Migration and Human Security

Boys on road in Somalia
Boys on road in Somalia
Jacob van Garderen

(Photo: Somalia - Jacob van Garderen)

Building on earlier and ongoing collaborative work, this research project focuses on human security to challenge traditional notions of security and development that have historically framed migration and other development policies.

The new concepts have emerged from attempts to give practical meaning to socioeconomic and cultural rights and provide a normative framework for evaluating development outcomes, both within national territories and internationally.

The human development framework tends to focus on reconceiving and redirecting development within a national territory, whereas the human security framework deals with the security of persons and communities in a wider variety of situations, such as vulnerabilities resulting from migration, political persecution and environmental degradation.

The human security and human development concepts broaden the scope of investigation by going beyond conventional sources of insecurity, such as violence and war, and traditional measurements of development, such as monetary income levels.

The concept of human development draws on the important work of Amartya Sen and focuses on the broad range of circumstances, including education levels, health and distribution of resources, that impact on persons’ capabilities and range of choices and options in life.

Human security encompasses freedom from want and indignity next to freedom from fear, and pays attention to non-conventional sources of insecurity, such as environmental degradation, food scarcity, population displacement and institutionalized forms of gender violence.

Both seek to focus thinking about prioritization within sectors (as in the Millennium Development Goals programme) and between sectors. Human security thinking in particular contributes to thinking beyond now partly obsolete framings of issues in terms of supposedly largely self-contained (for both explanation and evaluation) national boxes. It looks at diverse, situation-specific, interacting threats and how they affect the lives of ordinary people, especially the most vulnerable.

Project researchers

Primary researchersAffiliated researchersPhD researchers
Des Gasper (project coordinator)Sylvia Bergh (Civic Innovation research group)Beatriz Campillo
Ali BilgicKarin Astrid Siegmann (Civic Innovation research group)Mausumi Chetia
Katarzyna GrabskaRoy Huijsmans (Civic Innovation research group)Stefania Donzelli
Jeff HandmakerSilke Heumann (Civic Innovation research group)Kenji Kimura
Helen Hintjens Mahardhika Sadjad
Cathy Wilcock  


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