World Day of Social Justice: Why We Care

Whenever I’m asked about my passions, social justice and human rights come to my mind like how my dog eats food i.e. no time is required. Now seriously, they are not empty words or big words; they are what every human being must be entitled to. And yet, we all know that the reality is far from that.  So in 2007, the UN proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice.

What does “social justice” actually mean?

Google the definition of social justice and you will find the following words:

fairness, equality, balance, opportunities, distribution of wealth, peaceful, coexistence, human rights… 

My own definition of social justice is the minimum amount of fairness that everyone must experience so that the society can function peacefully. Without it, there will be conflicts; there will be wars; there will be extreme poverty; there will be extreme unhappiness and sufferings.

To those who have it, we know what it is when it is taken away from us.

To those who never had it, they will eventually start to ask questions and to seek change.

History always repeats itself. There’s nothing more frustrating than observing that.

Why should we (i.e. those who live in countries with relatively good social justice and human rights records) care? 

I ask, why shouldn’t we care? Why wouldn’t we care?

Why shouldn’t/wouldn’t we care about the Syrian refugees whose lives were brutally disrupted by war?

Why shouldn’t/wouldn’t we care about the girls who aren’t allowed to study?

Why shouldn’t/wouldn’t we care about the people who suffered inhuman tortures ?

Why shouldn’t/wouldn’t we care about another human being? And another? And another?

I still know too little about world issues. But I care, so I learn a little bit each day. So do many others. We simply need to outnumber those who don’t care, or convince them to care.

I believe we are born with a wonderful ability to love, and to care for others. 

Why I am joining Amnesty

I first came across Amnesty Australia at a meetup film gathering organised by an area coordinator from Amnesty. After a few films, I was really impressed with the quality of the documentaries, and found myself wanting to learn more about human rights and how I could contribute.

I grew up in China, a country known for its human rights issues. I remember how visiting Tibet really changed my mind about whether Tibet should be independent. I remember learning about the Tiananmen Square Incident in Australia because it was never taught to me in China. It is hard to overcome years of prejudice as a result of teaching that was forced upon me. Sometimes I still find myself not wanting to believe certain things.

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Amnesty International is a non-political and non-religious human rights organisation. It helps to raise awareness of human rights issues, organises petitions, sends experts to help victims, monitors media etc. It has a record of achievements since the 1960s.

We are lucky that we live in Australia, because Australia has pretty good human rights record. But we can do better. We can treat refugees with more compassion. We can stop violence against women. We can reduce the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. We can also protest against overseas human rights issues. Our very own Peter Greste is still behind bars in Egypt and we should be angry about that.

I encourage you to read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To me, it’s like bible.

When I think about it, I have been a human rights activist for two years now, because I founded Oz Fair Trade to help people who are living in extreme poverty to live a dignified life through fair trade. To me, dignity is the most important part of human rights. The world trade system is far from perfect, and many people are forced to work long hours for little pay. That’s not right. Fair trade aims to change that.

You can learn more about fair trade here.

You can click here to join Amnesty Australia online and/or sign one of their petitions. Remember, every voice counts.