- The Spanish General Council of Social Work (CGTS) and the 36 Professional Bodies of Social Work throughout the territory and ratify their commitment to defend the immigrants´ rights.
- The professional body structure valued that the Spanish Public Administration has decided to welcome these people.
Spanish social workers have offered to collaborate with the Public Administration in welcoming the immigrants who arrived last Sunday at the port of Valencia on the ship ‘Aquarius’. Being accurate, as soon as it was announced that the ship would dock in Valencia, the three professional bodies of social work of the Valencian region were put at the disposal of the Public Administration to collaborate on request. Other professional bodies from other regions of Spain have also done the same.
10 different Spanish associations of social work count with a specialized group of professionals to react in Emergencies. Those teams are activated when they are required by Public Administrations in cases of social emergency, such as the arrival of the 629 people who sailed in the ‘Aquarius’. They also intervene in other situations such as attacks or catastrophes, floods, fires, etc. They did it in 11M, the attack on Las Ramblas (Barcelona), the train accident in Santiago de Compostela, or Spanair and German Wings plane crashes.
Social workers role is key in welcoming immigrants, as well as in its integration. If the people who have arrived in the ‘Aquarius’ are granted by the Spanish Government with the asylum that they seem to request, Social Services will be activated. Spanish legislation recognizes the figure of the social worker as a professional reference in Social Services. Therefore, social workers, should encourage refugees integration. For example, they should locate foster families for children who have arrived alone, facilitate the search for employment for adults, encourage their integration with language courses, etc.
To facilitate integration implies fostering social cohesion and citizens’ well-being. The 36 Professional Bodies and the Spanish General Council of Social Work must ensure that Public Administrations guarantee Human Rights. Europe cannot turn its back on people. Before it became known that Valencia was going to be designated as reception port, when Italy rejected the ‘Aquarius’, the Spanish General Council of Social Work, and the Italian Council of Social Work (CNOAS), publicly recalled the obligation of the countries to guarantee people´s welfare, no mattering reasons as the individual origin and provenance.
The Spanish General Council of Social Work recalls that refugees are not as defenseless as they are portrayed, as the Manifesto, of the International Federation of Social Work (IFSW) approved in 2015, highlights: “They have significant resources, skills, strengths, health and education. These human assets should be the foundation for rebuilding societies, not denigrated or ignored by the ‘humanitarian aid’ mentality. Governments and agencies should uphold human dignity, ensure that people are treated with dignity and respect. They have significant resources, skills, strengths, health and education. These human assets should be the foundation for rebuilding societies, not denigrated or ignored by the ‘humanitarian aid’ mentality. Governments and agencies should uphold human dignity, ensure that people are treated with dignity and respect in refugees’ camps, strengthen community and social interdependence and, above all, involve people in all decision-making over their futures. The political response must also look beyond the immediate crisis. It must focus on creating a worldwide environment enabling sustained social development, as envisaged in the proposed Sustainable Development Goals, due to be approved by the United Nations later this month. Establishing social capital is a prerequisite for peaceful and sustainable societies”.
The CGTS, professional commitment with Human Rights
The Spanish General Council of Social Work (CGTS) is the representative, coordinating and executive body of the 36 Professional Bodies of Social Work in Spain, which bring together a total of 40,000 members. The Council is responsible for ensuring the proper exercise of the profession and the defense of citizen’s fundamental rights and the CGTS does it by fulfilling a constitutional mandate.
The Spanish Professional Body of Social Work has traditionally been defender of the guarantee of compliance with Human Rights and Social Justice as expressed by the international definition of the profession.