By Robert Irven
"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." -United Nations
These words help us set the context to mark the World Day of Social Justice 2018, a day to bring awareness to the fight for seeking social justice for the development and human dignity of all those around the world. This year, a special theme has been set: Workers on the Move: the Quest for Social Justice. Considering the increasing numbers of those on the move, whether they be migrants, refugees or the many who sit in the grey area in between, one cannot deny that this issue is one that has much importance, both currently and for the foreseeable future. In 2007, the General Assembly proclaimed 20 February as the World Day of Social Justice, 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.
Here at the CSDS, one of our main themes of work centers around "Human Rights, Human Security & Justice," an area which we believe is relevant in every part of daily life, and a subject that must be kept in the foreground of any development discussion or project. A major project that was recently completed titled "Transboundary Rivers: Arenas of Justice" focused on using a specific rights-based approach to the food-water-energy nexus that exists within and around the region's major waterways, allowing for difficult yet important discussions around these topics to be had.
Research out of our Salween Fellowship program has also produced a variety of publications focused on the topic of justice, which can be found for viewing and download here. As this years' events also center around the topic of movement, the newly launched booked "Living with Floods in a Mobile Southeast Asia: A Political Ecology of Vulnerability, Migration and Environmental Change” also provides an in-depth look at how national and regional policy-agendas and responses to environmental disaster and climate change-related hazards are adding to the complexities of human mobility in Southeast Asia. Dive deeper into a conversation about water justice in Laos with the book chapter Arenas of Water Justice on Transboundary Rivers: A Case Study of the Xayaburi Dam, Laos
For more information about the World Day of Social Justice and additional downloadable resources, please visit the official United Nations website.