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Foundations of Future Justice

Looking at the state of our world today, achieving Future Justice perhaps seems idealistic, or beyond our abilities. But history is filled with many examples of fundamental change. Slavery used to be an accepted part of our world economy. A combination of resistance, laws and economic factors helped to make it the abhorrent crime that it is today.

And we are not starting from nowhere. The values we need to help us improve our thoughts and actions are found in many international agreements. When recognizing the importance of fundamental needs, freedoms, rights and aspirations for fulfilled life on our Earth, the world community shows a lot of common and inspiring ground. Here are some examples:

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

"…recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, …
Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance…"

Preamble, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

UNESCO Constitution

"…since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed;…
the wide diffusion of culture, and the education of humanity for justice and liberty and peace are indispensable to the dignity of man and constitute a sacred duty which all the nations must fulfil in a spirit of mutual assistance and concern"

Preamble, UNESCO Constitution, 1945

The Earth Charter

"We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations….

The emergence of a global civil society is creating new opportunities to build a democratic and humane world. Our environmental, economic, political, social, and spiritual challenges are interconnected, and together we can forge inclusive solutions….

To realize these aspirations, we must decide to live with a sense of universal responsibility, identifying ourselves with the whole Earth community as well as our local communities. We are at once citizens of different nations and of one world in which the local and global are linked. Everyone shares responsibility for the present and future well-being of the human family and the larger living world. The spirit of human solidarity and kinship with all life is strengthened when we live with reverence for the mystery of being, gratitude for the gift of life, and humility regarding the human place in nature."

Preamble, The Earth Charter, 2000

Convention on the Rights of the Child

"…the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding…
the child should be fully prepared to live an individual life in society, and brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity…"

Preamble, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989

UN Millennium Declaration

"We recognize that, in addition to our separate responsibilities to our individual societies, we have a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level. As leaders we have a duty therefore to all the world’s people, especially the most vulnerable and, in particular, the children of the world, to whom the future belongs."

United Nations Millennium Declaration, 2000

And these international instruments are recognized nationally, for example in countless constitutions. But too often the agreed values and goals are over-ridden in practice. They are intentionally ignored by those whose power they might affect, or said to be unaffordable from an economic point of view.

This view is very comfortable for those who are benefiting most under the rules in place. It is also a direct threat to Future Justice.

We cannot continue to ignore ecological laws of our planet or fundamental rights and freedoms of all citizens if we want to secure life and peace now and in the future. We can stand up for our common needs. And we can update economics so it respects people and the planet.

Changing the way we think and act towards Future Justice includes engaging for the official recognition of best available knowledge. The societal definition and acknowledgement of taboos often precedes changes in our laws and policies.

"I want to start by quickly reminding ourselves that the world is not short of international instruments that are existing, that were created to protect us, to give people’s lives a meaningful basis. The problem is, the big problem is, that the international community so easily forgets to apply these instruments when it counts; or to ignore these deliberately."

WFC Councillor Count Hans-Christof von Sponeck


» Acknowledgements