Human Rights & Security: Justifying Exceptions

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Since its introduction in the 1990s1, the concept of securitization has received widespread attention well beyond the field of international relations in the context of which it first appeared. The concept indicates the discursive process in which: (i) an agent claims (securitization move) the necessity to adopt exceptional measures which bring about serious violations of otherwise binding rules, in order to protect a certain value from a grave and extraordinary threat, with the scope of convincing a specific audience to accept those measures and the violations to follow; (ii) the move is successful and the audience effectively accepts the exceptional measures (securitization).One of the principal credits of this conceptualization is in making evident the fact that every securitization move is, above all, an argumentative operation (being essentially an invocation of reasons for justifying violations of otherwise binding norms), all the while representing in a simple manner its essential elements: the agent, the «securitized» value, the exceptional measures, the violated rules, the grave and extraordinary threat and the audience.Securitization has a double relationship with human rights: the violated rules typically include norms posited for the protection of fundamental rights (the most notable is the case of «the state of exception» whose declaration represents a securitization move par excellence). On the other hand, human rights are themselves increasingly becoming the securitized values (the most obvious example is that of humanitarian interventions in cases of gross violations of human rights).The many faces of securitization moves in their double relationship with human rights were precisely the topic of the 2015 Summer Course Human Rights & Security: Justifying Exceptions (Palermo, 15-20 June 2015), organized by the University of Palermo’s PhD Program on Human Rights, jointly with the European Academy of Legal Theory (Bruxelles) and in collaboration with the École Doctorale de Sciences Juridiques et Politiques of the University of Paris Nanterre. Each day two seminars were held discussing specific topics from various theoretical and practical perspectives, aiming at achieving an effective integration of methods and solutions.The papers here collected were first presented at the Summer Course and have subsequently been re-elaborated for this publication.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherIl Mulino
Number of pages113
ISBN (Print)978-88-15-26963-8
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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