The number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million in 2018, the highest level recorded by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in almost 70 years. Violence against children affects more than 1 billion children around the world and costs societies up to US$ 7 trillion a year.
50 per cent of the world’s children experience violence every year. Every 7 minutes, somewhere in the world, a child is killed by violence. Child online sexual abuse reports to NCMEC has grown from 1 million in 2014 to 45 million in 2018. 246 million children worldwide affected by school-related violence each year. 1 in 3 students has been bullied by their peers at school in the last month, and at least 1 in 10 children have experienced cyberbullying.
1 in 10 children is sexually abused before the age of 18. 9 in 10 children live in countries where corporal punishment is not fully prohibited, leaving 732 million children without legal protection. 1 in 3 internet users worldwide is a child and 800 million of them use social media. Any child can become a victim of online violence.
How can a country develop—how can people eat and teach and learn and work and raise families—without peace? And how can a country have peace without justice, without human rights, without government based on the rule of law? Some parts of the world enjoy relative peace and justice, and may come to take it for granted. Other parts seem to be plagued by armed conflict, crime, torture and exploitation, all of which hinders their development. The goal of peace and justice is one for all countries to strive towards.
Goal 16 aims to end all the hard-to-process, upsetting stories that confront us pretty much anytime we read the news. In other words, it aims to promote peace and justice.
We know that conflict severely limits a country’s economic and social development, but, on the reverse side, limited social/economic development also leads to conflict. When you break down the overarching peace and justice goal into its individual bullet points—like ending the illegal arms trade or creating more transparency in state institutions—it starts to become a little more digestible. Plus, there is a lot of international experience to draw from.
Peace and justice are goals that begin on an individual level and grow outward.
They start with everyday people treating one another with respect and lending a helping hand when needed.
So, to promote peace and justice, learn more about the world, have cross-cultural discussions, actually treat everyone you meet with respect and call on world leaders to send robust aid to countries in difficult situations.
The evidence is all around us. Most governments care about what is happening to their people, and most people care about each other.
Are you ready to work towards achieving Peace and Justice in the world? How do you want to start?
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