World Day of Social Justice: 2019 Theme – ‘If You Want Peace & Development, Work for Social Justice’

World Day of Social Justice: People across globe come together in pursuit of equal rights and opportunities, inclusive justice …

To promote equal rights and opportunities among people within a country and between nations, 20 February is observed annually as the World Day of Social Justice. The United Nations General Assembly had approved the day on 26 November, 2007 and every year since 2009 social justice day is observed to raise awareness about social injustices throughout the world. This day is aimed at encouraging people to look at how social justice affects eradication of poverty, enhances employment and bring forth communal integration.

The theme of 2019 World Day of Social Justice is ‘If You Want Peace & Development, Work for Social Justice’. The United Nations has stated how the pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of its “global mission to promote development and human dignity”.

According to the International Labour Organisation estimates around two billion people still live in fragile and conflict-affected situations, of whom more than 400 million are aged 15 to 29.

How did this day come about?

The World Summit for Social Development was held in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1995 which resulted in the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action. The Summit was the largest gathering ever of world leaders at that time. More than 100 political leaders in this summit pledged to fight poverty, promote full employment and to provide safe and stable societies. They also agreed on the need to put people in the centre of development plans.

Ten years later, the UN’s member states reviewed the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action when they gathered at a session of the Commission for Social Development in New York in February, 2005. Social advancement was one of the key commitments made by all the members there. Subsequently, the UN General Assembly later proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice in 2007. It invited 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 24th session of the General Assembly.

The UN also stated that creation of employment, better quality of work and access to jobs for the bottom 40 percent of a populace has the “potential to increase incomes and contribute to more cohesive and equitable societies”. This, in effect, helps to prevent violent conflicts as well as address post-conflict challenges.

The global body also maintains that observance of a social justice day should support efforts of the international community in poverty eradication, promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all.

World Day of Social Justice: Obaseki calls for global network on women empowerment

Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has called for a network of world leaders, religious groups, civil society organisations, regional think tanks and rights advocates to intensify the clamour for the empowerment of women.

Obaseki, who made the call in Benin City, in commemoration of the World Day for Social Justice, marked on February 20, each year, maintained that “it was time to aggregate the pockets of efforts by state and non-state actors, for a robust framework that would mainstream women empowerment in development, globally.”

He said: “In Africa and other third world countries, inheritance right for women is still a big issue, yet women in these economies contribute significantly to the socio-economic wellbeing of their households. “We must make the case for the education of the girl child and pursue it vigorously. We must review our laws and social practices that manifestly or latently relegate the interest of women in our contemporary society.” Commending groups and organisations championing women issues across the globe, the governor tasked world leaders to escalate the campaign and galvanise governments that are neutral, nonchalant or half-hearted towards the empowerment of women, to change their stand. Citing the progress his administration has made in empowering girls, women and vulnerable people in Edo State, Obaseki said: “We have signed into law, the Violence Against Persons Law, conceived to curtail the incidence of rape, female genital mutilation and other violent acts against girls, women, men and the weak in society.” He added: “At the Edo Innovation Hub, we have series of empowerment programmes for our youth and we have created over 77,000 direct and indirect jobs for job seekers in the state.”

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