Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) joins the world in commemorating World Day of Social Justice and implores government to accelerate efforts to eliminate social injustice and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals, which are a universal agenda.
World Day of Social Justice, which was declared on 26 November 2007 by the United Nations General Assembly is annually commemorated on 20 February to encourage people to look at how social justice affects poverty eradication.
Commemoration of the day also recognises the need to promote social justice, which includes efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, gender inequality, exclusion, unemployment, lack of social protections and human rights excesses.
Commemoration of World Day of Social Justice impels us all to reflect on the meaning of social justice.
World Day of Social Justice, which is commemorated under the theme “A call for social justice in the digital economy” is being marked at a time when the world is struggling with inclusivity, respect for differences, lack of productive dialogue, respect for differences and at a time of the coronavirus pandemic, which has wreaked havoc across the world and yet social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous co-existence within and among nations.
At a time when the global world is battling to contain Coronavirus (COVID-19), the digital economy is transforming the world of work through proliferation of digital platforms which have penetrated a number of sectors of the economy and societies.
The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to remote working arrangements and allowed for the continuation of many business activities further reinforcing the growth and impact of the digital economy.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the growing digital divide within our society especially in terms of access to internet, availability, affordability and thereby deepening existing inequalities and this calls us to continuously adapt to digital transformations.
ZLHR salutes workers who are at the forefront working to combat the spread of COVID19, reduce poverty, marginalisation and to increase democratic participation.
In Zimbabwe, the outbreak of COVID19 has exposed flaws in social protections and the effects of this unprecedented pandemic on health, livelihoods, employment, income generation, gender, equality and democracy are all the more catastrophic because of pre-existing gaps in our social safety nets.
The absence of social safety nets to cushion people against the ravages of an under-performing economy and the fear that their aspirations will remain unfulfilled is a powerful force driving people’s anxieties and feeding uncertainty and therefore widening the social injustice gap.
As an organisation which puts the pursuit of social justice for all at the core of its interventions to promote development and human dignity, ZLHR believes that promoting human rights, eradicating artificial social barriers and standing up for the rights of the minority, the less privileged people, the disabled, children and the elderly will enhance the drive to realise social justice.
ZLHR calls upon government;
- to establish and strengthen social security and social protection schemes;
- to reflect and to implement measures and actions to overcome the digital divide;
- to implement decent work opportunities and protect labour and human rights in the modern era of digital technologies.
Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights