicts are a threat to human security – at least

threats to personal safety. However, as discussed in Chapter 1, in many cases, the root-causes of such conflicts are multiple and include various elements related to people’s freedom from want – for example, deprivations of socioeconomic and cultural rights. Accordingly, in these situations, the two aspects of human security, ‘freedom from fear’ and ‘freedom from want’, have significant implications and thus, assumingly, the notion and approach of human security will help to understand these conflicts. The question now is whether or not a people-centred approach – or a human security approach – actually helps to handle internal conflicts in Southeast Asia. This chapter, therefore, explores human security in the context of internal conflicts in the region and identifies the key underlying issues when considering human security in the domestic context of each country.2