Alula Berhe Kidani
Khartoum – 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 (ILO) 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.
We can’t ignore the fact that Social justice is an important principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. To remove the barriers basically that people face about gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability etc. it is necessary to uphold the principles of social justice.
World Day of Social Justice is a global observance and is not a public holiday. In 1995, the World Summit for Social Development was held in Copenhagen, Denmark and resulted in the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action. It was also decided that there is a need to put people at the center of development plans.
According to World Summit, social developments aimed at social justice, solidarity, harmony and equality within and among countries. No doubt that social justice, equality and equity constitute the fundamental values of all the societies. It is necessary for the government to create a framework for achieving ‘a society for all’ to promote social justice at national, regional and international levels.
They also pledged to create an equal opportunity for job seekers, equitable distribution of income and greater access to resources through equity and equality.
The ILO adopted the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization on 10 June 2008. 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. The Declaration institutionalizes the Decent Work concept developed by the ILO since 1999, placing it at the core of the Organization’s policies to reach its constitutional objectives.
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.
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.
It further recognizes 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.
The aspiration for social justice, through which every working man and woman can claim freely and on the basis of equality of opportunity their fair share of the wealth which they have helped to generate, is as great today as it was when the ILO was created in 1919. The current global economy has grown to a scale unprecedented in history. Aided by new technologies, people, capital and goods are moving between countries with an ease and at a speed that have created an interdependent global economic network affecting virtually every person on the planet.
While globalization has created opportunities and benefits for many, at the same time millions of workers and employers worldwide have had to face new challenges. The globalized economy has displaced workers and enterprises to new locations, resulted in the sudden accumulation or flight of capital, and caused financial instability which in turn led to the 2008 global economic crisis. Despite the clear benefits, globalization has not ushered in an era of prosperity for all. In fact, in spite of strong economic growth that had produced millions of new jobs since the early 1990s until the 2008 crisis, income inequality also grew dramatically in most regions of the world. The personal distribution of wages has become more unequal, with a growing gap between the top 10 per cent and the bottom 10 per cent of wage earners. Moreover, six years after the 2008 economic and social crisis, the global employment situation remains uneven: if certain advanced economies have managed to recover some of the jobs lost, other economies are still confronted with significant challenges with respect to their labour market and social prospects continue to deteriorate. From the economic point of view, indicators show that profitability and stock markets have recovered in the majority of countries. Executive pay is also on the rise, following a pause in the immediate aftermath of the crisis. Therefore, the key issue is how to translate these profits into productive investment. The fact that the global crisis has had significant negative repercussions for labour markets and that recovery is proving uncertain and elusive has further highlighted the necessity of inclusive growth.
Inequality not only leads to a decline in productivity but also breeds poverty, social instability and even conflict. In view of this, the international community has recognized the need to establish some basic rules of the game to ensure that globalization offers a fair chance at prosperity for everyone.