20 February 2014 - Gender inequality, rising unemployment rates, human trafficking... the world still faces difficult challenges and obstacles, but social justice may not be the utopia many think it is.
But what exactly is social justice? It could, for instance, be summarized by the ability for people to realize their potential in the society where they live. The term 'social justice' implies fairness and mutual obligation in society: that we are responsible for one another, and that we should ensure that all have equal chances to succeed in life.
While the concept of social justice can be traced through Ancient and Renaissance philosophy, such as Socrates, Thomas Aquinas, Spinoza and Tom Paine, the term "social justice" only became used explicitly from the 1840s. Today, nearly 200 years later, social injustice remains present in our societies and cultures around the world. To underline the necessity of the on-going battle against inequalities, we celebrate the World Day of Social Justice on the 20th of February.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) as well as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the today marked the World Day of Social Justice by linking the struggle against human trafficking with eradicating poverty, promoting full employment and decent work, gender equality and access to justice.
“Fighting poverty, unemployment and gender inequality while promoting decent work, access to social well-being and justice for all are fundamental to combating human trafficking,” said the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro.
“The struggle to end modern-day slavery is very much a part of the struggle for social justice, and therefore we want to urge all members of the global community to focus on redoubling efforts to eliminate the conditions that result in the scourge of human trafficking.”
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said: “Far too often the search for a decent job and a better life ends in the nightmare of debt, poor working conditions, or worse still - trafficking, exploitation and violence.”
"We need concerted international efforts to ensure that women and men everywhere have the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty through work in conditions of freedom, dignity, economic security and equal opportunity."
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