Thompson Rivers University

United Nations adds researcher’s book to prominent publication list

February 28, 2019

Robert Hanlon argues that addressing human security is pivotal to society, development and the future.

The notion that infectious disease outbreaks, refugees, terrorism, food security and pollution happening across the globe actually connects and affects us all, earned arts faculty member Robert Hanlon a spot on a prestigious United Nations publication list.

“It’s sometimes hard to think of the interconnectedness of people in different countries, but we are. Look at what’s going on with infectious diseases and the measles outbreak in Vancouver. Borders and governments can’t simply shut down—all these things are so interrelated across countries and communities,” Hanlon said.

What is human security?

Human security is an approach to international and national security that focuses on things happening at a human level, rather than an international level. It examines overarching themes like extreme poverty, conflict and survival of natural disasters and looks at ways to address them.

“Human security makes the case that we can’t think of ourselves in isolation. This is an interconnected world and whether you like it or not, challenges in other parts of the planet do impact us,” he added.

The United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS) is the financial backing that funds responses and initiatives that aim to address worldwide human security issues.

Why does this United Nations publication list matter?

The important human security publication list is a curated definition and reference list for organizations bringing forward peacebuilding project proposals. It’s a comprehensive library offering robust background information on human security for any potential partners, donors or applicants intent on making a difference in human security.

Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want: An Introduction to Human Security earning a spot on this esteemed list is significant because it’s clear evidence that Hanlon succeeded in covering key issues in human security—including climate change, crimes against humanity, humanitarian intervention, international law and more.

Hanlon has spent plenty of time examining human security, even before joining the Philosophy, History and Politics department at TRU.

Learn more about political science at TRU

Some of his area of research focuses on the overlap between the business sector, corruption and the impact it has on human rights. He’s studied police torture, the dysfunctional rule of law in Asia and international politics for the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong.

Hanlon argues that addressing human security is pivotal to society, development and the future.

“We have to think more strategically, more carefully and meaningfully in our approach to development. Human security must complement traditional security as threats in other parts of the world will end up on our doorstep. International challenges do matter to us. We can’t just say ‘not our problem,’ because it really is our problem.”

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