Sample International Relations Paper on Human Security Issues

International Event Involving a Human Security Issue

A current international event that involves a human security issue is the Syrian Civil War. Having started on March 11, 2011 to present, the war is considered the second deadliest of the 21st century. Almost eight years into the war, more than 360,000 people have died with a further devastation of cities and displacement of millions of people. Prior to the eruption of the war, Syrians raised complaints against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime having succeeded his father, Hafez, in 2000. Syrians had gotten tired of massive corruption in the country, high unemployment, as well as the lack of political freedom during al-Assad’s regime. Pro-democracy protests erupted in March 2011 in a city known as Deraa (BBC News). The protests were largely inspired by protests in other Arab countries, what was later referred to as the “Arab Spring.”

In response to the protests, al-Assad’s government used deadly force killing several people. This sparked unrest amidst intensified crackdown by government forces. Protesters resorted to arming themselves with the violence ultimately descending into a civil war that is ongoing. Since the start of the war, there has been a serious violation of human rights given the intensified attacks on civilians. It is believed that the war is more than a battle between people for and against al-Assad’s regime (BBC News). There is the involvement of many groups and countries with each of these having their own agendas. The complexity and prolonged conflict can be attributed to the involvement of various groups and countries with selfish interests and agendas. One of the countries involved in the Syrian Civil War is Russia, which has supported Mr Assad since 2015. Russian forces conduct strikes targeting protesters against Mr. Assad, what the Russian military has continually referred to as “terrorists.” Other countries involved are Iran, the U.S., UK, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel. The groups involved include Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). In addition to the approximately 360,000 deaths that were reported as of 2018, there are 5.7 million Syrian refugees with a further 6.2 million internally displaced people. The UNHCR reports that as of February 2019, around 13 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance with 5.2 million of these being in acute need (BBC News).

Whether A State-Centric/Human Security Approach Could Resolve the Issue

The state-centric approach is majorly associated wit ideologies such as realism, which emphasizes the protection of the state as one of the highest authorities. The state-centric approach is all about the use of military deterrence and the use of force when necessary, particularly in situations where an attack is imminent or is actually taking place (Kerr 4). The primary goal of the state-centric approach is to ensure the survival of the state without taking into consideration the well-being of citizens. On the other hand, the human security approach is of the view that individuals or citizens of a state are of utmost importance. Thus, this approach tends to emphasize international security and peace rather than national security. It is also of the view that conflicts pose not only military risks but also environmental, economic, and social risks, hence its proposal of different ways of resolving conflicts (Kerr 8). In Syria’s current situation, civilians appear to be suffering more than the state implying that efforts to ensure civilian’s physical safety would be appreciated more than those aimed at ensuring a good condition of the country. The Syrian Civil War has resulted in a serious violation of human rights hence human right security would best resolve the issue.




BBC News. “Why Is There a War in Syria?” February 25, 2019. Accessed June 05, 2019.

Kerr, Pauline. “The evolving dialectic between state-centric and human-centric security.” (2003). Accessed June 05, 2019.