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The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Peace, Justice, and Solid Institutions (English Translation)

We Can’t Leave Anyone Behind

This is a very difficult topic to tackle, how do we leave others behind?

The United Nations has an idea of ​​how government institutions and other groups have left millions of people forgotten, endangered, and in chronic poverty.

Conflicts, such as wars that have caused more than 70 million people to desperately flee their homes; or the 28.5 million children in conflict-affected areas who do not attend school are examples of how we have lagged behind, in complacency.

Insecurity, such as the murders of human rights defenders, environmental defenders, journalists, and trade unionists in 47 countries, has kept us all behind, resigned in fear.

Weak institutions, such as those that do not provide every four children in the world under the age of five a legal identity, keep us behind, in inequality, because those children do not have access to justice and social services rights. 

Limited access to justice, reflected in the judiciary institutions and the police most affected by corruption in the world; or the prisoners who are detained without sentences that constitute 31 percent of all prisoners in the world are other examples of how we have been left behind.

The United Nations does not want to rest until this scenario changes. It has set the objective to promote just, peaceful, and inclusive societies. This is the penultimate goal out of the 17 it has set out to achieve by 2030.

It is important to say that when we talk about problems at the societal and global level, they seem insurmountable, in part because we are talking about millions of people, most of whom we have never seen. We refer to them in terms of statistics that world agencies, governments, and community entities draw by calculating and measuring the level of poverty and danger in which they live.

How can we connect with their stories, with their pain, frustration, and their hopes?

Without their stories, it is difficult to enhance our sense of compassion, action and social responsibility. But we all have internal banks, with accounts full of memories from our own experiences and things we have seen and heard to help us create a bridge and connect with these people and their lives. I propose that we expand our view and consider thinking that these figures are referring to our parents or to people very close to us. 

With that outlook, we could inform ourselves about the problems we see in the world and not be discouraged. On the contrary, perhaps we could find necessary solutions for our lives or for our own communities. Much scientific research concludes that if we care about the welfare of others and practice kindness and generosity, we will naturally feel happy. So I invite you to investigate these serious topics with an attitude of wanting to send a kind thought to all the people who are suffering; that do not have peace or justice in their regions.

If you are interested in knowing how the UN is working to significantly reduce all forms of violence and corresponding death rates worldwide; to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children; or to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and guarantee equal access to justice for all, and other similar issues, I urge you to search the Internet for these organizations:

  • UN Organization for Education, Science and Culture
  • Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • UN Department of Political Affairs
  • UN Development Program
  • UN Office on Drugs and Crime
  • UNICEF #EndViolence
  • UN Peacekeeping
  • Counter-Terrorism Committee
  • It is Time to End Violence Against Children
  • UN Action For Cooperation Against Trafficking in Persons
  • Special Representative on Violence against Children
  • UN Mine Action Service

Informed young people are the ones who most cry for change and cry it out with frustration and en masse. I think that because they want a better world, they don’t resign themselves to leaving a single person behind. It behooves us to lend them a hand. Whatever we do, it is time we give a hand to global, local, and personal change and, in that way, not leave behind anyone.

Angelica Medaglia, translator of classic Tibetan Buddhism texts into Spanish and English and a freelance writer, is born in Colombia and lives in Woodstock.