The Social Justice Concept and Its Importance

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SOCIAL JUSTICE
Social justice is about:
(a) preventing human rights abuses
(b) obtaining equality for different groups
(c) overcoming the barriers that prevent some people from enjoying a better quality of life (d) maximising everybody's welfare
(e) ensuring that different groups in the society meet their obligations and responsibilities so that the whole society benefits.             Social justice hinges on several ideas that we all share.  We believe that everybody is equal and although we are organised in different social groups, eg, based on gender, religion, age, social class, etc, we should all be treated fairly.  Each person has rights, eg, the right to life, to freely express oneself, and to worship freely.  Social justice involves notions of: Fairness:  All social groups should be treated equally.  Groups that have been marginalised should be brought into the mainstream by having more political power.  Each group in a society should be treated fairly because all persons are equal, and as such they each have rights that must be recognised. Welfare:  Where a society has disadvantaged groups it may be necessary for there to be put in place special measures, eg scholarships, or positive discrimination in employment to give them better access to economic advancement and to enable them to take advantage of the opportunities that exist.  Responsibilities:  It is the essence of social justice that one should not only benefit from living in a society, but one should contribute to it.  All groups should be acting out of a sense of reciprocal transactions with other groups and with the country.  It would be unjust for one group to be given handouts over a long period of time without making any significant contribution to the country.  All citizens should be engaged in a situation of mutual responsibilities for the rights they enjoy. Rights:  There are basic rights that all people share.  If one group is denied the ability to exercise those rights that would be a human rights violation.              Concepts of social justice:  There are different concepts about why there should be fairness or equity between different groups in society.  These are usually expressed as 'natural rights', 'welfare', and 'mutual advantage'.             (1) Natural rights:  All humans are entitled to enjoy the basic human rights enjoyed by others.  Natural law philosophers argue that there is a supernatural authority for this claim in that these are “God-given rights”.  Moral theorists base the claim on the moral position that natural or human rights result from valuing human life and the dignity of people.             In the 1982 Constitution of Anguilla the fundamental rights of all persons living in Anguilla are set out.  These include, the right to life, the right to personal liberty, freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom of movement, freedom from torture and inhuman treatment, protection from deprivation of property, protection from arbitrary search or entry, protection of law, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, and protection from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, colour, or gender.             Social justice theoreticians divide our natural rights into categories.  These include: (a) Civil and political rights.  Most of our fundamental rights under the Constitution of Anguilla are such rights. (b) Economic and social rights.  These include such matters as the right to education and health care, to fair wages, to join trade unions, to safe conditions in the workplace, and to an adequate standard of living, the last being sometimes referred to as 'welfare rights'.  (c) Ethnic rights.  This refers to the rights of minorities and any religious, linguistic, political or cultural group, to the same treatment as other groups in the society.  Such rights protect ethnic groups from murder, torture and genocide, as well as from unfair practices in employment and education. ...
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