The Agenda for Social Work and Social Development compels the social work profession to work towards the adoption for the legal enforcement of Human Rights. IFSW is joining a campaign that aims to make a reality of International Human Rights Treaties and Conventions which were launched by the United Nations following World War II.
One of the difficulties in enforcing the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights is that it is not legally binding on the countries that have signed the declaration. Consequently the world’s majority does not live in the context of human rights protection. To address this problem in 2008, on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a Protocol for the enforcement on UN member states (governments) to legally bind themselves to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Very few countries have signed the Optional protocol, to check if your countries has signed look here.
IFSW is joining others in encouraging its members to enter into dialog with their governments to ratify the Optional Protocol. Our participation in the initial campaign will run from June to the 18th September 2013. We would like members to send us information about the responses from their governments. The results will be then discussed at the IFSW Voices for Development Conference in South Africa, 25th to 27th of September 2013 and posted on our website.
There are two issues we would like member associations to engage in discussion with their governments:
1. To engage with your government and ask them to ratify the protocol. Please send the outcome of this discussion to the IFSW Human Rights Commission by the 18th of September.
2. If there is reluctance from your government to sign the protocol, can you list what these are, so that we can compile the information globally and engage with United Nations in September at the IFSW Voices for Development Conference.
This work over the next three months fits with some of the concerns we are working on about how our definition of social work meets all communities globally, how our ethical statement works in all cultures and how the Human Rights Treaties and Conventions can be implemented.
The review of information will be collated in September which will inform how to build up a global campaign for the next steps.
Please send all responses to IFSW Human Rights Commission (r.stark[at]basw.co.uk) by 18 September 2013
Please find here a sample letter for IFSW members to send to their governments on this issue.
Please find here a suggested format for recording your governments’ responses that you can send back to the IFSW Human Rights Commission.
Please find here more information about the Optional Protocol and the Campaign on ratifying the Optional Protocol.
IFSW Human Rights Commissioner