The 20th February every year is designated by the United Nations as the World Day of Social Justice, a day to recognise the ongoing importance of a principle that is central to all work towards global peace and prosperity. Below is an excerpt about the significance of this day, from the United Nations:
Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. 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 our 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 General Assembly proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice in 2007, inviting Member States to devote the day to promoting national activities in accordance with the objectives and goals of the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth session of the General Assembly. Observance of World Day of Social Justice should support efforts of the international community in poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all.
For more information and resources relating to World Day of Social Justice, head to the United Nations website: www.un.org/en/events/socialjusticeday.
2016-17 ACBC Social Justice Statement
Every year, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) puts out a Social Justice Statement on a particular important topic or social issue.
This year’s statement, released in September of last year, is called “A Place at the Table: Social Justice in an Ageing Society.” The statement looks at the opportunities and challenges associated with Australia’s growing aged population:
…Our nation has had more than enough time to prepare for a significant increase in the number of older Australians. In this sense, we should not be shocked by the statistics of an ageing demographic. The cohort of ‘baby boomers’ approaching retirement age has been on the radar since the 80s and advances in medicine and technology have greatly increased the health and vitality of older generations.
Policies such as compulsory superannuation, the expansion of community and residential aged care, the promotion of ‘active ageing’ and work beyond retirement are just some indications of a society planning for the future. Of course, such initiatives need always to ensure that the more vulnerable members of the community are also beneficiaries and not allowed to fall through the system.
Older unemployed workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experiencing the huge gap in wealth and longevity compared to non-Indigenous people, women with low-income and negligible retirement savings, older people who are homeless – these are just some of the groups who will carry the burden of poverty into retirement if the nation’s policies lack the essential ingredient of distributive justice…
– Australian Catholic Social Justice Council Secretariat, John Ferguson, August 2016 Briefing
If you are interested in reading more about Social Justice issues, the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council has many resources available both for free and to purchase from their website: www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au.