In our work on social justice and public services, we prioritize four essential principles of Social Justice:
Equity – which is about equal opportunities, including the utilization of affirmative actions to right historical wrongs and empower vulnerable, excluded and marginalized groups [women, youths, people with disabilities etc];
Access – which is about ensuring that policies, laws, institutional frameworks, and investment are directed in such a manner as to ensure that every member of society have similar levels of unhindered access to basic social services;
Participation – which is about enabling the ability and capacity of all segments of society to participate, and be actively involved with the processes around them towards enjoying social services in their communities, through working to remove all obstacles to participation and enabling platforms for inclusive participation of citizens and residents;
Rights – which is about defending all aspects of human rights and promoting the protection of the Rights of citizens in the context of the universality and indivisibility of rights [civil and political, social and cultural, economic and environmental]
Social Justice is about equality before the law; equality within the context of inalienable human rights. One of the biggest threats to social justice – and one of the clearest manifestations of social injustice – is the phenomena of poverty and inequality. The widening gaps between the rich and the poor, the concentration of society’s wealth in a few hands and the attendant proliferation of poverty and increase in the percentage of the poor are signs that societies are becoming more and more unequal and this portends danger for the security ad sustainability of such societies.
Ultimately, unless governments increase and appropriately target public investment in basic social services in education, health, housing, sanitation, potable water and other basic infrastructures, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to bridge and eradicate the gap in access to these services. This is where public services and appropriate public investment required to deliver effective, efficient, accessible, affordable and quality public services become extremely significant in ensuring and enabling social justice.
Unfortunately, these are sectors that big multinational corporations are targeting to appropriate from democratic public control and convert same to private profit making entities