No.102 Human Security in Practice in Thailand
The paper aims to examine the discursive practice of human security in Thailand both in terms of concept and operationalization. It particularly focuses on the questions of why and how Thai policymakers have imported and embraced the concept of human security in the Thai polity, as well as how they perceive values and challenges related to human security issues. By reviewing the literature and interviewing nine key informants from the government, non-government, and academic sectors, the paper contends that the positions of the Thai state on human security issues are Janus-faced. While seemingly mainstreaming human security issues, both by promoting the discourse abroad and by establishing a human security ministry, there is also a flipside to the process. Apart from the reductionist view of human security simply as social security for vulnerable groups the concept of “human security” is always secondary to ‘state’ or ‘national’ security. As a result, the Thai style of human security contains only a loose substance of the original and human security is still in the dark shadow of state security. Finally, the paper reveals that the discrepancy between the ideals and practices of human security in Thailand is ascribable to the vagueness of the concept in the eyes of policy stakeholders, the gap between policy architects and policy implementers, and the de-politicization of the concept.