Social justice is a fundamental aspect of the common good. It broadly consists of two elements: justice and charity. The goal of the social justice is to ensure equality of dignity, especially of those who, through no fault of their own, are disadvantaged and destitute. It is also to ensure that everyone has the basic right to a dignified life, enjoys equality of citizenship, and that no one lacks the basic necessities of life.
The 1997 Constitution provides the legal justification and framework for the implementation of Affirmative Action Programmes designed to achieve for all groups or categories of persons who are disadvantaged effective equality of access to: (a) education and training; (b) land and housing; and (c) participation in commerce and in all levels and branches of service of the State. Consequently, the Social Justice Act of 2001 provides the legal basis for the AAP. In view of the new constitution, there is a need to retain as much of the 1997 Constitution Social Justice clauses; however, changes might be made to some aspects like the AAP. Since the implementation of this legislation in 2001, Government has allocated almost $300 million for the various disadvantaged groups targeted in the 29 affirmative action programmes under the Social Justice Act.
The broad issue for Fiji as articulated in the RDSSED under Social Justice states that “ People with disabilities enjoy greater access to an inclusive, barrier free and rights based society” which provides the basis for the Poverty Eradication Unit in conducting timely monitoring and assessment of the following strategies:
It is envisaged that through this monitoring and assessment, partnership collaboration with stakeholders would be strengthen to show governments commitments in ensuring equalization of opportunities and full participation of persons with disabilities in their own development, creating a barrier free environment.