Friday, February 20, 2009

World Day of Social Justice: The Centrality of Reproductive Health and Rights

February 20, 2009 is the first observation of the World Day of Social Justice (UN). The daylong celebration of social justice encourages all UN member states to organize activities on the national level to support the objectives of the 1995 World Summit for Social Development.

As recognized by the World Summit, “social development aims at social justice, solidarity, harmony and equality within and among countries and social justice, equality and equity constitute the fundamental values of all societies.” To achieve “a society for all” governments made a commitment to the creation of a framework for action to promote social justice at national, regional and international levels. Governments also pledged to promote the equitable distribution of income and greater access to resources through equity and equality and opportunity for all. The governments recognized as well that economic growth should promote equity and social justice and that “a society for all” must be based on social justice and respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Reproductive health and rights are essential components of social justice and development. At the ICPD+5 Forum in 1999, Former WHO Director-General Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland argued that, "Failure to address people's reproductive health needs is a matter of human rights and social justice. People have a right to make free and informed decisions about their reproductive lives. They have a right to information and care that will enable them to protect their health and that of their loved ones. They have a right to benefit from scientific progress in health care. . . . Defining reproductive ill-health as not only a health issue but as a matter of social justice provides a legal and political basis for governments to act.”

For more information:
Statement by Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General. ICPD+5 Forum, The Hague, Netherlands, 8–12 February 1999. Geneva, World Health Organization (Document WHO/CHS/RHR/99.8)

UN Reports on the World Day of Social Justice:
Social Justice in an Open World: The Role of the United Nations (2006)

Launch of the World Day of Social Justice New York, 10 February 2009

GA Resolution A/RES/62/10, 19 November 2007 in English and French

UN News Centre, 26 November 2007

GA Draft Resolution A/63/L.29/Rev.1,15 December 2008 in English and French

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