Two decades after its inception in the Human Development Report 1994, the Human Security (HS) concept has gained certain traction among the policymakers as well as the civil society. Some stakeholders have welcomed the concept as a useful tool for elevating some issues that posed significant challenges to the security of the individuals within a country or more than a country at the same time. But some others consider the concept as too broad and all-encompassing, which needs more clarification in terms of its application, to take up some issues as security concerns. Therefore, it is timely to check the understanding on this HS so far and to what extent the concept has been considered suitable and useful to deal with challenges that may be considered as new or non-traditional security concerns.
This paper aims to elaborate on the perception of different stakeholders on HS in Indonesia. The perception covers aspects such as definition of HS in relation to three basic elements, i.e., freedom from want, freedom from fear, and freedom to live in dignity; priority issues; protection and empowerment; and cross-border characteristics. It also examines sovereignty and the involvement of military instrument questions in dealing with issues that fall under the HS discussion. The study is based on in-depth interviews with different stakeholders that included policymakers (high-rank officials), ex-military officers, academics, and non-governmental organization activists.
The paper is divided into three sections. The first section begins with an introduction of the HS concept, the research methodology, and some results of a survey by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on the perception of HS among the society. The second section broadly examines several acts/regulations that contain elements related to HS. It is interesting to note that while many regulations have been enacted to ensure freedom from want, freedom from fear, and freedom to live in dignity, none of the regulations actually include the word “Human Security.” This somehow may reflect a level of hesitancy among the policymakers to fully embrace the concept and use it as a policy tool, due to some perceptions on the intentions behind the delivery of the HS concept and in what direction that concept is heading to. These different perceptions of HS are then elaborated in the third section. Finally, it is hoped that this elaboration may provide a better knowledge of how the HS concept is being perceived in Indonesia.