Human Security: Risk Assessment

Assessing risk is one of the key elements in understanding human security. Risks related to human secuirty can result from a variety of political, economic, civil or social factors. Understanding and identifying what these risks are is a critical starting point, and helps concerned authorities inthe public and private sector to take measures to minimize the risk and to assess whether any actions may heighten risks faced.

The perception of human security is particularly associated with 'visible' aspects such as violence. Depending on the situation and the locality, violence can be widespread or limited to a particular area. Risks associated with the potential for violence need to be identified by developing a coalition of public and private sector entities, and civil society organizations. Understanding the patterns of violence and associated risks will be critical for predictive and preventive purposes, as well as facilitating wareness raising and capacity building actions.

Transparency and accountability in public actions (particularly those associated with police, paramilitaries, and other law enforcement entities) to reduce risks associated with violence goes a long way in confidence building in the general public to understand and deal with these risks. Understanding the capacities and capabilities of public authorities to respond to violent situations also helps in minimizing the associated risks.

Accountability in violent situations is particularly significant in terms of judicial capacities to bring to justice those responsible for violence, and also protecting the rights of the victims.

Ultimately, identifying and understanding the root causes and nature of local conflicts, and the legal and administrative recourses available, will be key to the development of strategies for managing risk. Such assessments of risk should also consider the potential for future conflicts.

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