‘Do you know what I want? I want justice-oceans of it. I want fairness- rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.’ Amos 5 v 21-24 (MSG)
Injustice is defined as a lack of fairness or justice. The sad reality is, that we live in an unjust world. All we need to do is watch the news and you will bear witness to a plethora of injustices. On a global scale, the Ukraine War and the heinous war crimes that are currently being reported are just one example of injustice.
At CARE NI we are advocates for justice; whether its lobbying for better laws to protect people against commercial sexual exploitation or campaigning against human trafficking and modern slavery. We stand by our call as Christians to bring freedom and restoration to those who are ill-treated or oppressed.
Northern Ireland has a rich history of leading the way in the advancement of human trafficking laws. The 2015 Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) was ground-breaking legislation and represented the first anti-trafficking laws in NI, with CARE acting as the principle advisor to Lord Morrow who took the Bill through the Assembly. CARE has continued to lobby the NI Assembly and advocate for meaningful change to Human Trafficking laws, recently with the Justice (Sexual Offences and Trafficking Victims) Bill. CARE NI gave oral evidence to the Justice Committee and called for the introduction of new offence for those suspected of trafficking and 12 months statutory support for confirmed victims of human trafficking. NI is once again leading the way in the provision of support for victims to enable them to rebuild their lives.
But we have not acted alone. Any ground that has been taken and any legislative advancements that have been made, have only happened due to the willingness and co-operation of MLAs who share our heart for justice and our call to work towards making a more just society.
As you consider where to put your vote, I would urge you to look at their voting records and party’s stance on issues of justice. There is plenty of work to be done, we have not finished the race and we need MLAs that will continue to stand with us in the next mandate, and continue to be a voice for the voiceless. This is your chance to use your vote to take a stand for victims of injustice by ensuring that MLAs who share our voice for justice, take their seat in the Chamber and speak out when necessary or even uncomfortable.
Famous abolitionist and cultural reformer William Wilberforce once said, ‘I would suggest that faith is everyone’s business. The advance or decline of faith is so intimately connected to the welfare of a society that it should be of particular interest to a politician.’ Now more than ever we need to elect politicians that who care about the welfare of our society and are willing to take a stand for some of the most vulnerable within it. //Rebecca Stevenson (CARE NI Policy Officer)