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INTRODUCTION: "Human rights are inseparable from social work theories, values, ethics and practice.

Rights corresponding to human needs have to be upheld and postured. Social work is concerned with the protection of individuals and group needs. It is often forced to mediate between the people, the state and other authorities, to champion particular causes and to provide support when state actions threaten or neglect the rights and freedoms to individuals and / or groups. Social work educators and practitioners are conscious that their concerns are linked with respect for human rights.

Social work is a profession that is built on, according to the AASWs Code of Ethics: The pursuit and maintenance of human well-being. Social work aims to maximize the development of human potential and the fulfillment of human needs. The Code of Ethics goes on to state that two of the key values and principles are: human dignity and worth; and social justice. Human dignity and worth means that social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of every person and respect the human rights expressed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Social justice encompasses the satisfaction of basic needs; fair access to services and benefits to achieve human potential; and recognition of individual and community rights. These values and principles in the Code of Ethics already establish the foundations for human rights based social work practice. They readily acknowledge human rights principles, explicitly the Universal Declaration. In terms of social work practice, realising first generation rights means advocacy either on behalf of individuals or disadvantaged groups. Social workers working in advocacy might be involved in the protection of civil and political rights through advocacy groups, refugee action groups or prisoner reform. Working to realise second generation rights is the bread and butter work of most social workers. It involves putting services in place to meet rights like the right to education, health care, housing, income and so on. So, every

time a social worker takes a client to Centrelink to assist them to get income support, or liaises with the Department of Housing to find accommodation, or refers them to a community health centre for physical, social or emotional support they are engaging in a form of human rights work. A related point on these second generation rights is that unless services actually exist, these rights cannot be met. Im sure I dont need to tell any of you about how chronically stretched our community health and welfare services are. Social workers have a vital role in exposing these service gaps to show just how many people are missing out on having their fundamental rights met. This is important work that can be done both inside and outside of bureaucratic processes. Third generation rights are collective rights which intersect perfectly with the social work practice of community development. Community development, the discipline I focused on in my career, is a way of working with, rather than for, communities to increase their capacity and ability to find their own solutions to problems. Social workers are facilitators for this process of change that occurs from the grass roots in a bottom- up way.
The United Nations Common Understanding of a Human Rights Based Approach to Development Cooperation sets out necessary elements of policy development and service delivery under a human rights based approach as follows:

1. People are recognised as key actors in their own development, rather than passive recipients of commodities and services. 2. Participation is both a means and a goal. 3. Strategies are empowering, not disempowering. 4. Both outcomes and processes are monitored and evaluated. 5. Analysis includes all stakeholders. 6. Programmes focus on marginalized, disadvantaged, and excluded groups. 7. The development process is locally owned. 8. Programmes aim to reduce disparity. 9. Both top-down and bottom-up approaches are used in synergy. 10.Situation analysis is used to identity immediate, underlying, and basic causes of development problems. 11.Measurable goals and targets are important in programming. 12.Strategic partnerships are developed and sustained. 13. Programmes support accountability to all stakeholders. [3]

these principles reflect what social workers are striving for and of course, how many social workers are actually practicing already.

4. Principles 4.1. Human Rights and Human Dignity Social work is based on respect for the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and the rights that follow from this. Social workers should uphold and defend each persons physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual integrity and well-being. This means: 1. Respecting the right to self-determination - Social workers should respect and promote peoples right to make their own choices and decisions, irrespective of their values and life choices, provided this does not threaten the rights and legitimate interests of others. 2. Promoting the right to participation - Social workers should promote the full involvement and participation of people using their services in ways that enable them to be empowered in all aspects of decisions and actions affecting their lives. 3. Treating each person as a whole - Social workers should be concerned with the whole person, within the family, community, societal and natural environments, and should seek to recognise all aspects of a persons life. 4. Identifying and developing strengths Social workers should focus on the strengths of all individuals, groups and communities and thus promote their empowerment. 4.2. Social Justice Social workers have a responsibility to promote social justice, in relation to society generally, and in relation to the people with whom they work. This means: 1. Challenging negative discrimination* - Social workers have a responsibility to challenge negative discrimination on the basis of characteristics such as ability, age, culture, gender or sex, marital status, socio-economic status, political opinions, skin colour, racial or other physical characteristics, sexual orientation, or spiritual beliefs.

*In some countries the term discrimination would be used instead of negative discrimination. The word negative is used here because in some countries the term positive discrimination is also used. Positive discrimination is also known as affirmative action. Positive discrimination or affirmative action means positive steps taken to redress the effects of historical discrimination against the groups named in clause 4.2.1 above. 2. Recognising diversity Social workers should recognise and respect the ethnic and cultural diversity of the societies in which they practise, taking account of individual, family, group and community differences. 3. Distributing resources equitably Social workers should ensure that resources at their disposal are distributed fairly, according to need. 4. Challenging unjust policies and practices Social workers have a duty to bring to the attention of their employers, policy makers, politicians and the general public situations where resources are inadequate or where distribution of resources, policies and practices are oppressive, unfair or harmful. 5. Working in solidarity - Social workers have an obligation to challenge social conditions that contribute to social exclusion, stigmatisation or subjugation, and to work towards an inclusive society. ETHICS IN SOCIAL WORK: Value: Social Justice Ethical Principle: Social workers challenge social injustice. Social workers pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people. Social workers social change efforts are focused primarily on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice. These activities seek to promote sensitivity to and knowledge about oppression and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers strive to ensure access to needed information, services, and resources; equality of opportunity; and meaningful participation in decision making for all people.

Value: Dignity and Worth of the Person Ethical Principle: Social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person. Social workers treat each person in a caring and respectful fashion, mindful of individual differences and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers promote clients socially responsible selfdetermination. Social workers seek to enhance clients capacity and opportunity to change and to address their own needs. Social workers are cognizant of their dual responsibility to clients and to the broader society. They seek to resolve conflicts between clients interests and the broader societys interests in a socially responsible manner consistent with the values, ethical principles, and ethical standards of the profession. Human rights are not just lofty principles that get talked about at the United Nations. They are our everyday experiences of getting our needs met and an expression of our shared humanity. They give social workers a framework for their advocacy, direct service and community development work, especially when social workers can often be the ones caught in the middle of the political mine field which is policy implementation. Human rights are above politics and ideology so they are a useful tool in arguing for change. Human rights based approach to social work is about making clear targets, ensuring targets are met and outcomes are evaluated. We are entitled to expect that public policy will be:

evidence-based and informed by best practice models; consistent with human rights laws and principles; designed to meet targets and deliver measurable benefits over time; subject to rigorous and transparent monitoring, evaluation and review, and that governments will employ a learning framework so that past mistakes will not be revisited.

CONCLUSION: Rights do not come without responsibilities. By this It means that just as governments have an obligation to protect rights, they also have a responsibility to ensure these rights can and are met. Social workers have

long been involved in advocacy and campaigning for social justice but also ask that you continue to ask important questions that provoke accountability. Social workers, with their strengths in reflective practice and learning from practice, are ideally placed to be arguing for better evaluation and evidence led policy to ensure rights and responsibilities are met. Human rights based social work is important in all the work we do