Human Security in military interventions

Many recent military interventions would not have been necessary if more effective diplomacy had been conducted, and better systems were in place for the rigorous and consistent application of non-military tools.

Nonetheless, military interventions do take place, and when they do, it is important to consider how they are conducted in order to best protect the civilian populations. Interventions cannot be deemed successful if they achieve political or other goals of the intervening nations, but the security of people on the ground is not enhanced. Human loss and suffering breeds bitterness and resentment against the intervening forces and fuels a cycle of violence.

ORG has a current programme of work (funded by NATO, and the Alan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust) to analyse how recent military operations have unnecessarily jeopardised human security, and to promote recommendations for how military forces are used in interventions in ways which respect and protect local populations rather than make them more vulnerable.

For more information, see our report of a recent high-level roundtable on What would military security look like through a Human Security Lens. Outcomes from this roundtable are being carried forwards in the context of our project on Inclusive approaches to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

One of the most unacceptable outcomes of any conflict are civilian casualties. Yet, in many wars, there is no definitive or official tally of the numbers killed or wounded. Accurate casualty knowledge is important for humanitarian, moral and political reasons. In collaboration with Iraq Body Count, ORG is undertaking a research and advocacy project, Counting the casualties, to make casualty monitoring a requirement in international law.


What would military security look like through a human security lens?
Wendy Conway Lamb, John Sloboda, Gabrielle Rifkind and Scilla Elworthy, January 2007

Rights and Responsibilities: Resolving the Dilemma of Humanitarian Intervention
Chris Abbott, September 2005

The "Blair Doctrine" and After: Five Years of Humanitarian Intervention
Dr. John Sloboda and Chris Abbott, November 2004 (openDemocracy)

Cutting the Costs of War: Non-military Prevention and Resolution of Conflict
Dr. Scilla Elworthy, March 2004