EDITORIAL

Social justice key to world peace and development

Representative Image

Ranjan K Baruah
(With direct inputs from UN publication and feedback may be sent to bkranjan@gmail.com)

World Day of Social Justice

Whenever we talk of or discuss about human rights we do talk of social justice. Though social justice has broad perspectives depending on different situations and conditions yet in simple this is about rights and equality when there is division amongst people in various perspectives, including wealth. Social justice is a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society. This is measured by the explicit and tacit terms for the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity, and social privileges.

It has often referred to the process of ensuring that individuals fulfill their societal roles and receive what was their due from society. It assigns rights and duties in the institutions of society, which enables people to receive the basic benefits and burdens of cooperation. The relevant institutions often include taxation, social insurance, public health, public school, public services, labour law and regulation of markets, to ensure fair distribution of wealth, and equal opportunity.

It is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability. For the United Nations, the pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of global mission to promote development and human dignity. The adoption by the International Labour Organization of the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization is just one recent example of the UN system’s commitment to social justice. The Declaration focuses on guaranteeing fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles and rights at work.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that currently about 2 billion people live in fragile and conflict-affected situations, of whom more than 400 million are aged 15 to 29. Job creation, better quality jobs, and better access to jobs for the bottom 40 per cent have the potential to increase incomes and contribute to more cohesive and equitable societies and thus are important to prevent violent conflicts and to address post-conflict challenges.

The ILO unanimously adopted the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization on 10 June 2008. This is the third major statement of principles and policies adopted by the International Labour Conference since the ILO’s Constitution of 1919. It builds on the Philadelphia Declaration of 1944 and the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of 1998. The 2008 Declaration expresses the contemporary vision of the ILO’s mandate in the era of globalization.

This landmark Declaration is a powerful reaffirmation of ILO values. It is the outcome of tripartite consultations that started in the wake of the Report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization. By adopting this text, the representatives of governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations from 182 member States emphasize the key role of our tripartite organization in helping to achieve progress and social justice in the context of globalization.

The Declaration comes at a crucial political moment, reflecting the wide consensus on the need for a strong social dimension to globalization in achieving improved and fair outcomes for all. It constitutes a compass for the promotion of a fair globalization based on Decent Work, as well as a practical tool to accelerate progress in the implementation of the Decent Work Agenda at the country level.

The UN General Assembly Recognizes that social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among nations and that, in turn, social development and social justice cannot be attained in the absence of peace and security or in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms. On 26 November, 2007, the General Assembly declared that, starting from the sixty-third session of the General Assembly, 20 February will be celebrated annually as the World Day of Social Justice. The theme for this year is “If You Want Peace & Development, Work for Social Justice”.

There is no shadow of doubt that globalization and interdependence are opening new opportunities through trade, investment and capital flows and advances in technology, including information technology, for the growth of the world economy and the development and improvement of living standards around the world, while at the same time there remain serious challenges, including serious financial crises, insecurity, poverty, exclusion and inequality within and among societies and considerable obstacles to further integration and full participation in the global economy for developing countries as well as some countries with economies in transition.

Different actors and players or stake holders have different roles to play for ensuring social justice for all. Social justice is must so that each and every individual irrespective of their backgrounds may exercise their rights and contribute towards positive changes in the society. Different government mainly developing nations must focus more on social justice as there is a difference amongst citizens in developing countries. Together all of us can make a difference and let us commit that we shall ensure social justice for the progress of humanity and to achieve sustainable development for ourselves.