World Social Work Day 2010: Making human rights real – the Social Work Agenda
People are making changes in their lives to improve their quality of life every day across the world – and social workers are there helping them. World Social Work Day is a celebration of these achievements and an opportunity to highlight what work still has to be done for people’s rights to be respected.
Wherever we live in the world, people are being harmed, abused and neglected and their civil, political, economic, cultural and social rights are being violated. Every day, social workers are helping individuals and groups of people in such situations, helping them to live a better life and to find ways to respect competing rights in complex situations.
The implementation of all the international Human Rights Conventions, treaties and agreements used to focus on individual civil and political rights in order to guarantee fair trials, rights to vote, freedom from torture and abuse. More and more they now also consider collective/community rights and emphasise economic, social and cultural rights in order to defend the rights to education, housing, health, employment, adequate income and social security.
This new focus on making human rights a reality in daily life – ‘making human rights real’ – is an important issue in the consultations leading into the 2010 Joint World Conference. The social work profession works alongside those who are excluded, discriminated against, abused or poor – whose rights are not respected. The profession aims to achieve social change leading to a dignified life and social justice for all.
IFSW President, Dr David N Jones, comments that:
Wherever there is extreme poverty, lack of basic needs like food, water and shelter, the trafficking and abuse of people across countries or serious family problems in affluent societies, you will find social workers alongside people, helping them to make changes in their lives. The 2010 social work world conference will show how social work will develop its contribution to building people-centred and sustainable social progress and social change. World social work day gives us an opportunity to celebrate this crucial work.