World Social Justice Day is observed annually on 20th February for promoting efforts to tackle global issues such as poverty, unemployment, gender equality and exclusion to create an equitable society for all. It promotes social justice, solidarity, harmony & equality for marginalised communities, women and immigrants. The theme of World Justice Day in 2017 is “Preventing conflict and sustaining peace through decent work”. On this day many organisations including the United Nations and International Labour Organisation present plans and issue statements regarding the promotion of social justice. Additionally, campaign groups, trade unions and volunteers are also invited to mark their support on this day.
In 2007, the World Day of Social Justice was introduced in the UN agenda. It urged governments to focus on three important aspects;
a) reaffirmation of commitments made in Geneva Development Summit 1995,
b) recalling the commitment to promote national and global economic systems based on the principles of justice, equity, democracy participation, transparency, accountability and inclusion and
c) reaffirming the commitment made in the 2005 World Summit Outcome to full and productive employment and decent work for all, including for women and young people.
Keeping focus on these aspects will remove the barriers that people face because of their gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.
Equality is the basic fundamental right of every society and in order to achieve the same, governments have created a framework for action to promote social justice at national, regional and international levels. The governments accept the fact that holistic economic growth can be achieved only by promoting equitable distribution of income, resources and providing everyone an equal opportunity for growth and development irrespective of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, culture or disability. They promote the belief that only social justice can help in achieving the peaceful coexistence within and among the nations.
United Nations also promotes social justice as part of their global mission to achieve equality for all. The recent adoption of the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization by the International Labour Organisation is one 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, fundamental principles and rights at work.
Fiinovation through its association with corporations for CSR and Sustainability initiatives, have always promoted social justice. It believes that there are serious challenges in front of us, including financial crises, insecurity, poverty, exclusion and inequality within and among societies and considerable bottlenecks to further social integration and full participation in the economy. The road ahead would be to incorporate social integration activities within the social development programmes to boost equitable growth in the country.
“With exclusion and inequality on the rise, we must step up efforts to ensure that all people, without discrimination, are able to access opportunities to improve their lives and those of others.” – Former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Media & Communications, Fiinovation
“Equality is the public recognition, effectively expressed in institutions and manners, of the principle that an equal degree of attention is due to the needs of all human beings.” – Simone Weil
The specially-abled people form the world’s largest minority group with more than 1 billion people or approximately 15 per cent of the 7.4 billion world population having some form of disability. Out of them more than 100 million are children who are likely to experience four times more violence than non-disabled children. Nearly, 80 per cent of the specially-abled live in the developing nations. India, which will soon become the world’s most populous country, is home to more than 27 million specially-abled people.
Fiinovation, being a leading organisation in the social development sector understands that disability is a condition or function which usually leads to poorer health, lower education achievements and fewer economic opportunities. They face lot of difficulties due to lack of services, opportunities and discrimination. In wake of this, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared the year 1981, as the International Year of Disabled Persons. Further, the UNGA proclaimed 1983-1992 as the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons calling for an action plan at international, national and regional levels.
The observance of International Day of Persons with Disabilities started in the year 1992, promoting an understanding of disability issues and mobilizing support for the dignity, rights and welfare of the differently-able people. Accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities are fundamental rights recognized by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which has been ratified by 153 countries and are not only objectives, but also pre-requisites for the enjoyment of other rights.
This year, the theme is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want”, aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. The aim is to build a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities. With its experience in the social development sector, Fiinovation strongly feels that achieving the 17 goals requires full inclusion and effective participation of persons with disabilities.
The abilities of persons with disabilities cannot be undermined as in the case of Rio Para-Olympics, where the Indian team performed outstandingly, bringing medals and honour for the country. This day provides an opportunity for everyone to salute them and other specially-abled people who despite all the difficulties continue to inspire world with their contributions. Therefore, Fiinovation urges all governments, businesses and other stakeholders to intensify efforts for ending discriminations that prevent persons with disabilities from exercising their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
Let’s together build a better world.
By Rahul Choudhury
Media & Communications, Fiinovation
Because of the lack of education on AIDS, discrimination, fear, panic, and lies surrounded me.” – Ryan White
There is a notion that if you believe something exists in society, it will continue to exist. Discrimination is a state of mind that continues to be present in society, irrespective of all the laws that protect the citizens from it. When asked by a reporter why it was important for Justin Trudeau to have a gender-equal cabinet, 15 men and 15 women, Trudeau shrugged: “Because it’s 2015.” The crowd cheered. But, do you think the world has been able to end any form of discrimination?
Millions of lives are still affected by discrimination across the world. Though its the right of everyone to lead a life with dignity regardless of age, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, skin colour, height, weight, profession, education, and beliefs, yet discrimination is rampant across the globe. What’s shameful is that almost 80 countries, including India still have laws criminalizing same-sex sexual relations. Some 38 countries, territories and regions impose certain form of restriction on the entry, stay and residence of people living with HIV. It is estimated that around 35 million people were living with HIV in 2013. Another 2.1 million people became newly infected and 1.5 million died from AIDS-related illnesses.
Understanding this, the United Nations started the Zero Discrimination Day observance on March 1st, 2014, after the Zero Discrimination Campaign was launched on World AIDS Day in December 2013. The day was initiated as part wider efforts to spur solidarity towards ending discrimination. The theme for this year is “Open Up, Reach Out” that encourages all members of the international community to stay united under the banner of diversity and celebrate each other’s difference in an authoritative rejection of discrimination in all its forms.
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “Discrimination is a violation of human rights and must not go unchallenged. Everyone has the right to live with respect and dignity.” Fiinovation has been strongly advocating against discrimination of all forms and believes that major problems of the world can be solved by eliminating stigma and discrimination. Fiinovation urges the people of the world to collectively strive for a fairer world, where one is encouraged to end discrimination and to build nations that are known for human rights. It is up to us to end violence and abuse on a daily basis and promote health care and education.
Let us share songs, poems, and thoughts that can inspire people to make greater efforts to realize and protect human rights and eliminate discrimination in all forms.
“If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl,
but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
By – Rahul Choudhury
Media & Communications, Fiinovation