23/02/2018 |

World day of social justice: the need to redirect military spending

World day of social justice! Workers on the move: the quest for social justice

“Without justice there can be no peace.”- Martin Luther King Jr.

Since the 26 November 2007, every 20 February we are celebrating the world Day of social justice. It was decided by the UN’s General Assembly who recognized that social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among nations. Peace and security are therefore needed to attained social development and social justice such as the respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

This year theme is “Workers on the move: the quest for social justice” in a time where Unemployment and increasing poverty have prompted many workers in developing countries to seek work elsewhere.

However, the social justice is far to be achieved. The UN’s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights has recently visited the United States of America and has published and alarming statement on the increased of inequality and the worsening of living conditions. It was shown that, if US is one of the world’s richest country, 40 million people continue to live in poverty. Moreover, the Government has recently decided to cut in welfare provisions, while it has increased military spending.

Meanwhile, the EU Commission is planning to fund the military industry with millions of public money and has excluded this States’ money from the 3% threshold that Member States have to respect. Which give us the opportunity to reflect on how and where public money is spend. Does USA really need to increase its military spending? How can one justify to privilege military over social needs? Is it fair to cut social spending to fund military ones? Shouldn’t we instead reallocate military spending to fund human and environmental needs? As Stephen Miles has said:

“When our nation can’t manage to turn the lights on for the people of Puerto Rico, when we can’t help those suffering from opioid addiction get treatment, and when we can’t ensure education and healthcare to all of our citizens, how is it possible we can justify spending billions more on weapons that don’t work to fight enemies that don’t exist?”

This cut in social spending is particularly sever as the world’s leaders have adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development where they engage themselves to mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty. But to do so we must have the means at our disposal to achieve. As a matter of fact, it is hard to see how to achieve those goals without funding them. Precisely, the SIPRI has shown that a cut in military spending would unable States to mobilize the funds needed to put an end to poverty and hunger by 2030. In fact, it was shown that eliminating poverty and hunger (SDGs 1 & 2) would require an estimated additional $265 billion per year, which represent 9.5 to 13 % of 2015 worldwide military spending. This amount needed to put an end to poverty and hunger can thus be found in the huge amount of worldwide military expenditure.

We won’t achieve the SDG’s without funding them, hopefully there is a solution to do so: reallocate military spending into social and environmental needs. Let’s stand for social justice and asked our governments to cut Milex to put an end to poverty and hunger.
Discover the UN’s Special Rapporteur Statement on United States of America here.