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Human Security and Right of Self-Determination: A Perspective on Manipur

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By-Laishram Malem Mangal
The movement for right of self determination in Manipur since the 1950s has produced a situation of conflict which informs the social, political and economic existence of the people. The threat perceptions and feeling of insecurity to the extent of immediate deprivation of life resulting out of the conflict situation has permeated deep into the social fabric and the psyche of the people.
The paper attempts to critically examine human security in a conflict situation arising out of a sustained armed struggle to exercise the right of self-determination from two dimensions. First, it argues that in an environment of conflict, conceptual understanding of human security i.e. safety from constant threats of crime and repression and protection from sudden and hurtful disruptions to the patterns of existence (UNDP) is a failed notion. The defenseless humanity is both a victim and hostage of the prolonged conflict situation. It questions whether human security could be ensured in a situation where combatants engage in armed confrontations for over a period of time.
Second, adopting a purposive analysis, it examines the commonality of objectives between human security and the principle of right of self-determination, a principles of international law which has attained the status of jus cogens; and it also investigates whether one complements the other. Human security aims at providing the conditions for people to exercise and expand their choices, capabilities and opportunities free of insecurity, so that they may build a future for themselves and their children (Salih 1998). Security is concerned with ‘widening the range of people’s choices and the means by which ‘people can exercise their choices safely and freely’ (UNDP 1999:36). Human security takes a more people – centered focus, particularly the need to create the necessary economic, social and political conditions for people  to lead a dignified life (Evans 2001). This understanding of human security with a more people –centered focus produces an immediate linkage with the legal discourse on the right of people to self-determination. The objective if human security can, thus, be contextualized with the right of Manipuri people to self- determination.
Given that the conflict arose due to fundamental political questions being repressed unresolved by the dominant interests of the Indian State, the paper concludes by suggesting that peace and security and an atmosphere want of repression is both an abortive discourse and intercourse as well till the Manipuri people are allowed to determine and choose their own political destiny and pursue their own social, economic and cultural systems according to international rule of law.    

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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