World Day of Social Justice

World Day of Social Justice

World Day of Justice is held annually on February 20th. It was approved as a world-recognized holiday by the United Nations in 2007, and it officially went into effect in February 2009. The purpose is not only to recognize social justice across all countries, but participants are welcome to collaborate with the U.N.’s World Summit for Social Development to help achieve related goals.

While it is one of the newest holidays in recent history, this day recognizes worldwide issues that people have struggled with for centuries. Basic human rights are withheld in certain regions due to differences in economic statuses, gender, ethnicity, culture, age, race, disability and religion. Withholding basic rights is not only inhumane, but such division is impossible in terms of achieving peace among all nations. World Day of Justice aims to uphold the U.N.’s mission of equal human rights while helping nations set goals to achieve peace and better living conditions for all.


On November 26, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed February 20th as World Day of Justice. This holiday has been years in the making, and it originally stems from the development of the Copenhagen Declaration and Program of Action, which was drafted at 1995’s World Summit for Social Development. In 2005, the United Nations looked at the Declaration and unanimously decided to put forth concrete efforts to promote worldwide social justice. Two years later, a vote helped form World Day of Social Justice.


Peace has been a long-sought after idea that has yet to be fulfilled. While many western nations have promoted peace through democracy, there is a great deal of social injustice throughout all nations. The United Nations established World Day of Social Justice as a way to highlight such injustices to increase awareness of divisions between people. Examples include lack of access to healthcare, water, food and good employment on the basis of differences in backgrounds.

Ultimately, division is what sparks battles and wars. The oppressed stand up for their rights, while their governments may attempt to fight back against them. Sadly, many lives are lost over fights for justice, and some battles are not won on behalf of the oppressed. Peace cannot be achieved unless everyone has equal rights to basic resources—World Day of Social Justice seeks to raise awareness to help promote equality for all.


While World Day of Social Justice is a holiday, it is more of a day for observance and call to action. People across the world recognize the goals this holiday promotes, including leaders within governments. At the same time, it is not a public holiday, so all government entities remain open during this day.

World Day of Social Justice is celebrated in a number of ways. Schools and universities are particularly active in the celebrations, as the youth tend to be more open and determined to create solutions for social equality than older generations. With that being said, this holiday is not exclusive to the youth, as this would directly contradict the goals set fort for World Day of Social Justice. It is up to citizens of all ages to be thoughtful of their actions and reflect as to whether their societies promote the welfare of all.

By: Kristeen Moore