Social Justice is a fundamental principle to tackle child and family poverty

Social Justice is a fundamental principle to tackle child and family poverty

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Caritas EuropeStatement on the occasion of the World Day of Social Justice – 20 February 2014

Social Justice is a fundamental principle to tackle child and family poverty 

On the World Day of Social Justice, Κοινωνία Caritas CYPRUS together with Caritas Europa calls on policy and decision-makers of CYPRUS to acknowledge social justice as a fundamental principle in tackling family poverty and social exclusion.

Most recent statistics show that in 2012, 124.5 million people in the EU-28 were at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

In Cyprus those recorded as living in poverty or social exclusion in 2012 numbered as high as 234,000 people (Crisis Monitoring Report 2013).  Although the European Commission and Member States of the European Union including Cyprus have committed themselves to take serious steps to significantly reduce these figures the reality is that there are more and more people experiencing poverty and social exclusion in our country.

The Treaty on European Union clearly states that the European Union shall promote social justice.  This is a task to be fulfilled by Cyprus too and Caritas Cyprus, whose mission includes promotion of social justice, urges policy and decision-makers to give a greater importance to true social justice in today’s profoundly changed environment. Social justice concerns the social, political and economic aspects and, above all, the structural dimension of problems and their respective solutions (Para 201 of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church).

This is to say that the government must develop policies and laws which respect the interdependentness and interrelatedness of economic and social development in a sustainable way when working on eradication of poverty and social exclusion. True social justice requires strong commitment to both of these aspects because without economic growth there are no adequate resources for social development and without investing in social protection system, social inclusion and social services there is no long-term and stable economic development.

” I am Marios, 12 years old. My parents cannot provide for my school snack so  the school has to provide for me”.

“I am Ali 11 years old. My family came from Syria one year ago. We have used all our savings for accommodation and food. We have not received any welfare benefits from Cyprus Government and my father cannot find a job. We receive food and clothing from charities and live in fear of being evicted.”

When it comes to economic and social development policy and decision-makers of the government and local governments are encouraged to keep in mind that the dignity of each person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all policies of our society.

Inspired by the voices of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion Κοινωνία Caritas Cyprus  calls on policy and decision-makers at local, regional, national levels to tackle child and family poverty and social exclusion as a matter of high priority and not to hesitate giving real practical effect to the fundamental principle of social justice. The coming EP elections shall also cover this topic since the results will be of crucial importance for the future of a social Europe.