International Symposium on Human Security
"Human Security and Terrorism - Diversifying Threats under Globalization"
- From Afghanistan to the Future of the World -

December 2001

On December 15, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized an international symposium under the theme of "Human Security and Terrorism - Diversifying Threats under Globalization - From Afghanistan to the Future of the World -" at the Takanawa Prince Hotel, in which members of the Commission on Human Security and experts on the subject from Japan and overseas participated.

In his opening statement, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi concentrated on the efforts of the Government of Japan in the fight against terrorism and Japan's efforts toward human security. In the opening address of the afternoon session, then - Minister for Foreign Affairs Makiko Tanaka expressed the importance of human security from the perspective of conflict prevention. The symposium was divided into three sessions, which were attended by about 1,000 people (please refer to the symposium schedule).

1. Session 1: Afghanistan and the Threats to Human Security

(1) Opening: Professor Barnett Rubin, New York University

Professor Barnett Rubin of New York University conveyed the message of Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in charge of Afghanistan affairs, who had been expected to give a keynote address. In his message, Mr. Brahimi regretted that he was unable to attend due to preparations for the smooth transition to the Interim Authority in Afghanistan, and noted that he expected Japan's support and interest in reconstructing Afghanistan.

Professor Rubin's arguments:
In the past, Afghanistan has been a country without legitimate governance or the rule of law, ruled solely by the military, which proved to be a haven for terrorist activities. The international community had not exerted comprehensive efforts toward support for reconstruction and the establishment of governance in Afghanistan. However, the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11 made people realize the importance of securing a stable Afghanistan for not only neighboring countries but also for the world as a whole in the efforts of eradicating terrorism and restoring human security to the people of Afghanistan. This recognition initiated efforts toward the reconstruction of Afghanistan by the United Nations. As Mr. Brahimi emphasized at the Bonn Conference, the reconstruction of Afghanistan should be guided by the people of Afghanistan themselves, and the building capacity of the Afghan administration and of Afghan civil society should be regarded as the central task. The presence of international organizations in Afghanistan should not have a harmful effect on the Afghanistan reconstruction process. Financial aid to Afghanistan by the international community must be appropriately managed.

(2) Panel Discussion

  1. Reconstruction Assistance for Afghanistan
    The history of Afghanistan illustrates the consequences of a lack of human security. The reconstruction of Afghanistan should be regarded not only as a response to terrorism, but also as the construction of Afghanistan as a nation with a long-term vision. All of the weapons, such as landmines, currently in use in Afghanistan should be removed from the country.
    For the reconstruction of Afghanistan, the stability of the surrounding region is important. Some opinions were expressed concerning the governance of neighboring countries, namely whether assistance for Afghanistan would be possible given the situation that these countries do not have a sufficient environment to provide assistance.
  2. Humanitarian Intervention
    Some opinions were expressed on when human intervention is possible in relation to securing national sovereignty in order to prevent a case similar to Afghanistan from occurring in other countries. Other opinions were expressed on the need to establish an international mechanism where by humanitarian intervention guidelines can be discussed.
  3. Issues Arising from Globalization
    The international community should share the benefits of globalization equally. The fact that the benefits of globalization are currently not being shared equally needs to be considered when issues of terrorism, conflict and human security are discussed.

2. Session 2: The Fundamental Causes of Human Insecurity

(1) Opening: Prof. Amartya Sen, Co-chair of the Commission on Human Security

Human Security or Human Insecurity is a broad concept that includes issues such as poverty, starvation, lack of medical care, infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, refugees and terrorism. Terrorism is not necessarily caused by poverty. It is not appropriate to apply economic reductionism, which links the root cause of violence and war to economic factors. Terrorism is a form of political violence and many different forms of terrorism exist. Therefore, it is not appropriate to label the war in Afghanistan as a fight against all the terrorism. Political application of the theory of the clash of civilizations will only encourage divisions around the world, and in some cases gives preferential treatment to particular religious authorities.

