Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Martin Luther King
The creation of a fair and just world requires the development and nurture of many qualities including justice, equity and human rights. While justice is often associated with legal systems, social justice encompasses broader notions such as the equitable distribution of social, intellectual and natural resources, both locally and globally, and the conviction that every individual should have the best possible opportunities for personal and social development.
Human rights are rights to which all people are inherently entitled, regardless of race, nationality, gender, religious belief or other status. The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) remains the foundation for upholding human rights globally. These rights include the right to life, liberty and security, the right to be treated humanely and with dignity, the right to education and the right to a fair trial; in essence the right to live rich, rewarding and peaceful lives.
Although progress is being made, the world is far from achieving universal social justice or the protection of human rights. For example, thanks to extreme poverty, tens of millions of children are denied the right to education. Many people are unfairly discriminated against on account of their race, gender or religious beliefs; the livelihoods of many indigenous people are being disrupted by exploitative industries; and political repression, arbitrary detention and torture are still rife in many countries.
Wherever there is war, human rights are at risk. When people’s rights are violated it diminishes the world for all of us. Rights go hand in hand with responsibilities.