World Social Work Day at the UN Geneva
World Social Work Day was celebrated at the United Nations in the Geneva Headquarters on the 19th of March. The event was co-hosted by the International Federation of Social Workers, Avenir Social and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The event highlighted the role of social workers as human rights defenders. Examples from practice included how social workers defended and promoted human rights in access to education, communities empowerment and within traditional cultural practices. The speakers also focused on how law reform had been successfully proposed by social workers that protected children, improved children’s nutrition and significantly reduced poverty.
Speakers included Joachim Mumba, IFSW African Regional Vice President, Annina Grob, Co-CEO of Avenir Social, Rory Truell, Secretary-General of IFSW, Rio Hada, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Isha Dyfan, Programme Director for International Advocacy at Amnesty. Representatives the Global Mental Health network of people that use services and the indigenous Sami nation attended the event alongside UN officials and social workers from many countries.
Rio Hada from the OHCHR highlighted during his speech three lines of collaborations between IFSW and Social Workers: “we must advocate and defend the human rights of the social work professionals and the human rights of the people in general; Building best-practices & evidence of Social Work in Human Rights; and using Social Work experience to impact high policy level discussion
Dr Rory Truell commented it is excellent to be working with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights acknowledging and supporting the role of social workers as human rights defenders.