(2) Panel Discussion

  1. Measures Against Terrorism
    Although the nature of terrorist organizations varies depending on the history and government system of countries, terrorism for any reason should never be justified. Although religious fanaticism destabilizes societies, religion itself does not. Terrorism creates fear among people and strikes a blow against trust and confidence. Psychological effects of terrorism are enormous.
  2. Human Security Measures
    The human security concept focuses on issues of individuals themselves and global cooperation beyond the framework of nation states. Human security is a concept that should be used to bring about the realization of open societies. Human rights and human security are concepts that should be used as a reference in all fora of the international community. Human rights are an important factor of human security, and human rights should be a globally accepted ethic. Gender discrimination should be eliminated and measures to ensure human rights for women strengthened.
  3. International Cooperation by the United States Government
    As a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, the United States shifted its policy from unilateralism to international cooperation with the international community in the fight against terrorism.

3. Remark made by HE Mr. Lichem, Austrian Ambassador, Responsible for Human Security

From the perspective of conflict prevention, it is important to de-vertify the society where social structure consists of ethnic groups, religion, gender and beliefs, and to strive for social equality when considering the process of rebuilding societies. Human security should also be emphasized in this process.

Governance building has to be realized by strengthening capacity through state building and societal development. There can be no human security, no human development without a well-focused program of governance building.

Austria's Foreign Minister will assume the Chair of the Human Security Network next year. She aims to enhance national and international cooperation in human security measures and would welcome some form of cooperation with the Commission on Human Security.

4. Session 3: What should the International Community do to Promote Human Security?

(1) Opening: Prof. Masayuki Yamauchi, the University of Tokyo

The lesson the international community can learn from the recent situation in Afghanistan is related to the proactive challenge of how to build a global system for the 21st century, while drawing a grand design for the post-Cold War. While continuing with the principle that is based on western values such as the UN Charter, an international principle should be proposed that can be called a "Charter for the 21st Century" and that reflects the real situation of a global society which includes Asia, Central and South America, and the Islamic world. This principle would represent the common values of the international community and demonstrate both the historical and philosophical basis for promoting human security.

In its role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, from the human security based assistance centered on post-war reconstruction, Japan can contribute in areas such as assistance for refugees, landmine clearance, enhancing education (especially orphans and women) and rebuilding infrastructure.

(2) Panel Discussion

  1. The Commission on Human Security
    The Commission on Human Security was established to work on human security issues and its mission is to analyze the fundamental and structural causes of human insecurity and seek the reasons why people cannot realize their potential. The Commission will issue a report with recommendation on policy direction and an action plan.
  2. Reconstruction Assistance for Afghanistan
    Afghanistan has been suffering from serious poverty and violence for many years, which resulted in many refugees. It was thought that the world would have continued to ignore the situation in Afghanistan if a large-scale emergency situation had not occurred. However, the terrorist attacks of September 11 changed everything. It is important that the United States, Japan and other nations cooperate and send out a political message on reconstruction and the peace process in Afghanistan. The reconstruction of Afghanistan should be based on a bottom-up approach and advanced by the Afghan people themselves, while the rescue, recovery and reconstruction processes should be implemented seamlessly.
  3. Financial Assistance from the International Community
    Japan should not reduce the amount of its Official Development Assistance (ODA) due to its stagnant economy. The total amount of foreign assistance contributed by industrialized nations, compared to the amount that is necessary, is getting smaller. Without financial resources, the discussion on human security is merely rhetoric.
  4. Measures in Accordance with Globalization
    In this era of multilateralism, a rule-based global system is needed. Efforts through the World Trade Organization (WTO) should be appreciated, and a global system is also needed for other areas such as environmental issues.

    Some opinions were expressed that in the new world order, interdependency of international cooperation is needed and that many societies will inevitably become multicultural societies through the intake of immigrants.
  5. The Trust Fund for Human Security
    The Trust Fund for Human Security provides an opportunity to people whose human security is not assured. The management of fund needs to be improved for its more creative use.

5. Concluding Session

Co-chair of the Commission on Human Security, Ms. Sadako Ogata, summed up the discussions held during the symposium, saying that it had been very useful to lead a meeting of the Commission on Human Security, to be held over two days following the symposium. Mrs. Ogata added that the Commission intended to work to make a difference to the actual lives of people and that specific recommendations and an action plan were planned to be announced at the beginning of 2003.

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