357.2 Citizen security as a new human right? Securitization and the new moral economy of rights in Latin America

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 2:42 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Michael HUMPHREY , Sociology and Social Policy, Universityof Sydney, Sydney, Australia
This paper explores the human rights framing of the growth of violence alongside democratization in Latin America. It takes as its focus the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) thematic report on Citizen Security addressing the growth in diversity and intensity of violence in Latin American societies. The IACHR report argues that violence has been exacerbated by the policy of securitization on the one hand and legal impunity on the other.  This human rights framing of violence in democracy sees securitisation as trading off the rights of the poor for the rights of the rich and sees impunity arising from the lack of legal protection through policing and criminal prosecution. This paper argues that crisis of ‘citizen security’ must be understood as a product of the intersection of the globalization of public violence and the globalization of human rights.  The globalization of public violence involves the rescaling of organised violence  (transnationalisation of security, state franchising of violence to private organisations and the transnational organisation of crime) and the globalization of human rights (the intensification of victim politics and human rights consciousness).  Securitisation through rescaling and privatization of violence is accompanied by a new moral economy rights based on prioritizing the rights of the rich over the rights of the poor. The paper argues that securitization is an index of the diminished capacity of the state to achieve the rule of law for all by protecting rights selectively. Governance through securitization is producing a new form of authoritarianism based on democratic consent to deny rights to those blamed for the violence. Examples are drawn from Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil.