World Human Rights Day

World Human Rights Day

World Human Rights Day Click to enlarge

10 Dec 2019

celebrated on 10 December

‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’ - United Nations

On 10 December in 1948 the United Nations (UN) agreed to the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ that regulated the treatment of humans across the world. They created thirty different rights for individuals and to break them would be to break international law. The Human Rights Act was created to help keep the peace between nations, protect the well-being and safety of individuals and groups, and to increase living standards of people around the world. 

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) created its own Human Rights Policy to help its members uphold their profession by following the BASW Code of Ethics. Their policy asks their members to utilise the Human Rights Act in their approach to the profession to create a more stable environment for both practitioners and those they care for.

Social workers have always been seen to care about the lives and well-being of others through compassion, understanding, and willingness to listen. The social work profession is seen to work closely with the Human Rights Act because social workers follow values such as ‘respect, dignity and self-determination’ in their approach to their care of others. Social workers are selfless; they put others before themselves and make sure each individual gets the same treatment, respect, and care.

These values are seen strongly in BASW’s Code of Ethics for all practitioners:

“Social work is based on respect for the inherent worth and dignity of all people as expressed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and other related UN declarations on rights and the conventions derived from those declarations” (BASW Code of Ethics)

Social workers are often seen as at the forefront of social justice by fighting to help those who are not able to stand up for themselves.  They make sure that everybody has a voice and are always challenging the way people are treated. The Human Rights Act closely relates to the care and protection of both Adults’ and Children’s services. For a social worker who handles adults in care they have to consider every aspect of that person’s human rights before they go into full time care. Furthermore, a social worker who handles children has to consider the safeguarding of each child alongside their human rights.

All social workers continue to consider the best interests of the person or people they are caring for. As we celebrate World Rights Day, it is worth considering the potential make-up of social work in a world without human rights, and how different that would be. The Human Rights Act protects so many people from harm and remains a vital component of the decisions made every day by social workers to deliver the best care possible.

To see BASW’s policy on Human Rights in full, click on the following link: