Between guns and roses, did foreign aid forget about human rights? The paradox of conducting a joined-up approach of development and security. A case study of the European Union development policy “securitisation” in the Sahel region.

Thumbnail Image
Ninnin, Noémie
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Given the evolving global political-economic landscape, the combination of security and development goals has grown on the international scene as a promising practice in many areas such as conflict prevention, fight against terrorism and migration management. The European Union is now arguing that for greater policy coherence security and development should be treated as complementary agendas leading to a worrying “securitisation” of development policies. This paper analyzes how the joined-up approach to development and security interferes with human rights fulfillment. This question is answered through a case study of the EU practice in the Sahel region with a focus on three EU instruments- the IcSP, the APF and the EUTF- using both EU official documents and academic literature as a tool of analysis. Although the inherent interrelation of security and development isn’t denied, the thesis opts rather for a critical analysis that aims to point out the problematic elements of the development-security nexus and the paradox risen into development policies standing between discourse and implementation. To this end, it approaches the human rights paradigm within the scope of risk analysis based notably on alarming assertions of researchers and non-governmental organisations. As a result, the paradox revealed is how the development and security nexus is widely assumed as if a convergence of the two areas were obvious, even though they may differ in many aspects. Accordingly, the seek of coherency for the EU when emphasizing security and development purposes together, can in fact lead to contradictions in the delivery of development aid for the receiver country. Such a comprehensive approach tends indeed to put the fight against terrorism, transnational crime and curbing migration along with poverty reduction, which, first, justify to finance military and security actors in the name of development and, second, presents inconsistencies regarding both their timeframes and potential divergent objectives. Consequently, the possible adverse effects are mostly envisaged in this paper according to whether or not security is conceived through a traditional or human approach when pursuing development policies. In line with the EU security interests, the integration of a security paradigm into development policies might lead to undermine development goals and disregard the receivers’ local dynamics and perspective on security. Aligning aid allocation and conditionality with the EU security model imply a “top-down securitisation" under development policies. While the dangerousness of such external policy lies in the potential militarisation and support to dubious regimes security forces, the thesis demonstrates how individuals can be finally put in a more insecure situation and their human rights being undermined. Therefore, the present research emphasizes that if a bridging approach of security and development is framework according to UNDP conception of human security and human Development, focusing mostly on freedoms, it would consequently take better the path of human rights protection and fulfillment. To mitigate the adverse impacts and unwanted consequences of a development policy securitisation, the thesis advocates the need to assess more in-depth vulnerabilities and Human Rights law compliance while calling for a human-rights-based approach to development. Ultimately, the resilience notion represents a great path to follow as it can be a truly mean to de-securitised poverty as well as promoting internal conceptions and capabilities. Keywords: securitisation, development, aid, human rights, human security, human development .
Second semester University: Lund University
security, foreign policy, European Union, development aid policy, human rights, Africa