Written by Ruby Robles – Volunteer at ACAA
Eleven years ago on February 20 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared 20th of February as World Day of Social Justice. The 192-member body adopted the Resolution and invited member states to promote national activities to raise awareness of social justice issues such as gender inequality, poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, environmental justice and access to social well-being for all. The Resolution was adopted in accordance with the “objectives and goals of the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth session of the General Assembly, entitled “World Summit for Social Development and beyond: achieving social development for all in a globalizing world” (World Day of Social Justice, UN General Assembly).
To achieve global peace and security, the international community must first work to ensure social justice and social development for all because social justice cannot be attained in “absence of peace and security or in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms” (World Day of Social Justice, UN General Assembly,). A World Day of Social Justice calls for the elimination of exclusion, discrimination or obstacles to integration and full participation in a civil society. Some of the common barriers to achieving social justice in a society may be because of people’s “gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, or disability” (UN General Assembly, World Day of Social Justice). On this special day, we must empower and inspire government institutions, NGO’s and individuals worldwide to work together and in solidarity to advocate for policies that can address the challenges of social justice.
Today is also a special day for the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association because achieving social justice is one of the core values and missions of the organization. Since its establishment in 2001, the ACAA has worked with government institutions and NGO’s in the United Kingdom and Afghanistan to develop programs aimed at achieving social development and promoting social justice. In our two centers based in Hounslow and Deptford, ACAA provides free services and support systems for Afghan and Central Asian refugees such as mentoring, English language classes, employment workshops, legal advice and a women’s support group in order to assist individuals with social integration into British society. In 2013, the ACAA launched two Citizen Advice Centers in Kabul and Pul-e-Khumri in Afghanistan, and provided free services and advice for citizens on a wide range of issues, helping those least able to access justice and their rights, including women, young and internally displaced people, returnees and the disabled. Some of the services included legal advice, sessions on promoting education, women’s rights, disability rights and employment rights.
The ACAA will continue to develop future plans for programs to promote social justice and human rights for vulnerable members of society. Everyone deserves equal opportunities to health, education and employment no matter their gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.