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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.

For the United Nations, the pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of our global mission to promote development and human dignity.

The adoption by the International Labour Organization of the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization is just one recent example of the UN system’s commitment to social justice. The Declaration focuses on guaranteeing fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles and rights at work.

The General Assembly proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice in 2007, 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.

Circumstances, such as: their place of birth, where they live, their gender or even their ethnicity, should never determine individual opportunities for quality education, basic healthcare, decent work, adequate shelter, access to drinking water, political participation or living free from threatened, or actual, physical violence. As inequalities widen, the social fabric of our societies is both stretched and strained. This often leads to a downward spiral of economic and social uncertainty and even unrest. Violent conflict in many parts of the world is, often, rooted in deep inequality, discrimination, and widespread poverty.

Almost 21 million people are victims of forced labour. Among them, 11.4 million are women and girls while remaining 9.5 million are men and boys. Youth commit only a small portion of the nation’s crime, for example, in 2009, 11% of violent crime clearances and 17% of the property crime clearances nationwide involved young people. According to the facts on social justice, youth under age 18 accounted for 14% of all arrests. Youth crime has also been going up for many years, the number of adults arrested in 2009 and in 2000 increased, whereas the number of juveniles arrested dropped a staggering 20%.

The theme of World Day of Social Justice 2019 is 'If you want Peace and Development, Work for Social Justice'. According to ILO estimates, currently around 2 million people live in fragile and conflict-affected situations, of which more than 400 million are aged 15 to 29. It is also seen that less than 40% people have better quality jobs and better access to jobs to increase their incomes and to contribute more cohesive and equitable societies. It is important to prevent violent conflicts and to address post-conflict challenges.

We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), believe that the World Day of Social Justice is a call for all countries to take concrete actions that give meaning to the universal values of human dignity and opportunity for all. We uphold the principles of social justice by promoting gender equality and giving young people a voice to speak up as well as removing barriers that young people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.

Let us strengthen our efforts to achieve a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable society built on constructive dialogue, transparency and social justice.

Happy World Day of Social Justice!