World Day of Social Justice

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has launched a communication campaign on the theme of “This Way to Social Justice” to promote action against inequalities in the world of work. The campaign follows the submission of the ILO Director-General’s report to the 2023 International Labour Conference. This emphasizes “the need for greater social justice worldwide and the means to achieve it, and highlights the opportunities that exist, both nationally and internationally, to promote the ILO’s people-centred, rights-based approach.”

At the same time, a number of organizations and unions are organizing activities on the day to combat inequality and injustice, particularly economic injustice. For example, the Red Hand Coalition, which brings together union, feminist, community and grassroots organizations, is pursuing its mobilization efforts by coordinating a series of regional actions across Quebec. The preliminary program is available here (in French only).

World Day of Social Justice has been celebrated on February 20 since 2008, following the adoption of a United Nations resolution to this effect on November 26, 2007. In the spirit of the members of the General Assembly, “social development and social justice are essential to the establishment and maintenance of peace and security within and among nations, and that, conversely, there can be no social development and social justice without peace, security and respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

In its advocacy, the United Nations emphasizes the importance of not giving up in our quest for social justice. “social justice moves forward when we break down barriers related to gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.”

Statistics show the importance of “advancing social justice”.

  • In 2020, it was still palling that one in five workers were still living in moderate or extreme poverty.
  • Some 212 million people were also unemployed in 2019 compared to 201 million in previous years.
  • More than 60% of the world’s employed population, or 2 billion women, men and youth, earn their livelihoods in the informal economy. These workers are often without social protection or employment benefits and twice as likely to be poor compared to formal workers.