New York, US - The UN on Thursday marked the World Day of Social Justice with a call on the international community to take practical steps to break down the barriers of inequality by doing more to empower individuals through decent work, provide adequate social protection and ensure that the voices of the poor are heard.
PANA in New York, reports that the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a message, said: 'The gap between the poorest and the wealthiest around the world is wide and growing.
'This situation is not only between countries but within them, including many of the most prosperous. So the World Day of Social Justice is observed to highlight the power of global solidarity to advance opportunity for all,' Ban noted.
He stated: 'we must serve the needs and harness the capacities of all members of our global family, especially women, the young, older persons and persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and the poor and marginalized among us.'
He also said that 'as inequalities widen, the social fabric of societies is both stretched and strained. This often leads to a downward spiral of economic and social uncertainty and even unrest'.
The secretary-general also added that violent conflicts in many parts of the world are often rooted in deep inequality, discrimination and widespread poverty.
'Yet there is nothing inevitable about inequality. Our shared goal should aim at taking practical steps to remove this formidable barrier to development and human dignity,' Ban stressed.
Also, UN General Assembly President, Mr. John Ashe, said that the principles of equity and social justice are essential to international relations in the 21st century.
He noted that major strides had been made in that regard since 1995, including reducing by half the number of people living in extreme poverty and making major improvements in the areas of health and gender equality, including steady progress towards equal access of girls and boys to primary education.
'Yet, while those accomplishments have been noteworthy, we have more work to do if we want to reach the goals we set for ourselves,' Mr. Ashe said.
He urged the international community to redouble collective efforts to complete the unfinished business of the MDGs.
'However, our vision cannot stop there. We must look forward to shaping a global sustainable development agenda that will take us beyond 2015,' he said, stressing that the new agenda, with the eradication of extreme poverty as its centre, must be inclusive of all actors, governmental and non-governmental alike.
Mr. Ashe also said that the contributions of stakeholders from the private sector as well as the academic and scientific communities were also essential.
'We must serve the needs and harness the capacities of all members of our global family, especially women, the young, older persons and persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and the poor and marginalized among us,' he stated.
The Assembly president further expressed confidence that the world could create a new development framework that will 'eliminate the disparities that thus far have prevented us from realizing our shared aspirations'.
The UN General Assembly proclaimed 20 February as the World Day in 2007, inviting member states to devote the day to promoting national activities in accordance with the objectives and goals of the 1995 World Summit for Social Development.
Leaders at the summit had pledged to make poverty eradication, full employment and the fostering of social integration to foster global development.