The community of social workers around the world expresses its profound shock and horror at the events in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and its membership express our sincere grief for the victims and our deepest sympathy to the American people and other nationals having lost their dear ones. Our thoughts go to our colleagues in the National Association of Social Workers and in particular its New York City Chapter, their families and loved ones.
What we have witnessed is a tragic culmination of a world-wide escalation in tension over a number of months and indeed years. The positive work towards an effective peace process in a number of regions has been placed at even greater risk.
Acts of terrorism can never be condoned and those responsible carry with them a moral responsibility that never can be eradicated. However at these very times social workers world-wide will join in a plea for a reasoned and non-violent response to such an atrocity, and that the actions ahead seek justice but not revenge.
At this point it appears that thousands of innocent people may have lost their lives – and the lives of their families and loved ones will be changed forever. It is critical that in responding to this that the actions of any government – but most particularly the American government – do not lead to a similar loss of innocent lives elsewhere in the world.
Above all we appeal to individuals, groups and governments, not to exercise any judgement on any particular nation, ethnic group or culture. Terrorism and wars are the products of individuals and groupings with a distorted view of power and its use. Their behaviour cannot and must not be attributed to entire communities who share a common background.
The IFSW condemns violence in all its forms and in all places. We extend our deepest sympathy to those affected by this act of terrorism and those in the past. As a part of the international, national and local communities we stand ready to work with colleagues to seek reasoned and peaceful solutions to international conflict which leads to such atrocities. Our colleagues in the United States in particular will, along with other professions, play a vital role in the recovery process. The international community of social workers stands ready to assist in whatever way it can.
Sydney/Berne, 12 September 2001
Imelda Dodds, IFSW President Tom Johannesen, IFSW Secretary General