Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained. Helen Keller.
Justice is a central moral standard in social life, is generally held to have a prominent role in social theory and social action, and so it is perhaps not surprising that all the social sciences have examined the concept at some length. “Charity is no substitute for justice withheld,” Saint Augustine once said. Much of the philosophical literature and political theory of justice has been predominantly normative in character. Recent years have seen the emergence of a developing consensus that research into social justice issues could most profitably be pursued within an interdisciplinary framework.
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.
The General Assembly proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice in 2007 (A/RES/62/10), 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.
The International Labour Organization unanimously adopted the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization on 10 June 2008. This is the third major statement of principles and policies adopted by the International Labour Conference since the ILO’s Constitution of 1919. It builds on the Philadelphia Declaration of 1944 and the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of 1998. The 2008 Declaration expresses the contemporary vision of the ILO’s mandate in the era of globalization.
We are going to need an economics that respects planetary boundaries, that recontinues the dependence of human well-being on social relations and fairness, and that recognises that the ultimate goal is real, sustainable human well-being , not merely growth of material consumption.