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Social Justice & Human Rights Dr. Matthew Robinson Associate Professor Criminal Justice Appalachian State University “Social Justice” defined “… promoting a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity …

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Social Justice &Human Rights

Dr. Matthew Robinson

Associate Professor

Criminal Justice

Appalachian State University


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“Social Justice” defined

  • “… promoting a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity …

  • “all people share a common humanity and therefore have a right to equitable treatment, support for their human rights, and a fair allocation of community resources …

  • “… people must not be discriminated against, nor their welfare and well-being constrained or prejudiced on the basis of gender, sexuality, religion, political affiliations, age, race, belief, disability, location, social class, socioeconomic circumstances, or other characteristic of background or group membership …

  • -- Toowoomba Catholic Education


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“Human rights” defined

  • “… born free and equal in dignity and rights …

  • … without distinction … to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status …

  • Includes … “right to life, liberty and security of person” … freedom from “slavery or servitude … torture or … cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment … right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law … equal protection of the law … protection against any discrimination … arbitrary arrest, detention or exile … full equality to a fair and public hearing …”


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“Human rights” defined

  • “… right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence” … freedom from “arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence” … “freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state … right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country … right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution … right to a nationality … right to marry and to found a family … right to own property alone as well as in association with others … right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion … freedom of opinion and expression … freedom of peaceful assembly and association …”


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“Human rights” defined

  • “… right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives … right of equal access to public service in his country … right to social security and is entitled to realization … of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality … right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment … right to equal pay for equal work … right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests … right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay …”


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“Human rights” defined

  • “ … right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services … right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control … right to education … Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children … right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits … right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author …”

  • -- Universal Declaration of Human Rights


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Goals …

  • Create and maintain a mechanism on campus and in the community to achieve social justice and defend human rights (Social Justice & Human Rights Center)

  • Bring awareness to and engage in meaningful work on social justice and human rights issues through teaching, research, and service.


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Functions …

  • Create and house a cross-disciplinary library or reading room on social justice & human rights (SJHR);

  • Organize cross-disciplinary SJHR classes and workshops on and off campus;

  • Encourage scholarship in SJHR from cross-disciplinary perspectives;

  • Conduct and publish meaningful research in SJHR using cross-disciplinary perspectives;

  • Encourage and participate in grant-writing related to SJHR;


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Functions …

  • Write regular columns and editorials in local and regional papers on SJHR issues;

  • Reach out to media on SCJR issues;

  • Attract nationally & regionally recognized experts on SJHR issues from various disciplines and areas of expertise to deliver Center-sponsored key note speeches;

  • Attract nationally & regionally recognized experts on SJHR issues to present workshops;

  • Work with local and regional organizations on a volunteer basis to address SJHR issues.


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Working Areas …

  • Will depend on interest and abilities of faculty, staff, and students …

  • Diversity, poverty & classism, race & racism, gender & sexism, discrimination;

  • Peace & justice, anti-war/collaborative & cooperative conflict resolution;

  • Protection of civil liberties, academic freedom, crime prevention, protection of free elections;

  • Environmental protection and justice, living wages, workplace safety … ETC…



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