On 20 February, World Day of Social Justice, the International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the video “Voices of Youth on Social Justice” which features the voices of young people explaining what social justice means to them, what challenges they face and their message to the international community. The video is part of a campaign inviting young people to share their own views on social justice – whether in the form of a message of hope, a call of action, or in the form of advice. Moreover, it joins a series of perspectives on what social justice means and how it might be achieved in the years to come. These will be added throughout 2012. For more information visit: www.ilo.org/socialjustice.
World Day of Social Justice is an opportunity for the global community to think of and pay attention to the global injustices that continue to impact the lives of so many around the world. More specifically, on this day, Member States are encouraged to promote national activities that support goals and objectives that were agreed on during the World Summit for Social Development (1995), as well as those agreed on during the twenty-fourth Special Session of the General Assembly. These goals and objectives are related to poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all. According to the United Nations, social justice is also one of the underlying principles for “peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations.”
Both UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and ILO Director General, Juan Somavia, in their messages for the day, referred to the recent protests around the world and the millions of citizens that called for social justice by voicing their discontent with ongoing processes of inequality, corruption, repression or unemployment. Mr. Ban called for rethinking development strategies and business practices, and for integrating social inclusion into policies and other efforts. Juan Somavia, on his turn, drew attention to current unemployment rates, and increasing income inequality, as well as the lack of decent working conditions, social security, and fundamental freedoms of work that affect millions of workers around the world. Similarly to the Secretary-General, he called for new thinking and creativity to better integrate social justice into economic progress, and provided four points of departure. The international community should:
• converge the policies that drive globalization on addressing the 600 million jobs challenge over the next ten years;
• reduce inequality and revaluing work in order to maintain human dignity, family stability, and peace in communities – as well as global purchasing power;
• respond to the surge and implications of global popular movements demanding increased voice and participation by radically reinforcing and improving systems of dialogue, collaboration and consensus building; and
• ensure that the financial sector is at the service of the real economy, and no longer accept that some banks are too big to fail and some people are too small to matter.
He concluded by noting that: “The world has choices. We can continue to apply policies which produced the crisis and wait for at least 88 years to eradicate extreme poverty at the present rate. Or we can begin to conceive and realize a vision of society and of growth based on the dignity of human beings capable of delivering economic efficiency, sustainability and decent work for all in a new era of social justice.”
For more information on the World Day of Social Justice, click here.