The International Federation of Social Workers is pleased to join the global celebrations today on Universal Children’s Day, 20 November. Today also marks the UN General Assembly adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. This international convention was contributed to and shaped by IFSW when the UN General Assembly adopted it in 1959. Also social workers played an important role in 1989 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In all countries social workers continue to advocate that government’s should enforce the declaration and convention by developing national laws protecting the rights of children. Through the actions of social workers and others, numerous countries now recognise and enforce the rights of children resulting in much more humane and sustainable environments and fulfilled people.
Globally however there is significant room for improvement and social workers are continuing to advocate for the national, regional and global recognition of child rights. High priorities for social workers are children that are exploited for their cheap labour; the lack of educational opportunities for young people, and children’s vulnerability to trafficking/slavery. Social workers in some wealthy countries are also very concerned by the laws that promote forced adoption or foster-care thereby depriving children of their right to grow within their family of origin in resourced and supported conditions.
The social work profession will continue its community-level advocacy for child rights. We will not stop until children no longer suffer from trauma, abuse and exploitation. We will not stop until children are heard. We will continue to work with UN and all other bodies with our shared view of a world with healthy, thriving, educated and confidant children worldwide.
IFSW President, Ruth Stark said: “Children are our future. The UN convention on the rights of the child have raised awareness of our responsibilities to make sure that their needs are met, they are protected from harm, that they can live with their families and adults listen to them. Their views are key to developing the environment in which we all live. Unfortunately states rely excessively on charity and philanthropy in place of recognising their duties under the convention which they have all signed. IFSW calls on all governments to prioritise their duties in the convention and invest in the future, for all our futures”.