United Nations World Day of Social Justice
Promoting Social Justice with Love and Conscience
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
Vice-President of Association of World Citizens
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
Feb. 20, 2021
Welcome to the World Day of Social Justice celebration hosted by the Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL). I would like to extend our gratitude to the many world leaders and visionaries that sent their warm wishes to us at the beginning of the year and their recognition of FOWPALs continued efforts in spreading love, peace, and conscience globally.
In recent years, more and more people have stepped forward and voiced their support for social justice. Their advocacy is heartening; however, this also implies there are still issues that urgently need of resolution worldwide. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) recognizes that social justice is indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of world peace and security. Therefore, it declared February 20th as the World Day of Social Justice, hoping that everyone's rights and fundamental freedoms will be honored and protected and that universal social justice will be realized.
The pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of the United Nations global mission of promoting global development and human dignity. Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. It aims to improve individual well-being through equal rights, equal opportunity, and equal treatment. The social justice principles involve resource distribution, equal treatment, participation, diversity, and fundamental human rights. Among these, human rights are the most important factor to ensure that all, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, culture, religion, or disability, enjoy human rights. With the premise that human rights should be respected, a sound and equitable social system can be built.
Social justice and the UNs seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are closely related, for example, Goal 1: no poverty, Goal 5: gender equality, Goal 8: decent work and economic growth, and Goal 10: reduced inequalities. The core content of these goals is social justice. Today, more than ever, we rely on one another and our collective efforts to enhance the protection of global human rights and social justice. It is encouraging to see that many countries have adopted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and committed to respecting the civil, economic, political, cultural, and legal rights of individuals.
Governments, businesses, and civil society all bear responsibility in promoting social equality and social justice. A government is responsible for enacting laws that treat everyone equally. A business should create a work environment with equal pay, equal opportunity, and equal treatment. Civil society, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), also play a vital role in promoting social justice. FOWPAL has been dedicated to promoting harmony among people and among countries through dialogues of love and peace and exchanges of conscience-driven cultures to advance human rights and social justice.
A systematic change can be difficult and slow since it must wrestle against a system dominated by the privileged and those with vested interests. However, that does not mean it cannot be achieved. We should keep an open mind, raise awareness of social justice, work to make conscience education take root, and respect human rights while promoting and safeguarding social equality, fairness, and justice with conscience. The causes for social inequality and injustice may differ. They do have one thing in common: actions not guided by conscience. Therefore, promoting a culture of conscience is at the core of upholding social justice. Let a culture of conscience nourish people's hearts, allowing them to exercise their conscience while conducting themselves in their daily lives.
We are all world citizens and members of our society. Each of us bears responsibilities to redress injustice and defend human rights and justice. People need to uncover issues with a broader and more open mindset to understand all perspectives as well as reconcile and balance social justice with conscience. Only by following their conscience, can people reveal ongoing injustices, for conscience enables them to see others suffering and gives them courage to step forward and support social justice.
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the worldwide economy and has exacerbated the existing disparities everywhere. While it is not easy to reform an existing system to ensure that medical care resources are accessible to all, it is relatively simple and important to start with and change oneself. Through the internet, FOWPAL has been sharing a manual about disease prevention and health protection as well as a video titled Five Dos, Three Don’ts, and Six Tips worldwide. With the pandemic still raging, these demonstrate, from concept to action, how we can protect ourselves from the virus and stop feeling nervous or worried. We encourage people to work together to face and overcome the challenges with courage.
As the core of social justice, conscience is the criterion to distinguish right from wrong, good from bad, true from false, and just from unjust. Please remember, while pursuing social justice, one should not abandon conscience or love. Our words and actions of love and conscience reflect that we are learning from divine selflessness, and they can make positive impacts on society and the world, creating a virtuous cycle. With good culture, comes good education; with good education, comes good economy. Conscience and education are especially important in the implementation of social justice. That is the motivation behind FOWPALs efforts to promote the culture of peace with love and conscience, which are instrumental in the UNs designation of April 5 as the International Day of Conscience on July 25, 2019. The International Day of Conscience is the day of conscience for all humanity. During the pandemic, FOWPAL has and will continue to host virtual events each month in support of various UN days, to continue bringing together friends and leaders from all walks of life in the world, inspiring them to share and exchange words of conscience. These efforts serve to remind and encourage everyone that conscience is the wellspring of love and peace. Everyone can be a person of conscience, and every day can be a day of conscience.
Once again, thank you for joining us today. Let us strengthen our conscience and create a network of acts of kindness to construct a society that is more just and peaceful as well as a genuine era of conscience filled with love and harmony.
Thank you all! I wish you good health, happiness, and success!
*Presented at the ICDAY's virtual event in support of UN World Day of Social Justice