Solidarity is the recognition and awareness of a shared responsibility regarding situations of injustice that are the consequence of the way we relate as human beings, and seeking to reverse them by means of implementing human rights.
Solidarity is a mandate that requires the political community to act in favour of individuals or groups in a weak or disadvantaged situation, to prevent, by means of collective intervention, unjustified damage from occurring or existing damage from being perpetuated.
Solidarity is based on the recognition of the common dignity of everyone, meaning that any violation of that dignity affects the collective. It implies a strong feeling of empathy as the result of the encounter with the being who is treated as a thing instead of as a person. The assumption of responsibility regarding that situation requires a rigorous analysis of the causes of the damage and culminates with the action repairing the dignity of people and the work to transform the causes.
Solidarity taken as shared responsibility regarding the injustice is noted for:
Affecting the political community overall and not just individuals and some specialised groups: all of us are responsible (or not) for the destiny of those people who are harmed by our political actions and decisions, both locally and globally.
Generating a collective right to the institutionalisation of a social democracy that offers institutional channels to fight against structural injustice.
Recognising the principle of subsidiarity to coordinate the action of people, organisations and public institutions while safeguarding the freedom and responsibility of citizens.
The implications for the behaviours of the three stakeholders (individuals, civil society organisations and public institutions) promoting the “solidarity” value are of different nature and extent.
An engaged society is expected to show feelings of empathy and closeness to those suffering injustices. Furthermore, it is deemed able to analyse the unjust situation, by identifying the stakeholders involved, their levels of responsibility by action or omission, and standing shoulder to shoulder alongside the victim. Finally, a level of transformative involvement is required according to its own availabilities without which there would be an excuse for the watering down of personal responsibility.
They are expected to design the deploying of their activity by avoiding multiplying or supporting unfair social relations. They are asked to promote human rights both within and outside the organisation. They are deemed able to channel and implement the actions to correct the detected injustice by means of collective and individual engaged action, along with being aware that their work and performance is crucial for weaving a network of engaged social relations. True solidarity requires a universal and not just a local perspective.
The is the collective and most clearly political level of solidarity taken to be shared responsibility. The duty of these institutions, above all, pertains to designing public policies and preparing the appropriate legislation to minimise the structural injustice both at local and other levels, according to their jurisdictions.
It is of particular interest here to recall that “everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realised” (Article 28 Universal Declaration of Human Rights), along with the consideration of the relationship of the duty of solidarity with the principle of subsidiarity.