Dignity And Justice For All Of Us
After two World Wars the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the first international statement of respect for each person in the world. We at the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) strongly support the declaration and join in celebrating the 60th Anniversary. Along with many other people who are recognising the importance of this anniversary, we acknowledge that we have not yet reached that state where dignity and justice for all people is either recognised or practiced. The fact that we have not yet achieved that state in our societies is the reason why many people become social workers – to work with people for positive change in their lives. This is embodied in the International Definition of Social Work.
The IFSW Ethical Document underpins our work and is the basis on which we undertake our work. We encourage the teaching of Human Rights on all training courses for social workers, we expect to find that evaluation of practice will demonstrate that human rights are being upheld and we acknowledge that much of our work is in areas of conflict where there are competing human rights dilemmas.
IFSW has produced guidance for social workers in implementing Human Rights Treaties and Conventions. Work is currently in progress updating our Human Rights and Social Work Training Manual, with the International Association of Schools of Social Work, which we plan to launch as a web based resource ahead of the upcoming World Conference in Hong Kong in 2010. The Training Manual on Social Work and the Rights of the Child is still available in seven different languages.
Where people are abused, harmed, discriminated against, commit violent acts against others; are confused, suffering from mental health issues; are deprived of basic life sources like food, water and shelter – you will find a role for social workers to help achieve social inclusion, social cohesion and social justice. However social workers need the support of their communities to help people on the margins, who do not feel included currently in our communities, achieve change. If we are truly to achieve the dignity and justice for all of us intended in the Universal declaration on Human Rights we each have to learn to support each other, to maximise the skills and contribution we each can make to our societal well-being.
IFSW Human Rights Commissioner