World Day of Social Justice 2015

Theme: Ending human trafficking and forced labour
Children Living and Working on the Streets in Lebanon. ILO/Tabitha Ross
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.
Human exploitation & forced labour
Forced labour external linktakes different forms, including debt bondage, trafficking and other forms of modern slavery. The victims are the most vulnerable – women and girls forced into prostitution, migrants trapped in debt bondage, and sweatshop or farm workers kept there by clearly illegal tactics and paid little or nothing.
In June 2014, governments, employers and workers at the ILO International Labour Conference (ILC) decided to give new impetus to the global fight against forced labour, including trafficking in persons and slavery-like practices.
They voted overwhelmingly to adopt a Protocol and a Recommendation which supplement the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), and complement existing international instruments by providing specific guidance on effective measures to be taken to eliminate all forms of forced labour.

Message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

World Day for Social Justice comes at a pivotal moment for people and our planet.  Around the world, there is a rising call to secure a life of dignity for all with equal rights and respect for the diverse voices of the world’s peoples.  At the core of this movement lies the need for social justice.
This year’s commemoration focuses on the scourge of human trafficking and the plight of approximately 21 million women, men and children in various forms of modern slavery.  New instruments such as the ILO Protocol and Recommendation on forced labour and human trafficking are helping to strengthen global efforts to punish perpetrators and end impunity.  We must continue to do more.  We simply cannot achieve development for all if we leave behind those who are socially and economically exploited.
In this crucial year for global development, as Member States work to craft a post-2015 agenda and a new set of sustainable development goals, let us do our utmost to eradicate all forms of human exploitation.  Let us strive to build a world of social justice where all people can live and work in freedom, dignity and equality.


Panel discussion on “Human exploitation unchecked: ending human trafficking and forced labour” on the occasion of the World Day of Social Justice (A/RES/62/10, co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Germany, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines and the United States Mission on 19 February 2015 from 10am to 12 noon at UN Headquarters in New York. More information..


UN DPI World Day of Social Justice website

ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization

Additional Resources

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